Monday, May 3, 2010

Golden Week-end walk

Golden Week

Concrete Wabi Sabi: Virgin tetrapods.

I took advantage of the spell of wonderful weather this past weekend to go for a 40k walk. I wanted to walk the last section of the Shimane coast that I had not yet walked. I started out at Kasaura, a little village up on the Shimane Hanto (peninsular) north east of Matsue. I headed up the cape that protrudes north, passing through Noi, where I found a wonderful example of an old-style mikoshi in the local shrine.

Being the Japanese coast, I was never far from tetrapods.

On up through Sezaki, then over to Konami, all just little fishing villages with a few hundred inhabitants. I like these places. The houses are so close together there are only narrow passageways and steps between them, making labyrinths. I could see the shrine on the hill but I had to enlist the help of a passing local to help me navigate through the maze to find the steps up.

Being the Japanese coast, I was never far from concreted mountains.

And on up through Tako to Okidomari, the northernmost settlement on the tip of the cape. Concrete aside, the coast is quite spectacular, with white beaches and a clear, turquoise sea.

There are lots of rugged cliffs, little islands, sea caves. At times the coast of Shimane reminds me of Cornwall.

Then back down the cape along the only road back through Konami to Nonami, a "town" big enough to have three shrines, one of which was mentioned in the 8th century Izumo no Fudoki.

At the Hinomisaki branch shrine I spent at least 30 minutes chatting with three middle-aged ladies. There were the usual questions, where are you from, where are you going, what are you doing. I explained how I walked all over Shimane visiting shrines, learning the stories, histories, etc. One lady seemed to have a hard time getting her head around it. She kept asking "why?", but no matter what explanation I gave she blurted "But they are Japanese kami!!". Reminded me of a recent conversation wher I mentioned to a young woman that I made kagura masks and she replied..."BUT!! you are not Japanese!!!!"

Nihonjinron. The true Japanese religion.

And so I headed on,... the sun was a few hours from going down and I needed to find a nice place to sleep. On though Kaka, the place to take the boat tours to the Kaganokukedo. No boats were going out today though as it was way too windy. And on through Owashi, visiting shrines in each village. I noted that the majority of shrines had female kami.

I made my bed on the cliff above the roaring surf looking down on Mitsu, and beyond it the nuclear power station at Kashima. Built on a faultline that is much bigger than originally claimed, a second reactor is planned to be built here. (when I got home Yoko told me that the company had just publicly apologized for not replacing 530 parts that should have been replaced as part of scheduled safety maintenance)

I love sleeping outside, and I don't do it often enough! I watched a sublime sunset, and then woke regularly through the night and watched the full moons progress across my ceiling.


  1. The Sunset is so.... it's gorgeous!

  2. Your "b&W" shot of the hill with its coiffure of trees is stunning. It reminds me of those scissor-art images we used to have, but much more complex. Wow.

  3. What an intrepid hiker! The boat on the transparent sea looks like it could be at a Greek island.

  4. Really enjoyed this post. Hope I'm allowed to say that, me not being Japanese and all.

  5. Sweet. 40K-- please tell me you did that in 2 days.

  6. A wonderful -- amazing - series of photos all very well composed.

  7. Alan Booth would be proud of you.

  8. he is one of my favorite writers on Japan.... shame he died so young..