[Read part 1 of my road trip in Shikoku here]
Day 3, 30th December 2008: Oboke and Koboke, Tokushima Prefecture; Kochi City, Kochi Prefecture
Our fears about the Uedas proved unfounded and we departed feeling slightly ashamed for our suspicions, particularly after being treated to Mrs Ueda’s delicious cooking. The day began by taking in the magnificent sight of the valleys Oboke and Koboke, literally meaning “Great Danger Walking” and “Small Danger Walking”. Their steep precipices and surging rapids were definitely not for the faint-hearted, although the most unnerving sight was a surprise find in the form of Akagawa Bridge. It came with a warning that the city government cannot be held responsible for accidents involving tourists crossing the bridge, which cast serious doubts on its safety!
The innocuous-looking bridge above and its ominous sign below
The afternoon brought us to south into Kochi City, a quiet, attractive city home to one of the 12 remaining original castles in Japan. Dinner consisted of one of Shikoku’s famous products: sliced katsuo-no-tataki, or charcoal-braised bonito fish with a raw middle. It had a surprisingly meaty flavour and we fought the temptation to order seconds.
Day 4, 31st December 2008: Shimanto River and Cape Ashizuri, Kochi Prefecture
The Shimanto River is Japan’s last freely-flowing river, and provided a relaxing and scenic drive along its banks. According to one of our Japanese teachers, the river is extremely clean and has its own ecosystem, resulting in fascinating creatures like prawns with exceptionally long arms. Some of those prawns became our lunch, and we happily discovered that they had a fresh, sweet taste.
From the river, we headed to Cape Ashizuri, distinct for the white lighthouse perched atop its rugged cliffs. Along the 2km walking trail of its impressive coast is the southernmost point of Shikoku too. There, we gazed across the Pacific Ocean and took in the stunning sight of sunlight streaming through the clouds.
[to be continued..]