▲ Teshio River heading into winter. (Otoineppu Village)
The Teshio River flows from Teshiodake Mountain and flows 250 kilometers, passing 13 different towns, until it ends in Teshio Town. The name is taken from the Ainu "Teshi O Pe." The word "Teshi" means weir or fish trap, and was likely given to the river because it crosses many rocky outcroppings which resemble a natural fish trap of sorts.
▲ Onnenai Weir located in Bifuka Town.
The upper basin of the Teshio River is a confirmed natural habitat for several endangered species which include the char fish and the yamabe. The landscape of the basin is filled with natural beauty. From the middle of the river all the way to its mouth is a fantastic canoe touring course. No dams or other man-made structures have been built anywhere along the river so canoeists can enjoy 150 kilometers in one nonstop journey. There are also hot springs and camp sites located along the river so visitors can enjoy a full nature experience when they come.
▲ The national "Down the Teshio River" canoe tour competition, which is held every summer.
Currently a winter event has been set up across the 13 districts of Teshio Town called "Teshio Town 13 Winter Stamp Rally." During this event each of the six different mascots used in the town will be making an appearance on any day that has a "3" in it. If you happen to meet one of these characters on this day you can get one of the stamps! If you visit during the event do your best to meet up with one of the characters!
＜Teshio Town 13 Winter Stamp Rally＞
Also, through the end of January the NPO Hokkaido Heritage Council is hosting the "Your Teshio 13 recommendation!" website. This site is a place where anyone can visit to view or upload their choice for the best area of the 13 towns in the Teshio area.
＜Your Teshio 13 recommendation!＞
Beside the above two events there is also an event that highlights the area's Ainu roots. For 30 years, during the Hokkaido winter the "Shimokawa Ainu Candle Museum " has been held in town.
▲ Shimokawa Ice Candle Museum in Shimokawa Town.
Teshio River is an incredible place to visit during any season, be sure to stop by at least once!
(Hokkaido Likers Writer - T・H)
(Photographs provided by NPO法人北海道遺産協議会, 音威子府村, 下川町, 上川総合振興局)