Autumn colours swathe the upper fringes of the Hiji River basin from early October. Cooler and dumpier weather entices locals to find shelter and meet under the eaves of covered bridges, prevalent in the area.
Water streams in here are vivid and clear. Thick forests filter daylight, bringing in a bewitching atmosphere full of shadows and moss-carpeted soils. It was through these secluded counties that Ryoma Sakamoto (1836-1867), an advocate of modernization, escaped his native Tosa and embarked in his political reform adventure leading to the establishment of the Meiji Regime.
The exile trail, christened Dappa no Michi 脱藩の道, is well entertained and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. It is difficult enough to please demanding trekkers. And covered bridges or terraced paddy-fields form part of the landscape on offer.