Scarecrows, vine bridges and Mount Tsuguri

On Shikoku island in Tokushima lies Mount Tsuguri. It sounds like the start of a fairytale and indeed when we arrived at Momonga village guesthouse, which looks a bit like a treehouse, set by a river, that too had a fairytale feel to it, where little birds will come and perch on your hand.

The meal in the evening was very basic, but in the morning you have free rein in the kitchen, so a breakfast of porridge, banana and walnuts made a pleasant change from Japanese style miso, fish, rice and pickles. On our second night, we cooked for ourselves and ate on the upstairs terrace with a view of the river.

We headed off in the morning to view the Oboke gorge in the Aida valley and then up a very winding road towards Mount Tsurugi, looking forward to a cable car ride. But first we had fun exploring the Oku Iya Niju-Kazurabashi Bridges, a set of two suspension bridges often referred to as the “husband-and-wife bridges.” and pulling ourselves across the river in little carts, the way they used to transport goods across. Next we drove through, the village of scarecrows. Not a human to be seen, so it has an eerie abandoned feeling. The scarecrows are posed very realistically and it makes a silent statement about deserted rural villages.

On up the road, to the cable car, which was shut. Indeed the little village at the Tsurugi shrine was pretty deserted too as it was too early in the season, but we did manage a cup of coffee, sadly nothing to eat was on offer, so our three hour hike was done on water and two Japanese kitkats and rumbling stomachs. There are several routes up. We chose the meandering one but hadn’t factored in that some of the path would still be snow covered higher up, so parts of the ascent up the 1954 metres were a bit tricky, but the view at the top was worth it.

Some major tourist sites in the cities now have signs saying no drones allowed and I wish they were banned in the countryside too as the peace of the walk near the top of the mountain was spoilt by the noise of a drone, buzzing like a swarm of hornets above our heads!

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