After searching for mamushi/G.blomhoffii for another hour (and unnerving inquisitive tourists), I relieved my herping partner from watching our packs while she went to explore the shrine for herself.
While I waited under a pavillion, my sole companion was this duck. Though, as far as ducks go, he was pretty awesome.
After leaving Usa shrine and resuming our trek, we got caught in one helluva thunderstorm. With the way the clouds were rotating before the storm, I thought we were going to be treated to a tornado in Japan. It made me kind of homesick.
Eventually we made it to Ajimu, a tiny town that is very proud of their softshell turtles/スッポン(Suppon) Pelodiscus sinensis and their wine (As evidenced by the above statue depicting an alcoholic P.sinensis) . For the first night, we settled on setting up our tent in a campground here. The rain eventually let up and we decided to spend the rest of the evening exploring Ajimu and the surrounding area.
Statue of P. sinensis. The sign to the right is an advertisement for a “Suppon Center” where you can feast on the flesh of Ajimu’s beloved mascot.
A huge centipede Scolopendra subspinipes. Other than this guy, the only critters we managed to find that evening were froglets (mostly Hyla japonica and Fejervarya limnocharis).
the southwestern edge of Ajimu at sunset.