Yasu michi no eki
Yasu michi no eki is a little noisy, due to the piped music, until around 9 pm and the local youth use it as a gathering spot, but it calms down after 10. It is then quiet enough until the farmers start delivering produce around 6.
Behind the michi no eki building is a beach with playgrounds for kids. There are also restaurants, so for shachuhaku it has up and downsides. In summer it must be far too busy.
We start our day with a walk along the beach on a wooden boardwalk and realize this must be quite a popular place for families in summer given the number of play areas and extensive parking.
Todoroki Falls in Tokushima Prefecture are more famous, but this Todoroki waterfall in Kochi pref. is an interesting three terrace waterfall. We followed a single-track road for a few kilometres to find the car park. Then after a short walk, you reach some steps on the left leading to a viewing platform. This provides a good view of the waterfall, but it is some distance away.
You can, from this viewing point, follow steep steps all the way down to the river. These steps descend through a thick bamboo wood. Strangely, in such an unfrequented spot, the steps had been meticulously swept. At the bottom you are much closer to the falls, but the view is less.
It is possible from this point to cross a suspension bridge and complete a circular walk back to the car park. Not that we attempted this.
From Todoroki Falls, we follow Route 195 to Befu Gorge. There are absolutely no shops along this route and consequently we have lunch in a restaurant at Befu Onsen. This restaurant serves deer and wild boar. We have mountain vegetable udon which is OK. A little further on we turn off 195 for the Befu Gorge and park on the right below the level of the road.
The koyo, or autumn leaves, are hardly showing yellow though it is the last day of October. In another 2 or 3 weeks it should all be a blaze of colour. Today the towering gorge sides are impressive enough and the rock-strewn riverbed a pleasing blue.
Everywhere, however, there are signs of destruction. Fallen trees and rockfalls are very evident and the road is littered with large rocks fallen from the crumbly cliffs. A little ahead the road is completely closed so we walk back to the car. This gorge, as a tourist attraction, seems to have seen better days.
Kounose Gorge 高の瀬峡
We resume the drive down 195 to Kounose Gorge. This place appears to have the same problem but to a greater degree. The road is closed after a few kilometres and there is evidence of abandoned tourist sites just the concrete foundations remaining of what were lodges or restaurants. It is a beautiful spot but so is the entire area.
After shopping in Anan, we stop for the night at Hina no Sato Katsuura. This is a large michi no eki but there are no other shachuhaku vehicles. So, a day of driving and not much else. Neither of the gorges offered much in the way of walking but if you are going to spend the day driving, Route 195 is a good road to choose.
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.