Life in the Nonogawa River Valley centers on the crystal clear river that courses through it.
In the spring and during tsuyu (the rainy season), the river often floods which is the origin for the name 野々(wild, wild). Legend has it that the river guardian is displeased with the valley during these times. Towns along the river are built up against the hillsides and levees have been created to minimize damage from flooding and guide the river's seasonal raging farther downstream.
While the river is calm popular activities include paddle boating, fishing, picnicking, hiking and swimming. When the river is higher but not in flood stage, kayaking and white water rafting brings tourists to the area. Fishing and hunting are good along the banks. In the less populated areas, boar, deer, and cranes can be spotted. Iwame Trout (a salmonoid that doesn't migrate to the ocean) can be found in the fast running areas and catfish in the slower ones.
by Image by Kohji Asakawa
Ryuuizumi (Dragon Spring) is the surprisingly boastful name of the humble start of the Nonogawa River. The spring isn't easily accessible, since the landslide a hundred years ago obliterated the best path up Mt. Myouyama (mystery mountain). But if you do dare the hike from the far side, it's said that drinking from the spring's water will bring wisdom and happiness.
Nestled in a valley that's deep for the main island of Japan, it snakes its course through the mountains and hills to where it joins the Asahi River outside of Okayama City and empties into Kojima Bay.
It runs for 19 miles / 30 km.