02.09.2014 - 02.09.2014
Our WWOOF host was nice enough to drive us to Mt. Aso area of Kumamoto prefecture and tour us around the caldera and mountains. First we stopped for lunch at a restuarant that makes its own tofu and we had it a variety of ways. Miso soup with tofu, tofu dipped in soy sauce and seasonings, fried tofu, vegetables in tofu paste and a salad made with a byproduct of the tofu making process. This last one was very interesting and reminded me of the texture of tuna salad but sweeter and, of course, no fish taste. Despite what people say, well made tofu does have its own flavor that can stand on its own like this meal shows.
The terrain changes from the hills, valleys and forests of Oita prefecture to windswept, volcanic ridges that remind us of Hawi. Within one of the largest calderas in the world are five volcanic peaks that make up the Mt. Aso geological zone. Unfortunately, there is to much poisonous smoke to go up to the lip of the crater.
From here we went to White Dragon Temple. This shrine houses two snakes; one golden and one pure white. In Japan, snakes are a sign of that brings wealth.
At this point we are dropped off at this quaint train station. Small and unstaffed, it is
quintessential rural Japan. There is even a hotspring located in the same building. Here we say our final goodbyes to the Isayamas and head towards Kumamoto.