My mom tryed to smile at me( to tell the truth, I commanded(?) her to grin,hah-) on the bridge. This is the bridge which is called as KAZURA-BASHI. It used to be made of only natural materials such as ivy or some kinds of creepers, but now (of course!?) the strong wires got through the base of bridge to strengthen its structure. I found this, if you desire to feel a little of this horror(not so bad or scare), check this. small movie this from the homepage of Nishiiyama village.
Uwajima-jo is a tiny little castle in the middle of Uwajima. It is only 3 stories high, but as it is on top of a hill there are grat views of Uwajima from the 3rd floor. Getting to the top of the hill (about 80 metres) was a bit of a challenge...but it was a wet day and we had a baby in a pram, so it's probably quite easy inder normal circumstances. Inside the castle there are photo's of it in all it's stages of restoration. I don't know why, but we don't seem to have taken a great many photo's (sorry), all i can find is this one of inside and one of the view. The website below has good photo's though, so have a look! It's cute!
This is a really lovely park and was begun in the mid 1600's. it is not one of Japan's famous 'three', but i think it is way up there! We really enjoyed wandering through and exploring all its nooks and crannies. There are enourmous carp in the ponds and some lovely bridges to watch them from. There are also some pretty teahouses and a little museum. it cost about 400 yen to get in, and was well worth it. We were there for half the day at least, and didn't run out of enthusiasm for the place.
On the road down from the Kanka-kei Gorge on Shodo island is the Choshi-kei Valley and Monkey Park. Admission is about 400 yen. The kids had an absolute ball here running around with the wild monkeys. This photo is of Hayden inside the cage... the monkeys are on the outside - you feed from the inside to avoid being bitten by the cheeky little buggers! There are so many of the native monkeys here that they are literally dripping from the rooftops! There are also caged monkeys from other parts of the world here, which is sad, as they look so forlorn, as most caged animals do.
This is on the way down the central mountains on Shodo Island, on the way to Tonosho. We stopped here after the cable car ride up Kanka-kei Gorge. It does provide a great view, and also an escape for kids fed up with travel!
Whilst on Shodo Island we took the cable car up through Kanka-kei Gorge. It really was a spectacular trip, with wonderful views...so much so that I forgot to be scared! At the top there is a tourist type shop selling all kinds of souveneirs (including olive chocolate), and with very friendly and talkative staff. Apparently you can hike up to the island's highest peak in an hour from here, but it sounded a bit tough for the baby...and those of us who had eaten too much olive chocolate at the Olive Park! There are buses that go back down the mountain, but the last one leaves fairly early (can't remember exactly when), so it's best to check timetables first. We missed it and had to call a cab.
'Olive Park' is on Shodo Island where we went for a day trip. This little island is famous for its olive groves, and I guess Olive Park is a celebration of that. We were fascinated to find 'fake' Grecian Ruins here. The park is a nice place to wander around in and has some spectacular views of the inland sea, but for me, the greatest discovery there was the olive chocolate. I am not a fan of olives, and could not imagine chocolate made from them tasting good. I was SO wrong! We brought baskets of the stuff...to take home as gifts of course. Sadly, most of it was eaten before we ever left Japan.
The Taga-jinja is a Shinto fertility shrine. There are a number of 'fertility' type statues in the garden, which is small but peaceful. The biggest attraction here is not the featured photograph (ha ha), but is the sex museum, which is a 3 story building jam packed with all kinds of explicitly sexual objects. Unfortunately, there were no camera's allowed, so photo's are confined to the outside (explicit enough on it's own). At the front of the museum there is a monk selling all kinds of souveneirs. I picked up a gold willy shaped key-ring, complete with two jingling bells!
We hired a car from Uwajima and took a frive up to this little town. This was the 1 day of our trip that I left the camera in our room and I am still kicking myself! This town has the most amazing old Kabuki theatre! We went on a tour inside which took us underneath the revolving stage and through the passageways from dressing rooms , and up into the different seating options available to audiences etc. It really is well worth the drive. The town of Uchiko itself is a kind of miniature Tsumago, it's traditional buildings have been well preserved and would have made great photo opportunities. Do not forget your camera! The townsfolk are very friendly...a little local girl asked me if I was a foreigner and when in return i asked her if she was Japanes she fell apart laughing and ran off with her little sister!
The Yashima Plateau is famous for a huge battle in the 12th century fought between the Genji and Heike clans. My son was fascinated with the "Pond of Blood", which is where the Samurai would wash the blood off their swords. The pond is in the grounds of Yashima-ji (temple 84), and can be found behind the treasure house, which also has some interesting displays. We loved it for the view over Takamatsu, which was spectacular, and hated it for the crazy bus drivers that bring you up and down the hill! (the cable car that usually takes you up was not in operation when we stayed there.
We were homesick for the beach and some wide-open spaces. Katsurahama was a nice place to spend a few hours. The kids made friends with the schoolkids there and got to have a run around. Way too cold for swimming though, as it was April. For those of you who don't like to get sand between their toes, there is a concrete path running the length of the beach (which we found a bit weird ) so you don't even have to take off your shoes. We drove there from Uwajima in a hired car, but there are many ways to get there: Fly from Tokyo, Nagoya or Osaka...Train, on the JR Dosan line...Overnight ferry from Osaka...buses from all major cities in Shikoku
My husband was fortunate enough to visit a very traditional indigo dyer -- in fact cloth made from thread dyed at his workshop is in the Imperial household. He, himself has been named a National Craftsman.
The dying process will be shown here and in a travelogue.
The website listed below is not of this workshop.
The fermentation must continue through the whole dyeing process. Ash and sake are part of the traditional materials that are added in the processing of the dye, turning it from a solid into a liquid. It needs to be stirred constantly.
Here we see the artisan explaining the process. The tricky part is that the leaves must continue to ferment. [The fermentation forces a chemical change to the dye we know as Indigo.]
The leaves are pressed into blocks which are then used in the dyeing process. The Artisan is holding up two blocks of indigo dye