Kochi City is surrounded by flowing hills. On sunny days, they almost glow in all shades of green, and on rainy days, when low clouds nestle around their crests and valleys, it’s easy to believe there’s something magical hidden in amongst the trees. One weekend, some friends and I were keen to see what we could discover. On the recommendation of one of my colleagues who lives in Ino, a small town near Kochi, we decided to visit Nikobuchi, a beautiful waterfall just north of Ino.
The drive from Ino to Nikobuchi takes about an hour, but the drive is part of the experience. The road follows the Niyodo River, famous for its hyper-blue colour, all the way to the waterfall. On a spring afternoon, the scenery is spectacular – bright green hills, vivid aquamarine water, and pale blue sky. When the sun is highest around noon, both the waterfall and the river are at their clearest and bluest.
On the way there, we stopped off at the Kochi Ice cafe where we sampled ice cream made from local ingredients such as yuzu, buntan, and even tomato! Since 1995 Kochi Ice has been using fresh ingredients sourced from the Kochi area to produce delicious treats, some of which are widely available at supermarkets in Kochi prefecture.
When we arrived, we parked our car in the small parking lot nearby and descended the steep steps to the waterfall. Although the trip to Nikobuchi isn’t exactly a hiking excursion, it is still important to wear practical shoes and be careful when climbing down. There weren’t any other foreigners there during our visit, but there were some locals enjoying bentos by the water with friends and family. A few people were swimming, although after dipping my feet into the cold water I opted for only splashing around in the shallows. During the summer, it would be an excellent spot to cool off and pass a quiet afternoon away from the city.
Nikobuchi is a beautiful waterfall hidden in the hills of Kochi. Though only accessible by car, the tranquility and splendid scenery of this area make it worth the journey. Those interested in exploring the Japanese countryside should definitely add Nikobuchi to their travel itinerary.