Tosa, Kōchi → Yamajiro, Tokushima

Map of Kōchi and Tokushima Prefectures with author’s route between Tosa and Yamajiro highlighted. 🗺 Open map in GaiaGPS →

Closeup of a man’s hands holding a Beretta shotgun.

A Japanese man, dressed in a long-sleeved white t-shirt, hold a pair of deer antlers in his hands.

The same Japanese man, dressed in a sleeveless t-shirt, holds a rifle in his left hand while looking off-camera. 📍 Ōbuchi, Kōchi

I don’t use the scope these days,” Mr. Michio said. A hunter and beekeeper, he lived high up on the mountainside above Lake Sameura. I shoot with the iron sights.”

I held his Japanese sniper rifle and his Beretta over and under shotgun, heavy and terrifying things. In the old days, the samurai used antlers to display their swords on,” he said. But there were no samurai now, only deer, wild boar, and Mr. Michio to hunt them.

Later, when he showed me his hives and his magnificent Damascene steel hunting knife, he absent-mindedly slapped a hornet the size of a songbird. It’s a queen, looking for a place to nest,” he said.

Japanese honeybees at the entrance of their hive. 📍 Ōbuchi, Kōchi

A very East Asian sort of bamboo forest.

A Honda Beat roadster peeks out of a garage in a village house, the kind with hand-made windowframes, a small rock garden in front, and laundry hung across the garage’s entrance.

A closeup view of a juvenile Japanese striped snake looking straight into the camera. 📍 Motoyama, Kōchi

A positive note of Central Kōchi’s depopulation is that there aren’t enough cars to squash every snake that ventures out on the road. This juvenile Japanese striped snake (Elaphe quadrivirgata) was very much alive, poised and silent, a runway model, and we looked at each other for minutes, one of us the scientist, the other the ocean of Solaris. Then it was gone like quicksilver, swallowed by the undergrowth.

Looking at a blue-pink-purple sunset from the middle of a pair of railway tracks. 📍 Ōtaguchi Station, 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.