5 Stars! It was perfect. I was part of group of 6 and we did not have to worry about anything. We had a rainy day, but Miho really made the most of it. The soba making and the gorge hike were amazing, and I loved the picnic in the gorge.
I am not really into nature – I prefer the city life, but this was awesome. Me and two friends did this in the spring. To actually have an experience with local food and then a relaxing walk was amazing.
The cooking was absolutely fantastic with the local ladies – it was a unique and personal experience. Then the nature was so beautiful. We felt like we were exploring a hidden location. Would definitely do this again!
obazukuri is the art of making Japanese buckwheat noodles, while shinrinyoku means to take in the forest atmosphere – it describes a sense of relaxation when you are immersed in nature, surrounded by wilderness. Travelling to a remote valley, learning to make Japanese Soba noodles from locals, eating an amazing lunch together, hiking into a wild gorge to experience the awesome beauty of Japanese nature – these are just some of the highlights of this one-day trip.
Making soba is a perfect entrance into Japanese cuisine and culture – whether you have limited cooking experience or are a Michelin-starred chef, there is nothing like learning to make a dish from those who have been making it their whole life. On this trip, locals will show you the whole process of making soba – from mixing the flour and kneading the dough, to chopping and boiling the noodles. The vast majority of the ingredients you’ll use are grown and harvested in the valley, lovingly prepared by the very lady who teaches you. After we’ve made the food, we’ll all sit down together to eat the product of your, and their, hard work. This is the perfect way to get inside Japan, to interact with locals, and truly experience this amazing part of the world.
Following a filling lunch, we’ll head to the Namekawa gorge, a place of wild beauty. The walking here is not difficult and traces the river back to the head of the gorge – the appropriately named Belly of the Dragon. Standing next to (or in if you’d prefer!) the waterfall at the end of this chamber, looking down the gorge, you’ll feel like you’ve entered another world, a lost world. The walk itself takes approximately 90 mins and offers you the chance to get away from the urban Japan. We promise that the hustle and bustle of Tokyo will seem a million miles away as you breathe the fresh mountain air, get off the beaten track, and immerse yourself in nature.
The following is included:
This one-day trip starts at 9 am and runs until approximately 4 pm. A local guide will meet you at Dogo station in Matsuyama City. From there you’ll travel for approximately one hour to the valley. This includes:
- transport to the heart of the Japanese countryside
- visiting a mountain spring to fill up water bottles (water bottles provided)
- learning to make soba noodles with local residents
- lunch (soba noodles)
- walking through a gorge
- having tea in the Belly of the Dragon
- transport back to Matsuayama – drop off at Dogo Tram Station.
- Optional: A dip under the waterfall(!)
Some more details
Group sizes can vary, but we need at least four to offer the trip. As the teacher needs to organise ingredients, please let us know at least one week before. All tours will be led by a guide who was born and raised in this part of Japan and who is fluent in English. All fees associated with the tour are included in the price. You are strongly advised to wear sporty clothes and shoes that you do not mind getting muddy. There may be times when you have to walk over a little water. This is not dangerous, but your shoes might get wet. Also, it can be cold in the gorge, so you are advised to bring a jacket. If you want to go under the waterfall, please bring a towel and appropriate change of clothing. There are a few ladders to climb up and down as you can see in the photos. These are metal and the tallest is around 10 feet. You do not have to use the ladders, if you do not feel comfortable doing so.
Adults are priced at ￥10,000 (approximately 90 US dollars)
Children are priced at ￥8,000 (approximately 70 US dollars)