Should I still go to western Shikoku in late July?
July 8, 2018 9:45 PM   Subscribe

Western Japan has been exceptionally rainy in the last few days and flooding seems to be affecting infrastructure like railways and roads. I'll be in Japan for about a month starting tomorrow, and my original itinerary included five days driving around Kochi and Ehime prefectures (specifically flying into Kochi on July 25 and driving to Cape Ashizuri, then along the west coast staying in Otsuki, Seiyo and Matsuyama and visiting Ozu, Uchiko and Uwajima), then flying to Fukuoka on July 30. Will this still work? Or should I go elsewhere in Japan?

Specifically, I worry about learning about road closures/landslides with an English GPS (and just generally being able to enjoy my visit without being in the way as people rebuild).

I'd planned to visit Ozu, Uchiko, Uwajima, and a few of the more rugged coastal areas like this temple on a small prefectural highway.

I can change my flights/hotels/car reservations for free, so there's no cost involved. I'm happy to go...basically anywhere else in Japan? I'll have already visited Tokyo and Hokkaido by that point.

Am I being overly cautious? Can I assume most things tourists would want to see in these places will be open by the end of the month assuming the rain stops in the next few days?
posted by mdonley to Travel & Transportation around Japan (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
How soon do you have to decide? If the rain lets up things should start getting back to normal fairly quickly. There is definitely one expressway in Kochi out of commission but it looks like that is Rt 32, the road going north out of the prefecture. I've emailed a friend there and will see what he says. It would be a shame to miss Shikoku if you don't have to.
posted by Gotanda at 10:57 PM on July 8, 2018

Do you speak Japanese at all? That would be a big factor for me, because if you don't, you may have real trouble finding your way around if something goes wrong.

If you want to be safe, Touhoku has some beautiful areas as well; I've only been to Aomori and Morioka at this point, but I'm sure Google will have more suggestions.
posted by LoonyLovegood at 1:17 AM on July 9, 2018

Just heard back from my friends who are long-term Kochi residents and they advised no. That western Shikoku did get hit really hard. Tohoku is lovely....
posted by Gotanda at 1:31 AM on July 9, 2018

Tohoku reporting for duty! This area is indeed lovely.

Here's a a model course for driving through the Tohoku Pacific Coast.
Let's see...model course is 8 nights, 9 days, but I think you could cover more ground with less stops/pick and choose appealing sections. Message me if you like! I'm in Iwate and know of some places to stay on the coast.
posted by sacchan at 1:51 AM on July 9, 2018 [2 favorites]

We will be in Japan for some of the same dates as you, visiting Nagoya, Nikko and Tokyo. Based on your itinerary it looks like you're there more for the culture and views than the shopping and nightlife. If that's the case, I would like to suggest Tochigi prefecture. It has beautiful views, fun driving, amazing temples and is a little cooler temperature-wise than Tokyo. We lived in the area just south of Nikko and found everyone to be friendly and lovely. We take the train from Tokyo to Utsunomiya and then rent a car.

I love Fukuoka and the surrounding area, but disastrous weather aside, Kyushu is deadly hot this time of year.
posted by Alison at 7:15 AM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks everyone! Looks like I’ll be replacing Shikoku with points north. Good luck to your friends, Gotanda!
posted by mdonley at 7:46 AM on July 9, 2018

Using some British Airways Avios points and paying £2 in tax, I am now flying to Aomori on JAL on July 25th and either renting a car or rail-passing (with this!) back down to Tokyo by August 2nd. Now to frantically repack my suitcase to accommodate cooler northern weather! Thanks again to all. 🇯🇵
posted by mdonley at 8:47 AM on July 9, 2018 [1 favorite]

Thanks! My friends are fine. But watching NHK right now and Ehime really did get hammered. Okayama too. The numbers just keep going up.


Can second Alison's rec of Tochigi for stop on your way back down to Tokyo. Mashiko is a great place to stop. Nature, art, quiet.
posted by Gotanda at 5:22 AM on July 10, 2018

Thanks again to everyone who suggested Tohoku. I’ve had a great week visiting Aomori, Hirosaki, Morioka, Kakunodate/Lake Tazawa/Nyuto Onsen and Nikko. I used the JR East Tohoku Pass plus a day’s car rental in Kakunodate and it’s all been easy and absolutely beautiful! Back to Tokyo tomorrow.
posted by mdonley at 3:03 AM on July 29, 2018 [1 favorite]

In a sort of follow up to this: does anyone know if Typhoon Jebi hit Shikoku hard?
posted by bluecore at 3:02 PM on September 4, 2018

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