Hidden in the mountains of Toon city is one of the most spectacular gorges in Shikoku. An unassuming-looking signpost marks the narrow, paved trail that leads into the gorge. A short way along, another sign announces the start of the gorge.
The gorge is formed of mudstone atop thin layers of lava rock. The mudstone lies in massive walls along the Namekawa River for several kilometres. Here and there, the river descends waterfalls of various sizes and configurations. Pools have been scooped out of the riverbed.
There are many magnificent boulders in the gorge, some topped with greenery. The ancient trees stand scores of metres high.
Near the entrance of the gorge are some little Shinto shrines and a Buddhist statue tucked under the walls. Here and there are bridges, some of metal, some of wood. There are also some steep ladders.
In winter, the river freezes over, and huge icicles form and hang down from the walls of the gorge.
Throughout the year, you can see and hear many kinds of birds. In the warmer months, there are butterflies and damselflies.
The route is a little over a kilometre, but if you like to look at everything and take pictures, you can happily spend half a day or more here. In summer, you can swim in the deeper pools.
You can climb out of the valley on the eastern side and walk some slight distance up beyond the waterfall, but the going is difficult and you soon come to an impassable wall of rock, so it’s best just to enjoy your walk back down the valley.
Name in Japanese: 滑川渓谷
Pronunciation: namekawa keikoku
Address: Namekawa Keikoku, Myoga, Toon, Ehime 791-0323