Today we were back in Shikoku, the smallest of the four main islands of Japan. We had a lovely welcome from the local fishermen as they sailed alongside National Geographic Resolution with their colorful flags and banners. We did our second Zodiac operation of the voyage, which brought us to the dock of Uwajima. From there some of us explored the town of Uchiko with its traditional merchant neighborhood, wax production, and Kabuki theater. Meanwhile, other guests explored Tensha-en, the Date Museum, and Uwajima castle — one of the few castles in Japan that has not been destroyed by fire, natural disasters, or war. In the afternoon we explored another part of Ehime prefecture as we learned about Doi Pearl Farm and how they produce beautiful pearls from the sea.

Ehime is one of four prefectures in Shikoku; it is famous for agriculture as well as aquaculture. Sea bream, yellowtail, oysters, pearls, rice, wheat, vegetables, and sake — these are all products of Ehime. As we departed from Uwajima we left the Seto Inland Sea behind and traveled south toward the beautiful island of Yakushima.