Sprawling along the unspoiled Shimanto River, Shimanto is a modern city in Kōchi Prefecture. It was established by Prince Norifusa Ichijo during the Muromachi Period after he fled Kyoto, with the town becoming known as the “Little Kyoto of Tosa”. Shimanto was almost entirely rebuilt following the Nankai earthquake in 1946.
Things to do in Shimanto
Rising atop a mountain overlooking Shimanto is the Nakamura Castle, which offers spectacular views across the river and its surrounding farmlands. Originally constructed in the 15th century, it has been entirely rebuilt and houses a museum detailing its turbulent past. The surrounding park is traversed by tree-lined trails and is home to the remains of the original castle.
You can rent a bicycle to explore the attractions lining the Shimanto River, such as the railless submersible bridge designed not to wash away during floods. Stop to photograph the golden canola flowers in bloom at the Nyuta Willow Forest, which is beautifully illuminated after dark. Also not to miss is the Shimanto Dragonfly Park, where you’ll find more than 70 species of dragonfly.
To experience Shimanto from the water, you can rent a kayak or standup paddleboard from one of the local adventure companies or float down the river on an inner tube. If you prefer not to get wet, traditional wooden yakatabune boats are also available for hire, with a roof so you can cruise throughout the seasons. A highlight of any trip is the locally caught eel that’s often grilled for lunch onboard.
Getting around Shimanto
Shimanto is around two hours’ drive from Kochi and just under three hours from Matsuyama Airport, which has flights to destinations across Asia. Trains connect along the Tosa Kuroshio Railway to Nakamura Station and buses travel throughout the city. The centre of Shimanto can easily be explored on foot.