Sacred Mount Tsurugi Speak with local mountain villagers and learn how they live in harmony with nature. Stay in a farmhouse or other traditional home to experience local customs and foods firsthand. Take in the surrounding nature with a trek through sacred Mount Tsurugi. Buckwheat zosui Sometimes referred to as a porridge, zosui is a rice soup that is typically made with vegetables, meat and other ingredients. In Nishi-Awa, zosui is made with buckwheat seeds instead of rice. This innovation is said to have come from samurai defeated in the Genpei War who fled to Nishi-Awa and longed for Kyoto and the meals with rice they’d left behind. Visitors try local foods in a traditional home -Dekomawashiー A specialty of the area is dekomawashi, a skewer of potato, konnyaku, and hard-pressed tofu that is roasted in the fireplace. Foods made from wild game are also common. As part of your trip to Nishi-Awa, sit at the hearth of a charming traditional home and enjoy local foods over a friendly chat with locals, an experience nourishing for both the body and the mind. Ochiai winds up the mountainside Ochiai, Sarukai, and Nishinosho are among the Nishi-Awa villages that climb up the mountainsides. Renowned Japanologist Alex Kerr describes how this area was considered special, not unlike a Shangri-La, even hundreds of years ago. A sightseeing riverboard passes through a gorge a rafting trip on the Yoshino River, or a tour on a sightseeing boat to see the beautiful scenery of a gorge. The blessings of the mountains and the rivers are the true attractions of Nishi-Awa. A traditional residence available for overnight stays Filled with steeply sloping fields, traditional homes, and stone walls, these communities rise as much as 400 meters in altitude from one end to another.