Legendary Niko-buchi, a Hidden Gem

Enchanted by the beauty of "Niyodo Blue"

By Masayoshi Hirose    - 2 min read

The Niyodo River, which flows from Mt. Ishizuchi in Ehime prefecture, is called the "Miraculously clear stream", and it has been ranked number one for five consecutive years in Japan's water quality ranking among first-class rivers nationwide (as of April 2019).

The mysterious blue hue of this river is called, "Niyodo Blue", and its watershed area is dotted with a number of legends and famous cultural properties. "Niko-buchi (stream pool)" has been frequently featured in the media recently, and draws tourists and photographers to visit it all the way from afar. This place is often posted on social media as well, and I joined the flock of people who couldn't resist the temptation to come here.

The "Niyodo Blue" shines the most when the water is exposed to the direct sunlight that increases the underwater visibility. However, since Niko-buchi stream pool is located in a unique terrain, at the bottom of a deep V-shaped valley, direct sunlight doesn't reach it except when the sun reaches the highest degree. Rare timing comes around noon, for 1 to 1.5 hours. And of course, visitors stampede around this hour! Even so, this miraculous clear water is more than worth seeing.

What I'd like to warn you about, however, is the pathway down to "Niko-buchi" from the parking area. It's quite steep. Along the way, there is a chain that substitutes for handrails. Appropriate clothes and shoes (sneakers or shoes with sturdy soles) are necessary. In addition, it is best to carry your luggage in a backpack so that you can use both hands freely.

I left Niko-buchi in the early afternoon and found that I was very hungry. I had planned to have lunch at a roadside station on the way to Ehime prefecture, but before reaching there I found a wonderful soba noodle restaurant in the forest. The name of the restaurant was Tokiya. You can enjoy a gentle and luxurious mealtime in the forest. Please enjoy the pictures of my lunch along with my other photos.

Getting there

It's located in a canyon and public transportation is not available. Driving your own car or a rental car is recommended.

By car
Exit Inomachi IC, drive on the National Route 33, and make a right to the National Route 194, drive upstream along the Niyodo River for about 45 minutes, then turn to the right at the nameboard of "Green Park Hodono". Niko-buchi is a10-minute drive on the town road from there.

By public transportation
Please refer to the Ino Town Tourist Association's Website.

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Takako Sakamoto

Takako Sakamoto @takako.sakamoto

I was born in and grew up in Tokushima prefecture, and have lived in many places since then: Nishinomiya, Kyoto, Nara, Mie, Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Fukuoka and Fukui. I am currently living in Yokohama City. All the places I lived, all the places I visited, I have loved dearly. The historical places where people lived, loved, suffered, and fought - places where I can still hear their heartbeats - mesmerize me. I'd like to retrace the footsteps of the people who lived in Japan a long long time ago, and introduce to you what they left behind on this soil.  

Original by Masayoshi Hirose