After one night in Tokyo, I flew to Shikoku, the island just south of the main island. My cousin Amy and her family live there and met me at the airport. This is the house they are living in. It's in the small town of Kamojima, where both Amy and her husband teach at a preschool, which has been run by his family for over 80 years.
Amy and Yoshi have three daughters, Junko, Kiyo and Leiko. Here they are in the Iya river valley.
This is the entrance to the pre-school where they were having a special holiday bazaar for Japanese Thanksgiving, complete with inflatable turkey and a giant chicken. Kiyo was afraid of the chicken.
The children in their uniforms were doing Origami--what would you expect in a Japanese school?
Kiyo eating udan noodles for lunch. She was just as comfortable with chopsticks as she was speaking Japanese.
We took a walk in Kamojima. Here's one of the more elegant houses we passed.
This was the last day for the Chrysanthemum display.
Amy and I took the train into Tokushima, the capital of the prefecture, where we visited a museum and saw a performance of the local dance called Awa Odori. The ladies sing in a very high voice while they dance. They balance on their toes in the traditional Kimono clogs. The men dance in a squatting position. Music is provided by traditional instruments. Many many people dance in the streets for 3 nights every August during the annual festival.
The next day we took a drive up the Yoshino River valley and then into the Iya River Valley. The weather there was just about perfect every day. The fall colors were gorgeous. The red trees are (what else?) Japanese Maples.
Our first stop was a short boat ride on those little boats way down below.
We were in Japan, so naturally we had to take our shoes off to step into the boat.
Here we are sitting in the boat on tatami mats.
The view of the river valley from the boat was great.
We had lunch at a Soba noodle house, where we sat at a traditional table on cushions. Most of the tables in the restaurant were Western style, however.
The view from the windows was wonderful. I went outside to get a better picture of it.
After lunch we stopped to see this old house that was once lived in by Samurai.
This was scary! I was holding Kiyo by the hand and holding on so tight her little fingers are probably still black and blue, but at least she didn't fall through the gaps in the bridge.
Below you can see the spacing between the boards was wide enough for my foot to fall through, and Kiyo's whole body would have fit through some of the gaps. She and her sister were unafraid. But they didn't want to do it again.
No one wanted to back across the bridge, so we returned on another bridge, which offered us this view of the vine bridge.
This waterfall was also nearby.
Can you believe we packed so much into two days? I even had to leave out some stuff. We drove from here right back to Tokushima, where I took a plane back to Tokyo. That part of the trip is on another page.