Camping in a gravel parking lot near Ishizuchi-san...
good thing we had futon mattresses.
One of two kazura-bashi (vine bridge) at Oku Iya Kazura-bashi...
"Look Ma! No Hands!"
(In Japan, buffet = "viking style")
Apparently, the best time to see the big ones are during the spring tides in March/April.
Although this campground was right up the street from the wonderful Kamiyama Onsen.
The Free (sort of) Route:
From Yamaguchi, we took route 262 to Hofu, then got onto route 2 towards Yanai. The expensive part was the ferry boat from Yanai to Matsuyama (really Mitsuhama port) (the cost depends on the length of your car and number of people - 13,000 to 18,000 Yen - although the return trip only costs 1000 yen ~$10), but we figured it was worth the cost because it saves us time and is much more relaxing and fun. From the port, we headed to the Matsuyama train/bus station to pick up maps and ask questions at the Tourist Information Center (TIC). Over the next few days, we essentially followed route 11, then route 192 east to Tokushima/Naruto, with a few side trips off on narrow, winding mountain-side roads. Then back again, although we found out the hard way that the correct ferry port to get back to Yanai is actually Mitsuhama port, not Matsuyama port.
No Shinkansen, No buses, No trains, No expensive expressways, one somewhat expensive ferry.