Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Kyushu Pilgrimage Day 65 Nagaura to Haiki


Friday March 7th 2014
It's set to become yet another great day as I wake before the sun and go out and sit on the sea wall to watch the sunrise.

Once the show is past its peak I head off north up the coast. Yesterday was a pretty easy day, but today I have further to cover.

For the first few hours there are fine views over the bay and numerous inlets and small islands. There are shrines to visit and the traffic is not too bad.

At Katagami the road heads inland over a large headland protruding into the bay. Coming down the other side towards the water again there is a huge vermillion torii towering over the rooftops and as I approach it I realize I actually have driven through here many years ago. It leads to Ryugusumiyoshihongu, and it may look like a Shinto shrine but actually, it is the headquarters of a “New Religion”. Seicho No Ie claims to have a million and a half members worldwide and was founded in 1930. Though now they use torii and their main shrine building looks traditional Shinto, albeit made out of concrete, when founded prewar it would not have been allowed as the state monopolized those symbols. There are a few ponds with bridges and nice landscaping including cheery trees around the main building, but I forgo a second visit as I am pressed for time.

 A little further along the road I see another structure looming over the rooftops, this time a Dutch Windmill!! As I get closer I can see Dutch-style buildings on the waterfront below the windmill. This is Nagasaki Holland Village and is a miniature version of the much larger Huis ten Bosch theme park. This one was built first, and the same company then built Huis ten Bosch. The latter facility took away all the trade and visitors from this one and so it closed down in 2001. I believe it was bought by the local government and they are attempting to reopen it. I decide not to go in so I have no idea what kind of exorbitant entry fee they are charging.

The road curves around one of the many inlets in the bay and again I am struck by how scenic and pretty this area is with all the small islands offering an ever-changing view. A little further and the main road, and thankfully most of the traffic, heads a little inland and I stay on the smaller road that hugs the coastline. After a while the road starts to rise and I pass under the expressway that has started.

From the higher ground, the views are more expansive but no less pretty. Soon I reach the bridge that crosses over the narrow Hario Strait. On a map, Omura Bay looks like a lake, but two narrow inlets connect it to the sea. The other inlet over by Huis Ten Bosch is so long and narrow that it looks like a river.

This strait is also very narrow and looking down from halfway across the bridge I can see how fast the water is as it funnels through. There is a park with viewpoints on the other side and I stop for a while and check the tourist maps and signboards for any interesting things to see in the area.  From here the road stays above the coast and gradually starts to become more built up. Across the way I can see the high rise hotels around the Huis Ten Bosch resort.

I descend to what I think is a river but is actually the Haiki Strait and now it is completely urban. At Haiki I take a train north into Sasebo where I have a great deal on a room for three nights. Tomorrow I will come back to Haiki and head into the hills but in the golden glow of the setting sun I have time to explore the recently redeveloped port area of Sasebo.


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