Miyazaki may be known as the surf and sun capital of Japan, but our prefecture has much more to offer than summer fun. 😉 As part of our Fawning Over Fall event, MAJET took advantage of one of Miyazaki’s many other outdoor pursuits–river kayaking!
We all gathered at Gokase no Sato Camp Village, where we would be staying for the night. After checking everyone in and stashing our belongings in our cabins, the instructors from Gokase Nature School shuttled us down a precarious mountain path to the launch point. After a brief warm-up and paddling lesson, we were off!
The kayaking course first took us along a calm section of river, towards the end of which we found a waterfall spilling into the river! After a brief stop for group photos, we headed back the way we came, past the boat landing, and towards significantly rockier terrain. The rocks made sudden swift currents in the river, and it took some trial and error to get ourselves to shore. There were a few rough patches, but eventually we all made it safely to shore.
Once everyone had had arrived, we all had a chance to stretch our legs, explore the riverside, and skip rocks. Soon enough, it was time to get back to the boats and return to shore. After another precarious car ride, we were back at the cabins and ready to start dinner.
What better to eat on a cold fall night after a day of outdoorsing than nabe? Each person brought a different ingredient, and the result was an ongoing hotpot of deliciousness!
Once we were all stuffed full, it was time to settle in to our nests and rest ourselves for the second part of our weekend adventure–the Shiiba Heike Matsuri!
For such a tiny town, Shiiba sure puts on a huge festival! Every year, they block off the dam to create a parking lot for the flood of visitors flocking to town for the Heike Matsuri. This year, they even had to shuttle people to and from the town sports park!
The Heike Matsuri is a lively affair, filling the streets of town with food stalls boasting local specialties such as grilled mochi, wild boar meat, and tofu pudding. Local craftsman sell their wares and farmers bring an abundant supply of fruits and veggies. Throughout the day are a variety of stage performances, including a chance for visitors to participate in pounding rice. The highlight of the festival, however, is the parade. Musicians, dancers, smaurai, princesses– what more could you ask for?
One of the treats of visiting this festival year after year is the residents remember you. We received many fond greetings from performers, vendors, and townsfolk alike as we wandered about enjoying the festivities.
The day wore on, and eventually it was time to go our separate ways and head back to our own corners of Miyazaki. Until next year!
Check out our full photo album on Facebook!
*Photos by Cassie Conrad and Aurian Eghbalian