Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park

Dynamic life nurtured by the Japan Current

The park is characterized by its coastal strip dotted with islands in southwest Shikoku and the inland landscapes with variations consisting of mountains as high as 1,000 m. The Ashizuri area is marked by continuous precipitous cliffs developed from coastal terraces and the communities of subtropical marine life and coral reefs nurtured by the Japan Current. In contrast, the Uwakai area appeals to visitors with its subtle inlets unique to a submerged coast and island seascapes, offering beautiful underwater landscapes created mainly of soft corals.

Visiting Japan's National Parks

Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park, like all of Japan's national parks, has no entrance fees, no opening and closing hours, and a permit is not required to enter or stay in the park. The national parks of Japan differ from national parks worldwide in that the land within the national parks is not exclusively designated for national park use and is made up of private property as well as public and protected areas. Visitors are free to enter and leave at any time.

Park Highlights

The seashore landscape of abundant variation is one of the key attractions of Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park. The inland area is inhabited by a natural forest of giant trees including the Japanese umbrella pine (Sciadopitys verticillata), Japanese cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) and Japanese cypress. Visitors can observe the vertical distribution of vegetation ranging from the warm-temperate zone to the cold-temperate zone.

DON'T MISS

  • Spot the highly distinctive Kannon-iwa Rock
  • Dive around Kashiwajima Island—an area brimming with biodiversity
  • Sea-kayak off Sunokawa Beach

The Ashizuri area in Kochi Prefecture showcases a magnificent view of continuous sheer precipices along the raised beach in the east, as represented by Cape Ashizuri and Tatsukushi Beach. In the west, there is a complicated but subtle landscape dotted with numerous capes and rock reefs like Kanaezaki and Odo Beach, featuring a submerged sawtooth beach.

OITSUKAMIJIMA ISLAND

This uninhabited island in the Uwakai Sea is abundant in natural beauty and consists of a special protection zone and Class 1 special zone. 

NAMETOKO GORGE AND YUKIWANO-TAKI FALLS

Nametoko Gorge is noted for the smooth riverbed formed as a result of the erosion of granite over many years. As represented by the Yukiwano-taki Falls, the beautiful gorge landscapes include waterfalls, the river, deep pools, and beech and maple trees on the riverbanks. Recently, it has become a popular site for canyoning.

UNDERWATER SEASCAPES

Thanks to the influence of the Japan Current, which is the world's largest warm current, the waters are populated by the reef-building stony coral (Zooxanthellate scleractinian) and subtropical neon damselfish (Pomacentrus coelestis), despite the high latitude. The Oriental butterflyfish (Chaetodon auripes) living among the corals makes for a colorful underwater tapestry of marine life.

CAPE ASHIZURI

Located at the southernmost tip of Shikoku, Japan's largest chalk lighthouse sits in beautiful harmony with the deep blue of the Pacific Ocean and the sheer granite precipices. Walk along the esplanade and enjoy the Hakusan Caves, carved by the waves.

About the Park 

Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park was initially designated a quasi-national park in 1955, and the area was extended to include the Uwakai area and marine park zone and became Ashizuri-Uwakai National Park in 1972.

FACTS & FIGURES

  • Date of National Park Designation: November 10, 1972
  • Area: 11,345 ha (113.45 square kilometers)
  • Location: Ehime, Kochi prefectures

PARKS RULES & SAFETY 

As with any national park or conservation area, visitors to Ashizuri-Uwakai are required to observe the following rules for safety and to protect the area's natural biodiversity:

  • Carry in, carry out: Take all of your trash with you.
  • Do not pick wildflowers or damage plants.
  • Do not feed the wild animals.
  • Hunting is not permitted.
  • No fishing unless with a certified guide.
  • No smoking while walking.
  • Campfires are only permitted in designated areas.
  • For the protection of sea turtles, vehicles and bonfires are not permitted on the sandy beaches of the Oki Coast and Shimonokae Beach.
  • Be careful because the ocean abounds with poisonous living nature including cone snails, crown-of-thorns starfish.
  • Exercise care around the wildlife and monkeys of Nametoko and Kashima because they do not fear humans and will take your bags if they think you have food.