Kazura Bashi and the Oboke River

Last November 12, 2015, I had the chance to join a trip to Miyoshi-shi’s legendary and historical Kazura-bashi. In English, ‘Kazura’ means creeping plant while ‘Bashi’ means bridge. According to http://www.miyoshinavi.jp, the bridge is made of a kiwi vine species that stretches 45 meters long, 2 meter wide and is suspended 15 meters above the river.

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Out of miscommunication at work, my rest day was moved on a different date which made it possible for me to join the trip.

Thanks to my friend’s invitation. On the way to Miyoshi-shi, the road trip itself is already an excitement.We dropped by at an unknown suspension bridge and took photos of the wide river.

We took our lunch in one of Miyoshi-shi’s cozy restaurants to try and eat their very own Iya soba. In Japan, almost each prefecture or city have their own way of cooking the same types of foods. Ramen, soba, soumen, udon, to name some are cooked differently in each region. Thus, creating a curiousity for foreigners and natives as well to try the different versions of these delicacies. Iya soba is handmade and the taste is far from the packed soba you could buy in groceries in Japan. It is softer so I think it is easier to digest than that of an instant soba or the soba sold in grocery stores. Healthier so to speak.

Miyoshi-shi is also a tourist attraction at the Shikoku region in November because of the Autumn colors. Upon arriving at the Souvenir shop prior to reaching the main tourist spot, there were also several tour groups that have arrived to see the historical landmark and also probably to see the orange leaves of Autumn.

You can experience crossing the bridge for 550 yen. This is my second time crossing the bridge. It was more frightening during the first time. The bridge is supported and maintained with steel and covered with vines. I suppose it is no longer the original vines but could be the new stems that have grown over the years. I could not confirm whether the entrance and exit gates were originally built from the beginning but they seemed to be very old.

After crossing the bridge we went down to the river. I was so excited to go down because I did not have the chance to go there during the first time that I visited Kazura-bashi. As soon as I set foot on the pebbles and smooth stones of the Oboke river, I ran for the gentle streaming water to feel its purity and cleanliness. The water was very cold and clear that if it is not only Autumn, I would love to try to bathe in it!

The Oboke river is connected with the Koboke river. Both rivers are connected to the Yoshinogawa River, the largest river in the Shikoku region according to Japan National Tourism Organization website (www.jnto.go.jp). From the same website, ‘O’ means big and ‘Boke’ means dangerous to walk along. It also offers active sports such as rafting since the river is known for its rapids.

But because we were so happy about the close distance to the clean and wide river of Oboke, we forgot to try riding the boat for sight seeing. Maybe because of too much stress at work, we were already satisfied with the calmness and beauty of the river and its surroundings below the bridge. The warm rays of the sun buffered by the cold breeze of the air touched our skins so softly that it didn’t hurt. We did not ask nor look for more.

As soon as we noticed that it is already getting late, we climbed up back to the parking lot. But as we pass through the narrow streets of Oboke, we craved for some freshly caught grilled fish displayed in the snack stands or stores. I think the grilled fish is a perfect beer match.

At the souvenir shop we bought some souvenir snacks, and oranges. For 500 yen, I was able to buy a bag full of oranges! Something as cheap as that which I couldn’t buy in the nearest groceries.

We all went home tired and worn out. But for a stressed person like me, just to run far away from the usual place and environment I am in, is something I am very thankful to God. I would rather get tired from travelling and making worthwhile journeys than get tired from human-related stress and unhappy, unbalanced working environment.

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