Showing posts with label Gotsu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gotsu. Show all posts

Monday, June 20, 2022

Recent Manhole Art


Japan is quite famous for the variety of brightly colored and diverse designs of its manhole and drain covers. I used to regularly post on the hundreds of designs I have encountered in western Japan, but those posts have never been popular with my readers. However, on my recent post-pandemic excursions I have come across some new ones......this first one depicts Ganryuji Falls, a picturesque waterfall not far from me

Just got back from a trip to Hiroshima, and noticed a new design that commemorats the Saigoku Kaido, the Edo period highway that ran through Hiroshima on its way from Kyoto to Shimonoseki, and that is almost identical to the Sanindo, the ancient imperial highway.

Yoshinogari is a huge archeological site with reconstructed buildings near Saga. Touted as the home of the legendary Himiko, "queen of japan",  in all probability it wasn't.

Also in northern Kyushu is the city of Tagawa, and one of their designs feature the cities official flower, the azalea.

However, while historical and natural features and sites are common, increasingly manhole cover design is shifting to manga, anima, and computer game-derived designs, no doubt with "sponsorship" from said companies.

These two designs are from Saga and feature Zombie Land Saga, an anime about an "idol" group of schoolgirl zombies formed to promote and regenerate Saga. The designs feature zombie schoolgirls with Saga icons, the top one being a statue of Naomasa Nabeshima, Daimyo of Saga, and the lower one featuring the famous Saga International Balloon Festival

Another series of designs in Saga features characters from the computer game Romancing SaGa. As far as I can figure there is no connection with Saga itself, rather than the name.

Yura, a coastal village in Tottori , is the hometown of the author of the Detective Conan  originally a manga character but also now anime. Tottortori airport has been renamed Conan Airport, and some trains have been repainted inside and out featuring Conan characters

However, all over Japan are appearing manhole covers featuring pokemon. There are hundreds of them, each one unique. This one is in Kaike Onsen, a seaside hot spring resort in western Tottori. I must admit I know nothing about pokemon except it is very popular. I believe these manholes are a feature of the pokemon go smartphone game
A few other posts with colorful designs can be found here....

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A Walk Along the Japan Sea Coast part 3 Shiota

I suspect the fishing harbour at Watazu was busier in days gone by. It was big enough to have an ice-making facility, though it is possible that it was used by all the small fishing boats that come out of Gotsu around the corner on the banks of the river as I don't think there is an icemaking facility there.

Leaving the harbour there is then about 900 meters of narrow beach with the almost obligatory lines of concrete tetrapods just offshore.

Ahead is a headland that offers no possibility of walking around. The sand is piled high behind the beach, naturally as far as I can tell, and this embankment offers protection for the hamlet of Shiota in the hollow behind it.

Shiota, like my hamlet, is not a place anyone passes through. You either pass  by it, or go into. it. The lanes are narrow and most of the houses are older.

Route 9 and the Sanin rail line pass by somewhat enclosing Shiota before both of these main transportation arteries punch through the headland with tunnels. In the old days the Sanin -do, the ancient highway, passed over the hills a little inland from here.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

A Walk Along the Japan Sea Coast part 2 to Watazu Port

At what I would say was the point where the Gonokawa river bank ends and the coast begins is a large rocky cliff and several smaller rocky outcroppings. As I passed the first rocky outcropping I was very surprised to see some surfers. There were three vans with license plates from Hiroshima and Yamaguchi, and I must admit I had never visited this spot before and had no idea it was a known surfing spot. The conditions were good as a series of waves continued to roll in....

Here was also a tetrapod farm. You cannot go many kilometers along the Japanee coast without coming across one of these. There are billions of tetrapods along the coast and rivers all over Japan.

From here a long concrete wall juts out into the sea and dog legs around to provide protection to the tiny fishing port. The seaward side of the wall is piled with tetrapods of course. Today is a national holiday so as well as the surfers there are also plenty of fisherpersons out fishing from the wall and the tetrapods. The wall is a little over 900 meters long.

Inside the wall is a small beach, with no waves obviously, and then begins the small port, with its own walls of concrete. There are only half a dozen small boats, and nothing is going out today with the sea swelling like it is.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

A Walk Along the Japan Sea Coast part 1 the Mouth of the Gonokawa River

For my latest walking exploration I have decided to stay somewhat local and explore the coast of the Japan Sea. How long is the coast of the Sea of Japan?..... the closer you look at it and measure it more details become apparent, so its length tends towards the infinite. Standard fractal logic, so I intend to hug the coast as closely as possible and explore the nooks and crannies.

As I live on the banks of the Gonokawa River about 15k upstream from the Japan Sea that seems like an obvious place to start my first leg heading east. The Gonokawa is the longest river in West Japan, but it is a relatively young river. It literally comes out from the mountains at the coast. There is no alluvial deposits, no delta.

The West bank is dominated by the chemical factory that process wood pulp and cellulose. The East bank does have some beach. During the Edo Period the river marked the boundary between the Hamada Domain and this side of the river which belonged to the Shogunate being the extent of the Iwami Ginzan territory.

This side of the river the settlement is called Watazu and I have been told that in the old days there was no intermarriage across the river. Tomorrow is the Gonokawa Matsuri and the huge firework display will be set up on this side so that the majority of viewers in Gotsu will see them reflected in the river.

These photos were taken in mid August, just after sunrise at around 6am.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Gonokawa Matsuri Parade


Last saturday was the Gonokawa Matsuri, the social event of the season in Gotsu. All the young females of the species were in their finest.....


The parade consisted of a long line of various civic groups and clubs and companies each in their own style of outfit performing the "dance"..... very few people actually seeme dto be enjoying it....


Kakinomoto Hitomaro, the famed 7th Century poet whose work is well represented in the Manyoshu. His wife, also a famous poet, was a local girl.....


The one group that made a lot of noise and actually seemed to be enjoying themselves were the High School Rugby team.....


And of course no parade would be complete without traditional Japanese hula dancers....

Friday, July 6, 2012

A new Gotsu manhole cover


Recently came across a new design on Gotsu City's draincover. It shares many elements with the earlier design, (seen here)  at the top is "Star Mountain" a post on which you can find here.
Below it is the new double decker bridge across the Gonokawa, and the official flower of the city, tsutsuji (azalea)


The three figures at the bottom are new.Some years ago my town, Sakurae, was incorporated into Gotsu City and the design from Sakurae's draincover  is the Enko, known more commonly as Kappa. The two human figures are Kakinomoto Hitomaro and his wife, Yosami no Otome was from what is now Gotsu and there are claims that some of Hitomaros poems are based in Gotsu.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The view from Asari Fujisan


Sailing down the coast of Shimane approaching Gotsu one can see what looks like a miniature version of Mount Fuji. The proper name of this mountain ( hill in English) is Mount Murokami, but everyone kniws it as Asari Fujisan. On top is a small temple that can only be reached by foot, so recently I went for a walk to revisit it.

On the lower slopes passed this abandoned roadside shrine to Ebisu. Its been a long time since anyone left any offerings here.


Further up are several Jizo statues on the pilgrim path to the mountaintop. According to the story on the signboard, a long time a guy a boat was heading down the coast from Izumo to Hashi and stopped in near here. On board was a young girl who an old childless couple convinced to stay with them. At some later point the girl left and started to walk back towrds Izumo and the old couple chased after her. At this spot the old woman died. The old man died on top of the mountain at the site of the temple.


Asari Fujisan is only 246 meters high, but has 360 degree views around and along the coast. The coastal villages seen here are Gotsu, Kakushi, Tsunozu, Ninomiya, and Waki.


Right below is the village of Watazu.


The Gonokawa River close to where it meets the sea.


The village of Asari with its wind generators, looking up the coast towards Izumo.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Ganryu-ji Falls


Back in December, before winter arrived, there was still some color around so I made one last trip hunting the Fall colors.......

We headed to Ganryu-ji Falls, a place I had only been to once before many years ago.


There are 4 falls in all, descending a total of 120 meters.

The falls are named after a temple that stood near the base, Ganryu-ji.


The temple is gone, though it was still here 8 years ago. The falls will also soon be gone. The valley is going to be flooded behind a new dam. The stated purpose is flood prevention, but the real reason is to get central government funds to pump into the local construction and concrete industry.


As it was there was very little color still around.

This last picture is from 8 years ago when the temple was still here....


Friday, October 15, 2010



On Wednesday night we headed to the Hachimangu shrine in Uyagawa, a village on the coast between Gotsu and Hamada. I'd never been to thye matsuri here before and so didn't know what to expect. What we found was quite a big matsuri with 3 or 4 stalls by vendors from outside the village, so it was more like a town matsuri.


The shrine did have a big kagura-den, but the village has no kagura group so the Otani group from Hamada were invited to play.


The first dance we saw was Yumi Hachiman, starring the kami of all Hachiman shrines, equated with mythical/legendary Emperor Ojin. Some groups have him dancing with an aide, but here he was alone to fight the flying buddhist demon from the sixth level of hell.


Hachiman is associated with archery, and the demon is dispatched by arrows.


In previous posts I have written about all these dances, so if you want to know more just enter the dance title in the search box or click on the tag links to find more info.


The next dance up was Yasogami, the story of Okuninushi and his "80" brothers, who are pissed off that the beautiful Princess Yakami refuses their advances and instead chooses to marry Okuninushi.


In this version the 80 brothers are represented by just one on stage, and are made to appear rather dumb and dorky through comedy and pantomime. At one point the brother spends a good minute or 2 picking his nose and then flicking it into the audience.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gonokawa Matsuri Parade


Monday was the annual Gonokawa Matsuri in Gotsu.


Dragon Boat racing, kagura, brass band, hip-hop dancing, and of course fireworks.


For the first time I was able to see the parade, so these are just photos from that.


To the accompaniment of the Gotsu-Shi Ondo, which sounds an awful lot like every other "town" folk song Ive heard, the parade consists of a variety of civic groups, clubs, companies etc performing the Gotsu folk dance, which looks an awful lot like every other town folk dance Ive seen.


One nice touch was the kagura dancers joining in the parade.