The Ishite River rises in the middle of the Takanawa Peninsula and flows down through Okudogo where the Dogo Onsen spring rises. Here it passes through a boulder-strewn gorge with pools and waterfalls. This is Wakigafuchi. Just a little downstream from Wakigafuchi is the Okudogo Hotel from whose gardens a path winds along beside the gorge.
The path follows an artificial waterway with colourful koi carp swimming lazily. Through stands of bamboo, you can look down into the gorge. The route then turns down to the Ishite River, passing over a picturesque arched bridge with red balustrades that spans the deep pools between cascades.
Legend has it that in the early 1600s, a beautiful woman would appear and lure travelers to their death in the gorge. The lord of a nearby castle sent his son to investigate. From a concealed position he saw a mysterious woman emerging from the deepest pool, so he shot her with his musket, whereupon she turned into a huge snake which writhed around in the pool, staining the river red for three days.
Today, Wakigafuchi is a peaceful place that’s beautiful in every season. In winter, there’s sometimes snow and ice. In spring, the cherry blossom is followed by the brilliant new greenery and hydrangeas. Autumn brings vibrant reds and yellows as the leaves turn.
Name in Japanese: 湧ヶ淵
Address: Suemachi, Matsuyama, Ehime 791-0122