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Cruising along the Hiji River

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Cruising along the Hiji River


Enjoy a picturesque boat ride and see the medieval town of Ozu from a different perspective



A 400 years-old castle town in southern Ehime Prefecture, Ozu is crisscrossed by the winding Hiji River. In Japanese, "hiji" means "elbow." Although the straight-line distance from the headwaters to the mouth of river is only 18km, the Hiji River, as the name suggests, bends like an elbow, covering a total length of 103km.

Surrounded by lushly forested mountains, with no easy access through land, the people of Ozu depended on the Hiji watercourse to connect with the world. Sail boats and barges permeated the indigenous landscape 100 years ago, and, in absence of bridges, all connections between shores were assured by ferry boats. Reminiscent of such golden era, a regular boat service linking major local landmarks, including Ozu Castle, Garyu Sanso Tea House, and Ozu Redbrick Hall, has seen the light in summer 2022. A ride along the Hiji riverbanks enables to grasp new perspectives of this quaint medieval town. 



Morning mist during winter, a myriad of green tones in early spring, or a cascade of ochres on the slopes in late autumn. A visit to Ozu is worthwhile any time of the year. Local landscapes are best enjoyed from the water surface, and boat cruises offer an exceptional way of becoming acquainted with Ozu’s history and environment. 

The boats run several times a day at hourly intervals. Using a one-day ticket, you can hop on and off as many times as you like at any of the stops along the route and explore the sights of Ozu at your own pace. Please note that cruising services are reliant on Hiji River’s capricious nature and may be affected by sudden surges or low water levels.




How to get there


From Matsuyama Airport, taxi or bus to JR Matsuyama.( 15min)
Express train from JR Matsuyama to JR Iyo-Ozu(35min)
The city center is a 10 min bicycle ride or 20 min walk from the station.


Iyo Ozu Station Tourist Information Center
119 Nakamura, Ozu-shi, Ehime-ken



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