Thursday, June 22, 2023

Yuminato Harbour to Tomogaura Port


After leaving Yuminato I need to cross the Yusato River before I can continue u the coast. The first bridge is a little upstream and after crossing I need to head further upstream towards Yusato as the next section of the coast is rocky headlands and narrow inlets with no settlements or roads. Though it is October, Morning Glories are still in flower.

The river flows down from the mountains that contained all the silver ore that made it one of the richest mines on the planet and why the area is now a World Heritage Site. Up ahead I see the village of Yusato with the new expressway, the main San-in Rail Line, and Route 9, the main road from Kyoto all crossing the river in about the same place.

I stop in at the local village shrine, a fairly standard Hachiman Shrine with nothing notable or unusual, and just as I reach the edge of Yusato I take a narrow road up into the mountains. Only wide enough for a single small vehicle, I love these roads as there is never any traffic and its like having a  wide, paved hiking trail and there is only forest, no buildings, no other sign of humans.

After 15 minutes walk the road drops down into the tiny settlement of Kitahata which has a huge compound that i would call a manor house, that has always struck me as incongruous with its location. Obviously belonging to a wealthy and powerful family, its remote  location has always puzzled me. Though this is not the actual old Ginzan Kaido, the road that connected the Silver Mine with the nearby port of Tomogaura, it is very close to that road and so I'm sure it must be connected.

Kitahata has a small beach that is protected by thousands of tons of concrete that is reminiscent of Normandy beaches in 1944. Though it is an unpopular idea to many, one cannot help but think that Japan is at war with nature, though it is couched in the vocabulary of defense.

Climbing out of Kitahata along the narrow road that runs alongside the railway, a sign points to a trail that leads into Tomogaura. This is the old Ginzan Kaido and from it I look down on the little settlement that runs down to the World Heritage Port.

The previous post in this series documenting my walk along the Sea of Japan coast was Yuminato Harbour.


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