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My Shikoku Journey (18) by Raymond, Australia

 Raymond TAIT, Australia Rounding Shikoku

Valleys of Tokushima-Kamiyama & Kamikatsu

One of the Hallmark traits of Tokushima Prefecture is its sublime and beautiful Valleys….from Temple 65 Unpenji some 900 Meters high on the border to Kagawa and steep meandering Valleys of Iya and Oboke/Koboke; there is something for everyone to enjoy with gobsmacking views in abundance!

In this column I wanted to share my personal experience and insights as they relate to the Topography, Population, infrastructure and overall feel or spirit. Then later on, some “must see or experience” areas and some highly recommended areas all with some embedded links and/or photos…..happy reading!  (Pictured herein & taken by author – R.Tait)

These two Valleys, although side by side and one to one & half hour drive from downtown Tokushima City are distinctly different with Kamiyama Valley possessing a Farm to Plate freshness and engaging attitude amongst the locals; the pride and use of local grown produce is next level! Whereas Kamikatsu Valley possesses the claim to fame of being “Zero Waste” Town; where recycling is so engrained into the local psyche it is ever-present, as the Recycling Center sorts household Garbage or Trash in 50+ different sub-categories – truly amazing sight to see, experience and participate in. Topographical there is also a huge difference; with Kamiyama being a serene wide Valley with the Akui River running through this fertile farm laden valley. Kamikatsu Valley on the other hand is signified with its deep cut ravines sliced through by the Katsuura River with tree farms dotting the slopes and a hidden sub-valley and the verdant beauty of the Kashihara Rice Terraces.

Tokushima Valley infrastructure continues to evolve but one noticeable similarity was the desire for grass roots embrace of technology and remote or satellite offices. Kamiyama led the way and I remember now some 4+ years ago now watching the NHK Japan series hosted by Martin Holman, master Puppeteer from Tokyo about Kamiyama. This show placed Kamiyama on the Map for me and I ended up staying at WEEK Kamiyama opposite the Satellite working offices on the Road/Trail up to Temple #12 Shosanji of the fames 88 Temple Pilgrimage of Shikoku. WEEK’s Main Reception and restaurant is house in a Restored Farmhouse of Minka; then the 8 Accommodation Rooms with stunning floor to ceiling Glass Window facing the Akui River and pristine wide Valley view made this the idealic refuge for an off the beaten track experience. I have now stayed at WEEK 4 times and proud to call the Inn Keeper Kanzaki-san a friend!

Kamikatsu Valley was introduced to me via a friend from Kobe, as she had visited there some 5 Years ago and spoke of the sustainability aspect and the unique “Zero Waste” Town proudness and attitude of the residents. Therefore, I wanted to visit there myself and indeed have been back there 3 times and each time visiting Tsukigatani Onsen nestled into the valley floor along the Katsuura River not far from the famed Zero Waste Town recycling sorting depot. The Recycling spirit lives on and through its architectural glory and uniqueness of Rise & Win MicroBrewery & BBQ/Café and Hotel Why adjacent to the town centrepiece recycling center…. both worth a visit!

Links to my TOP “must see/experiences” for each Valley are below:



– Temple 12 of 88 Temple Pilgrimage Trail of Shikoku; one of three highest Temples amongst the 88 and the full day 12.5 Km Hike through 3 Valleys from Temple 11 is commonly referred to as one of toughest treks of the whole Pilgrimage!

WEEK Kamiyama

– understated yet modern Accommodation with Restored Farmhouse as Reception/Restaurant

Amogoi Falls

– 4.5 Kms from Town; 1.5 Hour Hike into a beautiful secluded Falls

Forest Park

– with Artist in Resident Sculptures on permanent display throughout the mountainside Forest location with several hundred meters of the Uetsunotani River & the Kami-Ichinomiya Oawa Shrine

Kamiyama Onsen

– Day spa is closed for repair work (as of November 2023).

Kamiyama Beer

 – Microbrewery


– Restaurant and Bakery run by the Community Co-Op “Food Hub Project”; Set Lunch Special of the Day (Open 7 Days) is a must and embodies “Farm to Plate” Experience


RISE & WIN Brewing Co. BBQ & General Store

– at the entry to the Valley and the sheer steepness of this amazing valley

Zero Waste Recycling Center & Hotel WHY


Pangaea Field Campground


Café Polestar

 – simple serene Café in the Valley


– only open Friday & Saturday and 300 Years Old…..simple – it has to be experienced!!

Kashihara Rice Terraces

– Backdrop of the Valley and Mountains creates a breathtaking view and experience at Dusk!!
Kashihara Rice Terraces(Google MAP)