Driving to tributaries of the beautiful Niyodo River
The Niyodo River, born in western Japan’s highest peak, Mt. Ishizuchi, is praised for its miraculously clear water and nicknamed “Niyodo blue.” The streams are so transparent that one could stand on the shore and count the stones in the riverbed. An area along this Niyodo River called Gohoku is the home of candle studio and shop Mow Candle. The owner and artist Masashi Murayama was born in Kochi City. After once leaving, he returned at the age of 25 to live with his grandfather and start his own business.
Ever since, he has spent his time creating candles inspired by rocks, stones, trees, and water under the concept of “sharing the beauty of nature in Gohoku.” Because his source of inspiration is the nature all around him, outdoor activities are an integral part of the creative process. He leads an enviable lifestyle of fishing and climbing in the daytime, and running the shop and designing candles at night.
On this day, Mr. Murayama and his “fishing master” Yuichi Yoshiichi acted as the guides of our fishing tour. The Niyodo River’s middle and upper reaches are famous destinations for the elegant tasting amago salmon. Bun-chan opted to use lures, and Mr. Murayama and Mr. Yoshiichi to use flies. We hopped from one tributary of the Niyodo River to the next—the Edagawa River by Mr. Yoshiichi’s house, the Kamiyakawa River, and the Kogawa River—and cast our lines with our eyes set on amago. Amago are usually found upstream, requiring anglers to make a trek to the destination. But the tributaries of the Niyodo River flow through the sunny foothills. The streams are gentle and the banks are wide, making each destination easy to approach by car and the fishing experience stress free. Bun-chan was initially tense because her specialty is sea fishing, but the picturesque view and the pleasant environment helped her relax in no time.
Two hours later she had fish on her mind and line. What did she catch? Two big-scaled redfins. Anglers around here typically don’t eat big-scaled redfin, but this precious catch was our supper. Mr. Yoshiichi didn’t do any fishing himself but served as the group’s adviser the whole time. Being the local and the “master” that he is, however, he caught three amago after the party broke up. He said a small percentage of the amago make their way to the ocean and later return as satsukimasu salmon. Bun-chan vowed to come back to the Niyodo River—the next time for amago and eventually for satsukimasu.