Last week, we were invited by the fine people of Forest Canyoning to go sliding, bouldering, waterfall climbing, rappelling and cliff jumping in the spectacular Nametoko gorge in south west Ehime.
It was probably the most adrenaline-filled thing I have done in Japan.
We rented a car, and took the 2-hour drive to the headquarters of Forest Canyoning, near the village of Matsuo no Cho about 45 mins due east of Uwajima. The drive from Matsuo to the canyon is really nice and scenic, zig zagging through rice-farming villages and single lane forest roads. Once you arrive, you are greeted with the fresh mountain air and the sounds of birds and other wildlife (there were lots of deer and monkeys frolicking around when we were there).
Ishikawa-san (guide name-goemon) who both greeted us when we arrived and was our adventure guide, is a really nice and capable guy. We geared up and headed out, it’s about a 5 min walk to the first slide along the amazing gorge.
We were able to do the full day course in a 3 1/2 hours because it was just the 2 of us and they wanted us to get a sense of what it would be like to do the full course.
According to Wikipedia, canyoning is: is traveling in canyons using a variety of techniques that may include other outdoor activities such as walking, scrambling, climbing, jumping, abseiling (rapelling), and/or swimming…and in Nametoko, we did all of them.
The thing that is quite unique with Nametoko is that there are all of these perfect rock slides. Some as long as 40 meters. This was a level 4 slide, crazy fast.
And this was the level 5 slide, Nori decided to bow out….understandably, it was pretty intimidating jumping through that, but just awesome!
Really can’t recommend this course enough, it makes for an amazing day trip from Matsuyama, or if you are doing a bigger Shikoku wide trip, makes a good stopping point from Matsuyama to Kochi. They have an amazing campground on site, and there is also a wonderful onsen/ryokan near by also.