We took a quick drive around the cape, looking at the whirlpools from beside the bridge separating Awaji Island and Naruto. While we couldn’t see any of the whirlpools, we could see plenty of the turbulence, and the rapidly flowing current (which was flowing the opposite direction to yesterday). Still quite impressive.
We made a quick stop in Tokushima City to eat some hand-cut udon from a restaurant that Risa had seen in a brochure. It was a DIY style restaurant, where you choose the soup style and then add your own toppings. We were still full from breakfast, so we shared a simple bowl. The udon was thick and delicious, and the soup/stock was light and … also delicious. And, all for ¥390.
We didn’t bother looking around town, we headed straight out to the ‘Hidden Valley’ Iya. It was a pleasant drive out of Tokushima City, nice straight roads, flowing traffic, sparse traffic lights. Just like driving in Hokkaido.
Risa saw a sign for a giant old tree. It was only an 800m detour, so we went to check it out. It sure was ancient. While it wasn’t very tall, it was certainly epic, and old. 1000 years old. Beautiful old tree, and impressively, still looked quite healthy.
The easy driving all changed at Iyaguchi Town, where we changed onto the old route 32. Narrow, windy and steep. But, an amazing view down to the river/gorge far below. Beautiful green water and light grey rocks, steep green valley and blue skies (when we could see them). Apart from a brief stop (due to construction), it was an amazing drive. Though, it would have been nice if we could have seen the gorge clearer more frequently…
Light was quickly fading. We stopped at a random statue of a boy peeing. There was no explanation about it. Take your guess at why it was there… A few hundred meters past the odd statue was an onsen that was quite unique. The onsen was by the river, far below. To get to the onsen you had to travel down on a cart. If it wasn’t ¥1500, we would have gone to try it. But, since the only novelty was the cart ride (to a normal segregated onsen), we passed.
We kept driving to Oboke Canyon, which was on a parallel valley. It was similar to what we had seen in Iya, but the water just seemed much more placid. You could do boat tours down the river, but of course, we don’t have the money. We went for a quick walk along the road/canyon. We saw an interesting waterfall that had pipes set up to collect the water. Not too sure about the quality (and not needing any water), we didn’t bother. A man at the onsen that we stopped at earlier told us that due to the heavy rain last night, the water was much murkier than it normally is. We were expecting there to be more movement in the water too, but in Oboke Canyon, we could have been looking at a (very narrow) lake.
On the way back to where we were going to stay in Iya, we popped into a grocery store to buy some bacon/milk for (another pasta) dinner. Nice shock, ¥625! Damn! We added it to some (dodgy) instant creamy pasta. Not bad, but for the price that we paid, we could have cooked a proper pasta. Still, beats instant ramen.
The michi-no-eki in Nishi Iya was quite small, and close to the road so we didn’t stay. But, luckily I spotted a nice big car parking area not far away, that not only had a toilet, but was also quiet and dark. Perfect for us to spend the night.