Abu, Tokushima → ♨️ Momijigawa Hot Spring, Tokushima

Map of Tokushima Prefecture with author’s route between Abu and Momijigawa Hot Spring highlighted. 🗺 Open map in GaiaGPS →

Dawn over a fishing harbor, with a large bird flying above the boats. 📍 Abu, Tokushima

Oh God, not another beautiful fucking sunrise over a quaint Japanese fishing village.

View of a coastline with many small islands and peninsulas.

A large red and yellow spider in its net.

A narrow road lined with cherry trees still without flowers or leaves. 📍 Abu, Tokushima

Jorō spiders (Nephila clavata) weave a marvelously strong silk that glows golden in the sun. They tend to die off in late autumn but this lone female was in apparently robust health in the bush by the side of Route 26, which snaked along the hills above the ocean and into the harbor of Yuki. Jorō are very spidery-looking spiders but they’re completely harmless — unless you’re smaller than they are, that is.

Smoke rises over a vegetable patch.

Very organized rows of vegetables in a garden.

A small, yellow, boxy-looking car.

The emblem of the yellow car, a Lapin Chocolat, is a partially eaten chocolate bar with one of its squares stamped with the silhouelle of a rabbit.

An old buoy painted to look like a frog wearing red lipstick. 📍 Yuki, Tokushima

You can now get a Lapin in this radiant yellow, with white rims…and it’s a Lapin Chocolat…and its logo is a bar of partially eaten chocolate embossed with a rabbit…and I’m head over heels in love. Someone in Yuki is definitely living the Chocolat style of life.

📍 Yuki, Tokushima

A bouquet at a shrine with an orange in its center.

Panorama of a sandy beach with a man, the author, walking along the sea, carrying a rucksack and a walking stick.

A seaside switchboard that looks like a silly robot face. 📍 Taino Beach, Tokushima

A road sign warns against crabs. 📍 Kiki, Tokushima

These crabs are up to no good.

Square village houses on a sunny street.

Distant view of a harbor village from high up a hillside.

The trunk of a Japanese cypress tree as it grows behind an old stone wall.

In the distance, a man wearing a rucksack, Gyula Simonyi, leans against a guardrail by a road in a cedar forest. 📍 Kiki, Tokushima

On the switchbacks above Kiki, we saw the sea for the last time, and we saw the warm subtropical glow of the sun for the last time. Across a low pass, we dipped into the forest, and into the interior of the island, which grew wilder with every footstep.

Late winter fields in many shades of brown and russet.

📍 Kitagawachi, Tokushima

Sudachi citruses, a specialty of this area, grow on a tree.

A pink plum tree in full bloom.

Two menacing-looking Shikoku dogs look into the camera from the land they guard. 📍 Near the Red Waterfall, Tokushima

A small truck used by a crew of electricians blocks the entire width of a narrow country road.

An old Japanese radio named Thunder Bolt.

A man in hiking clothes, Gyula Simonyi, stands on a narrow path and takes a photo with a black camera.

Another man, the author, walks in a dense cedar forest.

📍 Kitagawachi, Tokushima

The geography of Roads Out of Time”, Alan Booth’s account of his 1983 walk across the mountains of Shikoku, can be ambiguous in places, and when we came to a fork in the road on our way towards the Naka River, we intuitively chose the road which appeared to be less traveled. The asphalt soon petered out and turned into a footpath, which in turn petered out and turned into nothing, and soon we were picking our way between the cedars in a narrow, steep valley. It was not a road Booth would have walked on, but when we climbed out of the valley and stood on a rail-narrow ridge at last, the forested hills of southeastern Shikoku lay ahead of us, glowing golden in the winter dusk.

An old Japanese farmhouse lit up by the evening light.

A branch of a plum tree bearing pink flowers. 📍 Akamatsu, Tokushima

Is a branch of plum’s
Scent alone
Still the snows lie deep
Outside my window this dawn.


Jakuren (1139–1202)

A menu in a restaurant shows a bowl of Japanese curry plated to resemble a dammed lake.

A man, Gyula Simonyi, looks at the actual dish with an expression between curiosity and disapproval. ♨️ Momijigawa Hot Spring, Tokushima

Shikoku Field Diary was written on the 500-kilometer walk across Shikoku in January and February 2019 that became the subject of The Wilds of Shikoku, my first book.

Additional photography on this page by Gyula Simonyi.