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Hiji River Cloud Formations

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Hiji River Cloud Formations


Marvel at the sea of clouds forming on winter mornings near Ōzu

KITA Management



On winter mornings in Ōzu on the island of Shikoku, the sun rising over an undulating sea of clouds, pierced by the tops of mountains, is a memorable sight. Before dawn locals, equipped with cameras and thermos flasks filled with hot drinks, head towards the mountains to admire this not infrequent meteorological spectacle. There are several sightseeing spots, but the slopes of Mt. Takayama are easily accessible from the city center; cyclists can get there in less than 20 minutes. The narrow valleys of the Hiji River basin trap these low laying clouds for several hours, until the ground temperature rises and the sky regains its perennial blue.


Another rare meteorological phenomenon can be viewed about 20km north of downtown Ōzu at Nagahama, facing the Seto Inland Sea. The Hijikawa Arashi is the name given to a thermally driven, nocturnal gap wind that on cold winter mornings pushes bands of fog down the river towards the ocean. Set within a landscape boasting 1,000m high mountains and soothing maritime vibes, this peculiar phenomenon attracts the interest of both scientists and tourists alike. For the best views of this drifting sea of wispy clouds head to the Hijikawa Arashi Observation Deck in Nagahama.


How to get there


A 20km drive or bike ride from downtown Ōzu.



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