Translated by Shinji Takaramura
Trek Through Rivers! 5 Amazing Adventures In Yuki, Hiroshima
Written by Mizzochi
Hiroshima is famous for sites like the Peace Memorial Museum and Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima. For a side trip close to nature, travel an hour from Hiroshima Station to Yuki. This town is filled with outdoor fun like canyoning, hot springs, and local delicacies such as ayu sweetfish and konnyaku.
Yuki: A Nature Haven Accessible from Hiroshima Station
Tada district in Yuki is where most of the sightseeing spots are located.
Yuki, or Yuki-cho, is a beautiful mountain village located about an hour away by car from JR Hiroshima Station. A former favorite hot spring district of the daimyo (feudal lord) of Hiroshima, it is now a popular destination among locals.
The Minochi River stuns all with its beauty. Since there are no dams or embankments created upstream, the stunning scenery has not changed from the past. The river is famous for its pristine waters and visitors can enjoy outdoor activities and local delicacies, like ayu (sweetfish).
Top 5 Activities in Yuki
The following are five exciting activities to enjoy in Yuki-cho.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of the featured activities are currently limited to one group per session. Please make an inquiry at the time of reservation.
1. Upstream River Trekking
Shower climbing is a type of canyoning, or river trekking, where participants travel a river heading upstream. The season typically starts in late April and ends in mid-October. The water is especially cool in the summer, which makes this outdoor sport even more pleasant.
There are two courses: a two-hour introductory course and an intermediate course that covers a wider area. Tours with English guidance are also available.
In the beginner's course, you will learn to grow accustomed to the slow current. From there, you'll gradually make your way through a fast flowing area.
Along the route, participants will slide down the riverbed, scale a waterfall, and dive into the river from the shore. There are no shortages of thrilling moments.
Participants may be surprised to see friends and families enjoying this adrenaline-packed adventure. River trekking is an experience that will have you feeling like you've strengthened your bonds with your travel companions.
Additionally, all participants wear a wetsuit, life jacket, and helmet during the activity to ensure safety. During some parts of the tour, you may be invited to dive into rivers, but this is optional.
Reservations can be made on the official site of Yuki Tourism and Community Development Corporation.
2. Konnyaku Workshop
The plant that produces the jelly-like konnyaku.
Since konnyaku (konjac) is gluten free and low in calories, it has gained popularity as a health food in the West. It is the base ingredient in shirataki noodles and other low-calorie substitutes seen in supermarkets.
The plant that produces konnyaku is typically grown in the mountains, and Yuki-cho has a long history in its cultivation and production.
Visitors can participate in a konnyaku-making workshop at the Yuki Experience Center (Japanese). The instructors are locals, so participants will gain a lot of insider knowledge.
The konnyaku-making workshop has another unique aspect to it: Yuki-cho is known as the habitat of the great salamander, which is the largest amphibian in the world. Moreover, salamanders and konnyaku share the same brown hue.
Some high schoolers in Yuki recognized this fact and produced salamander-shaped konnyaku. This innovative product received 180,000 likes on Twitter for its simultaneously ugly and cute appearance.
Participants can also make this one-of-a-kind konnyaku at the workshop. Make your reservation on the official site of the Yuki Experience Center.
3. Local Cuisine in Yuki
Boasting a rich natural environment, Yuki offers a wide variety of specialty regional dishes.
One local food is ayu (sweetfish). This freshwater fish is popular for its elegant aroma and delicate taste, and is known as the "queen of the crystal clear river."
The fish caught at the Minochi River has repeatedly received awards in Japan-wide ayu-tasting contests.
Although ayu is served at many restaurants in the village, MATCHA's recommendation is Momiji, a Japanese restaurant located in a quaint old house. The cozy setting is perfect for tasting the salt-grilled ayu.
When in Yuki-cho, do not forget to visit Kubo Agrifarm. In addition to enjoying gelato and ice cream, visitors can have fun feeding the cows. This is a popular spot for couples and families with small children.
The farm is also famous for its milk, which starts with feeding the cattle with specially grown grass and using low-temperature pasteurization. The brand is called Sagotani Milk and is distributed in the Hiroshima area.
Be sure to try the konnyaku dishes as well. Located next to the Yuki Experience Center, Yuki no An serves skewered konnyaku (konnyaku sanzoku-yaki) and konnyaku ramen.
Konnyaku can be purchased at Yuki Tokusanhin Ichibakan, a specialty product market near the Yuki Experience Center. Look for the komochi konnyaku, which is konnyaku filled with eggs of shishamo smelt.
Yuki is also known for its sturgeon aquafarms, so visitors can savor gourmet delicacies related to this fish.
4. Stay in a Traditional Japanese Home
There are several traditional kominka houses built over a hundred years ago in Yuki-cho. Oku-Yuki Inaka Taiken House offers a chance for visitors to stay in these special homes.
Guests can roast ayu in an irori sunken hearth and cook rice using a kamado Japanese-style oven. At the end of the day, one can unwind in a goemonburo, a deep, circular Japanese bathtub.
The houses tend to be fully booked in the summer, so those planning to visit should make an early reservation.
5. See Realistic Scarecrows in the Valley
Visitors walking around the Tada District in Yuki-cho will spot a number of unique scarecrows. There are more than 160 scarecrows in the area.
The scarecrow village all started when a resident created scarecrows using his late father's clothes.
The number continued to increase and the area is now called "Real Kakashi no Satoyama," drawing many travelers who come to see this one-of-a-kind attraction.
There are scarecrows that resemble celebrities and some that appear like a close knit family. This sight will warm your heart.
The Life-Changing Power of Nature in Yuki-cho
Yuki-cho has always been a quiet hot spring town. However, Sato Ryota—the chairperson of the Yuki Tourism and Community Development Corporation—started various activities including river trekking.
Mr. Sato used to work in Fukushima Prefecture when the Great East Japan Earthquake occurred in 2011. Witnessing the aftermath of demolished buildings prompted his interest in finding a self-sufficient way of life, resulting in him relocating to Yuki-cho in 2014.
Another life-changing memory for him was when a young man from Germany visited Yuki-cho for four months in 2016 to experience farming.
The boy, who had dreams of becoming an engineer, changed his mind after spending time in Yuki. At the end of his stay, he started talking about becoming a hunter. He is currently living as a huntsman back in Germany.
This made Mr. Sato realize just how much life-altering power nature has. He added, "I hope that visiting Yuki-cho will have a positive impact on people and help them find their way in life."
Mr. Sato is currently designing a one-day tour of Yuki in which participants can participate in multiple activities. The future is looking bright for Yuki-cho.
Driving is the easiest way to get to Yuki-cho. There are many rental car companies near JR Hiroshima Station, so take a look at this MATCHA article.
Those using public transportation should take the Hiroden Bus headed for "Yuki Lodge-mae" (Japanese) from JR Itsukaichi Station. The ride takes about 70 minutes, and there is one bus per hour.
On weekdays, a free shuttle bus runs between Yuki Lodge, located near the Yuki Experience Center and the north exit of JR Hiroshima Station.
Soak in Hot Springs of Yuki Onsen
There are plenty of places where visitors can enjoy the onsen in Yuki-cho. Yuki Lodge is a popular destination as it offers baths that use hot springs that come directly from the source. You can also stay the night at the lodge.
Yuki-cho offers a variety of activities, so don't miss out on the chance to visit!
The following is a list of MATCHA articles and services related to Hiroshima travels.
In cooperation with Yuki Tourism and Community Development Corporation