Shikoku

We set off to Shikoku from Okayama. While at Okayama station we were interviewed three separate times by English students and their teachers. The students were learning conversational English. The students and teachers were paired up and the teachers asked us to help their pupils. This teacher had the best English of the three pairs we spoke to, she recommended a ramen place in Okayama.

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Upon arrival at Takuma station on Shikoku we set off into the rural night towards our AirBnb, on foot. We passed pretty rural houses interspersed with industrial facilities. Eventually we arrived at a petrol station and asked someone to clarify the AirBnb directions. They pointed us in the direction of a busy road and we set off again. Eventually, after following the maps beacon for our AirBnb for a while longer, we reached the same petrol station. We were lost. After deciding to follow a side road in the hopes that our accommodation would be at the end, we reached some houses and decided to ask for directions. The lady we asked had just parked in her driveway with her son. They had little English and made a fuss when we showed them the AirBnb listing. It turns out that the google map was way off. By one train stop. We didn't know quite how lost we were. After no deliberation we were offered a lift. The car had TV screens and a show featuring cute cats and dogs was on. Finally we arrived at our AirBnb and after profuse thanks on our part we set about getting to bed. The next day we rented the most annoying car ever. It was a nice new Mazda Demio and it had a terrible habit of beeping constantly while in reverse and yelling at you for no apparent reason. Nevertheless, we enjoyed driving around the Iya Valley in the pouring rain. The views of the valley were breathtaking. We stopped at the ancient vine bridge before heading back. In Japan, the speed limits are very low, 50kmh on the country roads, this would make for a slow journey if the locals didn't exceed the speed limit so regularly.

After a day of rest we left Shikoku and went to the island of Ogijima on the way to Kyoto. Ogijima has many sights including cats, a sweet residential village and a mountain with a large cave at the top. Legend has it that a long time ago an ogre lived there. After taking pictures of cute cats we set off around the village and came to the road that runs around the small island. While walking there we saw a little truck next to a daffodil atop a sign and another sign nearby marking out prices for something.

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We followed the path to a small cafe where we were served Yuzu and Biwa.

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Warm from the hot Yuzu we went further down the road until we came to the steps leading up the mountain. After a long climb we reached the cave at the top. On the way up the mountain we met Taizo. We travelled back to Takamatsu with him, he works IT security and lives in Tokyo. He came to see the daffodils which bloom a on Ogijima in February. His English was excellent and we had a great chat about the islands of Ogijima and Megijima.

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From Takamatsu we set off for Kyoto on the Shinkansen. Our rail pass took us to Osaka and a local express train took us the rest of the way. We arrived at Guesthouse Yululu in the late evening and went to sleep after a nice dinner in a local pub.

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February 14, 2018