The tradition of pumpkin carving began not with carving pumpkins, but carving potatoes, turnips, and beets. The Irish would carve faces into these in the hope of warding away evil spirits that roamed the land on Samhain. This idea came from the story of Jack of the Lantern (Stingy Jack). When the Irish came to America, they used pumpkins, which were native and much easier to carve.
Day 12: The trip from Matsue to Naoshima can be made in about 4 hours, or with a stop in Okayama (famous for Korakuen garden). Enjoy your first evening on Naoshima Island, home to world-class art including Yayoi Kusama's iconic pumpkin. www.boutiquejapan.com