Tsuchigoya, Ehime → ⛰ Mount Ishizuchi → Nagasawa, Kōchi

Map of Ehime and Kōchi Prefectures with author’s route between Tsuchigoya and Nagasawa highlighted. 🗺 Open map in GaiaGPS →

A small statue of a mountain deity with a huge nose and bulging eyes wears a white apron and a necklace of beads.

Looking up at a small gnarly tree growing out of a rock.

Closeup of pink akebono azalea flowers with the summit of Mount Ishizuchi blurry in the distance.

Pine trees with the summit of Mount Ishizuchi in the distance.

Two lingering patches of snow cut across a trail traversing a steep hillside, a broken wood bridge between them.

A snake, alert and looking into the camera, slithers across an undergrowth of bamboo grass and purple flowers. 🐍 Japanese forest rat snake (Euprepiophis conspicillata)

A very wide panorama of jagged mountains under a blue sky streaked with cirrus clouds, taken from the summit of Mount Ishizuchi looking north-northwest.

One of the two summits of Mount Ishizuchi with a sea of blue hills behind it. 📍 Mount Ishizuchi, Ehime

A village road flanked by a rock wall covered in moss and pink flowers.

The inside of a sawmill: planks, timber, wood-cutting machines, various tools, a blue wheelbarrow filled with sawdust and scraps.

Pink orchids and mosses carefully planted into old tree-stumps hang from the eaves of a house. 📍 Erimon, Kōchi

A cup of sake and four dried anchovies placed on the porch of a shrine as an offering to the gods. 📍 Shirakami Shrine, Nagasawa, Kōchi

The forest gods definitely needed a drink: two centuries-old cedars lay in freshly chainsawed pieces by the shrine, their stumps the size of dining tables. I had walked into Kōchi Prefecture, into valleys with no cellular reception, into a village with an immaculate public toilet but no grocery store or restaurant, just a Coke machine. The rain fell like a sea storm for 12 hours, and at midnight, a siren went off at full blast, reverberating off the walls of the valley. I slept under the eaves in the white noise of the downpour.

Heavy rain falling at night as seen from the porch of a shrine, with a harsh light shining straight into the camera. 📍 Shirakami Shrine, Nagasawa, Kōchi

These Walking Dreams is a visual field diary of a 4,300-kilometer walk from one end of Japan to the other, in the spring and summer of 2017.