passing through many hamlets and villages between long rows of small houses that line this main thoroughfare, at last, at a distance of twelve or thirteen miles from the stream outlet, reached Takamori which we had chosen as our goal. This is a prosperous small town with several hundred inhabitants, the chief center for the rich agricultural district hemmed within the volcanic heights of this southern half of the old crater.
This whole district is one wide expanse of cultivated fields, a mosaic of little patches differently planted, unfenced and unbounded, stretching freely down the plain in endless kaleidoscopic variety. In the springtime
Fig. 4. Looking Southwest across the Floor of the Southern Half of the Aso Crater at a Much Worn Portion of the Surrounding Wall. The town of Takamori shows as a spot of white in the distance on the left. Photo by Malcolm Anderson.
wheat and mustard, growing tall and vigorously, are the dominating crops, and the rich green of the grain mingled with the brilliant yellow of the mustard blossoms spreads a gay succession of tints over the wide plain. Here and there a tree, or a cluster or line of trees, for the most part dark pines or phantom bamboo groves, give a picturesque irregularity to the vast chess-board, standing like players on the light squares or the dark. The villages and groups of farm-homesteads with their conically roofed thatches appear as small as anthill colonies when viewed from above from one of the innumerable points of vantage round about, so small are they as compared with the breadth and depth and largeness of the scene of which they are a part.