November is the perfect season for gorgeous vivid maple leaves and Yasui Gorge is one of Kochi’s best spots for appreciating autumn foliage. The fiery red leaves decorate the whole gorge in a brilliant vermilion hue in November and if you visit on a sunny day, the valley shows you a different side of gorge. You might spot the perfect autumn scenery when the sunshine embraces the whole valley to create a beautiful riverbank with reflections of Niyodo Blue and the burning foliage. The crystal-clear river was nicknamed “Niyodo Blue” by locals due to its almost unreal deep turquoise colour, which is a sight seen to be believed.

If you want to appreciate the autumn foliage at your own pace, we recommend a walking tour. The route stretches about 5km and the path is right next to the river allowing you to capture beautiful images and dip your hands into the cool “Niyodo Blue” river. There’s also a food stall at the entrance, where locals and tourists alike line up to buy local sweets and delicacies before heading off on the walk.

Yasui Gorge has several must see locations including: Hiryu Falls, Suishobuchi, Sabo dam and Amegamori Mountain.

Suishobuchi and Sabo dam are often the goal for many tourists. Everyone walks along the beautiful riverbank in search of the best Niyodo Blue experience. Suishobuchi means “crystal deep” where the water pool glows like crystals in various shades of deep blue. Local experts say that Suishobuchi is the best representation of Niyodo Blue.

Sabo dam is also one of the “Niyodo Blue” spots. If you go further in the valley after Suishobuchi, you’ll find crystal clear water where the green and blue hues mix right beneath the dam. A stroll by the vermilion riverbank rejuvenates your mind, body, and soul.

For those wanting more than a short 5km walking track, Amegamori Mountain offers a spiritual hiking route to anyone who wants to trek the 1400m high mountain in Yasui Gorge. It’s possible to enjoy beautiful autumn foliage by walking the easier tracks lower down but the view from the top of Amegamori is worth the hike. The mountain trail takes about 2.5 hours to the top and is acknowledged as one of the difficult courses in Shikoku and only for more experienced hikers. The trail meanders up-and-down and for experienced hikers you can follow the trail by tree markers but unfortunately the signage is not good.

Talk to our consultants at Japan Holidays for more information on how to get the best out of your time in Yasui Gorge.

Photo credit for images #1 and #5: Takuya Hosogi