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Special Feature: Hyogo AJET’s 2013 Shikoku Rafting Adventure

           Taking full advantage of the glorious weather over October’s only three day weekend, 17 ALTs assembled in Sannomiya to begin the four hour journey down to Kochi prefecture on Shikoku. After crossing the Akashi Kaikyo Bridge, the longest suspension bridge in the world, we headed over Awaji Island, and finally made it to Shikoku. As we drove towards our guesthouse, the bustle of Kobe City was replaced by lush, soaring mountains and the seemingly calm flow of the Yoshino River. We arrived at the Happy Raft base in the evening and were soon led up a narrow road to the guesthouse nested at the top of a mountain. Excited to have reached our destination, we quickly started preparations for our BBQ dinner, and merrily passed the night eating, laughing, and listening to the musical genius of the Now 47 CD left in the living room.

IMG_3102           The next morning, we awoke ready to hit the water. We first practiced paddling in the still water until our guides said we could jump out and swim a little before departing. Any remnant of a hangover disappeared immediately in the icy river, and we were definitely awake and ready to go. After ungracefully hauling ourselves (or being hauled) back into the raft, we set off to experience some of the best whitewater rafting in Japan. Although the class 4 rapids in the Koboke section of the river were deemed too dangerous because of the recent typhoon, the rapids in Oboke canyon did not disappoint. The pristine water of the Yoshino River tumbled and crashed around us as our rafts plummeted through rapids and whirlpools. Our guides also kept everyone entertained by proposing various stunts, from riding through whitewater on the edge of the raft to ditching the boat and swimming down some of the smaller rapids. There were even a couple of cliff diving opportunities for the true daredevils in the group. By the end of the day, we were exhausted, but completely satisfied with our first foray into Japanese whitewater rafting.

In my final lines, I would like to extend a huge thank you to Whitney Litz for organizing everything and making this rafting excursion possible. This was an incredible experience in a gorgeous part of Japan, and for all the adventurers out there, I highly recommend signing up for next year’s rafting trip!


Kristin Keeno

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