In November at the height of fall (one of Japan's four distinct season), a gentlemen named Abe-sensei took us to Mount Yudono to gaze at the colorful changing leaves.

This is a general look at the kinds of things that we saw--rivers, cliffs, and trees with changing leaves. Pretty, huh?

Interestingly enough, near Mount Yudono there is a bungee jumping place run by New Zealanders. One of their customers is just about to take the plunge in this picture.

Here you can see the jumper on his way down into the farily steep gorge.

After it was all over, some men came out in a small raft to retrieve the jumper.

After watching the bungee jumping, we headed out to a picturesque little picnic ground to have some lunch and look at all the leaves. This is Kim with Abe-sensei, our benefactor on this particular trip.

And, of course, here are Kim and Peter together. In the background you can see a nice little waterfall trickling down a really steep cliff.

Here's a view off the cliff behind us in the last two pictures. At the bottom there's a rather pleasant stream.

This is a wider view of the picnic ground and the hills on the opposite side of the gorge.

Off a bit to the right from the last picture, you can enjoy this sight of the insane Yamagata Expressway. The Yamagata Expressway attempts to turn a scary drive through some pretty rugid mountains into a straight shot. In doing so, there is quite a system of extremely high and long bridges over gorges and insanely long tunnels through the sides of mountains. This particular bridge must be 600 feet high and a mile long.

Next we went off towards a small mountain village. On the way we stopped at this bridge.

Here is Kim peering over the bridge...

...and here is what she's looking at. This is a really deep gorge. So deep, in fact, that our kindly guide explained that this particular bridge is known as a good place to pee and be finished peeing before the first of your pee hits the river. So we were told. We did not test the theory.

In the village we got to see a couple old-style, Edo-period thatched-roof dwellings. Here is Kim standing in front of one. The later set of pictures are from inside this particular house.

Here are Peter and Kim posing in front of another thatched house. The thatch is thousands and thousands of reeds bundled together. It actually looks warm--probably far better insulated and better constructed than most modern Japanese domiciles. The orange things hanging in rows are called "kaki," or parsimons in English (although I didn't have a clue what a parsimon was until we saw them here). They're a fall fruit that is really sweet. It's often hanged out to dry, as here, and soaked in alcohol.

This is a nice little koi pond and garden near one of the thatched roof houses. Japanese gardens are really pleasant.

One of the thatched houses is a museum. The other one (the one with the kaki) is actually still someone's house. We visited the museum, and, of course, the first room was one devoted to shoes. Shoes are very important in Japan, and apparently they have been important for quite some time, judging by the quantity of shoes available here.

This is the cooking area.

Here is a food storage area. You can see a lot of the older style cookware in this room.

It is unclear what this room is used for, but it has tatami, so we had to take our shoes off.

And this appears to be some sort of workroom. It was actually completely dark. We only could see what was in it by taking the picture so that the flash would light it up.

That was our trip to Mount Yudono. We may have more pictures later when we decide to attempt skiing on Yudono's bunny slopes.