Kuma Kogen Highland is an expansive inhabited area at a high elevation in central Ehime bordering Kochi Prefecture. Kuma is nominally a town, although it’s basically a wilderness with some inhabited valleys and a central village. It has an interesting foundation myth. Kuma is the name of a woman who lived all alone in this once poor area. When the celebrated priest Kobo Daishi and founder of the Shikoku pilgrimage passed through, she begged him to provide her with company, so he miraculously produced a river. This enabled crops to be grown, and soon farmers arrived. Kuma had company. The town that they established is named after her. The river still flows, crops still grow, and the people of Kuma remain very welcoming to strangers.