Not a lot of westerners make it to Shikoku island at all, let alone Yawatahama, but that is where we went next on our adventure through Japan. Our wonderful relatives drove us all the way from Fukuoka to Beppu, where we caught a ferry to Yawatahama to see our ancestral home and our family's grave site.
Shikoku is the smallest and least populous of the four main islands of Japan, and the JR railway express only has one rail line on the entire island that runs along the perimeter, to give you some scope of how rural it is compared to the massive Tokyo metropolis. Shikoku is famous for its Shikoku Henro, a Buddhist pilgrimage that goes along 88 shrines around the four provinces of Shikoku.
Of course, there's no pilgrimage stop in Yawatahama. Yawatahama is a port city, with the largest fish market in Shikoku with a natural harbor. The main agricultural export is the mikan, or the satsuma mandarin. This reminded me a lot of my home here in Orange County, California as I grew up playing in an orange orchard.
|With Tsuneko on the front step|
|Ignore me, look at the view|
Midway up, trying not to gasp for breath too pathetically, I noticed there was a sign that stated to evacuate to above that point in case of a tsunami warning. I concurred that if a tsunami occurred, I would simply be washed away as there would be no way I could make it to that point on the steep mountainside before the wave hit. The delicious lunch we had just ate didn't help.
|Check out the cat lounging on the front entrance!|
We also visited the local Buddhist temple, a beautiful old set of buildings where our family has their shrine.
|The close up|
But before Beppu, let's talk food:
Yawatahama is famous for its champon, a dish where tons of veggies and meat are first stir fried and then boiled with wheat noodles in a clear refreshing broth. Another food unique to yawatahama is jako-tem, deep fried minced fish. Unfortunately I did not get to try either of these foods due to our tight schedule, however I did get to sample the local citrus, which was delicious and I wish I could get those varieties at home.
What will I be featuring for Yawatahama and Shikoku in general? A restaurant review and a recipe! Stay tuned or use the links below! I've also included my recipe from a while back for reito mikan, a perfect winter snack that showcases Ehime's citrus.