Niyodo River, located in the western region of Kochi, is said to be the purest source of water in Japan. So it should come as no surprise that the towns close to the river value its pristine water as an important part of their culture and economy. And here are just a few examples! Niyodogawa Town (formerly Ikegawa Town) by the upper reaches of the river is famous for its tea fields. With the river’s clean water and moderate temperature changes throughout the day, the fields are blessed with the perfect environment for tea cultivation.
Situated closer to the central area of the river, Sakawa Town is well-known for Tsukasabotan Brewery, a sake brewery that has been established for around 400 years. This brewery makes use of the nearby spring water from the river as its “shikomi-mizu” (water used in sake brewing). Tsukasabotan’s brews include junmai-shu, daiginjo, and even sake that incorporates Kochi yuzu! And as we move on to the lower region of Niyodo River, we have Ino Town, which has been dubbed a “town of paper”.
At Ino, the river’s water is a crucial element in the production of Tosa washi paper, used for a multitude of purposes, including crafts and the restoration of old documents and famous artwork such as Michelangelo’s paintings! In the upper, middle and lower regions of the Niyodo River, various cultures were born and are woven into the life of Kochi prefecture. The next time you come to Kochi, we hope you take the time to experience the culture born from the Niyodo River!