We had a quick drive around Hiwasa Town, which is where we stayed last night. There was a castle (which was rebuilt in the 70s) and a temple famous for people with bad-luck. Thinking that our luck was pretty good, we didn’t bother visiting. We did drive down to the beach though. A nice-ish beach, small waves, pebbly but still pleasant enough to walk down. There was even an ocean turtle museum/zoo.
I’d read (in Lonely Planet) about Shikoku’s largest waterfall, Todoroki Falls (55m), not being too far of a detour. It was another tiny, single-vehicle road that twisted through mountains. As always, it was lucky that not many other people were using the roads at the same time, as passing would have been a challenge.
It was nearly an hour of driving to get to the waterfall. I really didn’t want to be disappointed, but had high hopes (due to all the rain yesterday). The name Todoroki means “thunderous roar” (or something to that extent), so after walking along the pathway, past the small temple/shrine I was expecting to hear the booming noise of a giant waterfall. I think that we could feel the spray before we could hear the waterfall. Actually, there was so much spray coming from the waterfall that photographing it was pretty difficult, it kept coating my lens in water droplets. Though, the spray did make some amazing rainbows!
I thought that I had read that you could walk behind the waterfall, but as we hadn’t seen any paths for it, we tried walking along the frigid waters into the narrow canyon that the waterfall was… falling. It was honestly terrifying! We’d found the thunderous roar and it was too much for us. It was loud and the space was making me feel claustrophobic, so we quickly got out of there! I was going to skinny-dip as I didn’t have swimming clothes on, but luckily I didn’t because as we were coming out of the waterfall a man in a suit and an office lady arrived. Could have been embarrassing. There is a festival here where they carry a portable shrine into the waterfall. I think that’s a pretty good test of courage!
The area is actually called Todoroki 99 Falls, and while there may be 99 waterfalls, there are only 10 or so major ones, but seeing them all is a hike that we just didn’t want to do. We walked up dozens of steps, complete with warnings of venomous snakes (and me in thongs) to spice it up. The second waterfall was split, and almost immediately fed into the larger one. We could actually look down the first waterfall (if we had the courage to get close enough, which we didn’t).
We had to drive back out some of the same narrow roads to continue our southerly search of beaches. Luckily, we were eventually returning along different roads, roads with two physical lanes (in places). Travel was easy again.
As we continued heading south out of Tokushima and into Kochi, we started to notice surf shops/advertising, as well as real surf (complete with surfers riding it!). Though, it wasn’t appealing to swim in. There wasn’t much of a beach and the gigantic tetrapods broke all the swell before it reached shore. I’d think that surfing in that area would be quite scary too, I wouldn’t want to get too close to the concrete tetrapods…
We eventually stopped for a look at a beach called Shirahama (white beach). It was an amazing day, warm (though not hot), clear skies and a nice breeze, but we were the only people there (apart from the ladies working in the shops). Risa said that everything was shut (like the public showers) because it was out of season. It was like a double win, being a beautiful beach AND having it completely to ourselves! The sand was real sand and the water was pleasantly warm. It was in a bay, so there wasn’t any swell, but that was fine for us, made swimming easier.
It was now after 4:30, and I wanted to see the sunset from Muroto Peninsular, which was still another 30km so we had to rush. We did make a quick stop at a cave that was used by a famous monk. There is a famous pilgrimage to 88 temples in Shikoku (which we’re far too lazy to do), and this cave is a part of that pilgrimage.
Sadly, we drove past the cape (the location is a little ambiguous), so we didn’t get there in time to take photos of the sunset. But, we did get to see it as we were frantically driving back to the cape.
From the cape, we drove a few kilometres to a umi-no-eki where we parked, cooked some steak (that we bought for super cheap last night) in the quickly fading light. For some reason, we were exhausted and with no Dexter to watch, we went to bed early.
45日目：ウェルかめロケ地 美波市—室戸岬 高知県
今日の目標は、轟滝と海水浴！ またもやうねうね細い山道を通って轟滝へ。通った峠の名前は、ヤレヤレ峠。ぶははーおもしろ〜い。 それにしても西日本の道は狭し。北海道と違って、車ができるずーっと前から使っていた歴史のある道が多いからだろうね。 轟滝がメインの九十九滝は、５５mの四国で一番高さがある轟滝をメインに九十九ほど山中あちこちに滝がある。メインの轟滝までには、神社とお寺があって龍神が祀られていた。ここは、御神輿をかついで滝壺まで入るお祭りがあるみたい。（ポスターが張ってあった） 文章では書き表せないとても力強く美しく滝。滝は、高くそびえる２つの岩の壁の向こうに見え、ここからでも轟のような轟音が聞こえる。 人もいないし、水着を着ていたので滝壺までいってみようと意気揚々と冷たい水を進むも底の深さがよく見えないのと、洞窟のような暗さ、そして轟音が恐ろしくて退散。 でも苔がびっしりの岩の壁にキラキラと光る水しぶきにと虹と力強い滝のコンビネーションが非常に美しかった。旅の中で見た滝の中でも１、２番のお気に入りの滝☆ ここも四国に来たらぜひ行った方がいい場所！ 時間があれば轟滝以外に名前がついている滝たけでも１０個程あるので山を２時間ほどで滝巡り登山ができますよん。
滝でマイナスイオンをたっぷり浴びた後は、念願の海水浴！ １０月１日ですが、外気温は、２７度以上あるし、波も穏やか。 轟滝から９０分程の東洋市にある白浜ビーチで海水浴をすることに！ 平日だし泳いでる人はもちろん外にはいなかったけど、一瞬で水につかれるほど水温は高くて、超遠浅。波もおだやかで、きれいで最高のプライベートビーチ☆ まさか１０月に日本で海水浴できるとはなぁ。 あぁ沖縄も楽しみ！！
南国ビーチを満喫したあとは、室戸岬の夕日をめざして高知県の海岸線をひたすら南下。 それにしても四国（とくに高知）は、街路樹が普通にヤシの木とか、山にバナナの木みたいのとか、巨大アロエとかめっちゃトロピカルな木が普通に目につく。なんか台湾にいるみたい。 室戸に向かう途中で赤く大きな夕日が海に浮かんでいるのが見えた。岬までは、ほんの少しなので、余裕だべーとおもっていたらなんと下にあった厚い雲の中にあっと言う間にしずんでしまった。 残念ながらロスくんは、カメラをセットしている間に沈んでしまったため、丸い夕日の写真はございませーん。 でもきれいな夕日も見れたし、ロス君作ステーキもおいしかったし今日もいい一日でしたー☆