Showing posts with label Iwami. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Iwami. Show all posts

Thursday, July 11, 2024

Isotake Port


Just a short walk past one small inlet after Takuno and I came into Isotake Port.

Named after Isotakeru, one of the sons of Susano, the small shrine at the harbour, Karakamishirahige Shrine is where I first read about the myth of Susano coming here.

The shrine's name roughly translates as " foreign gods from Sila" and enshrines Susano and a couple of his daughters. Some versions say that Isotakeru came with them from Sila, some say he was born here.

The shrine records say that Susano and others would travel back and forth to the Korean Peninsula, a story confirmed by other legends further down the coast at several coastal towns in  Yamaguchi. The myth of Susano's arrival in these parts is also recognized at the previous port of Takuno.

It is a decent-sized harbour with quite a few inshore fishing boats.

A friend and I stopped in here in a small yacht many years ago, and the local fishermen were intrigued by our boat.

If you look back through all the posts in this series documenting my explorations of the Sea of Japan coast, you may notice there are only fishing boats, no pleasure boats of any kind. Yachts and pleasure boats exist in Japan of course, but not in this neck of the woods.

Like traditional towns, these little fishing settlements have lots of very narrow alleys between the houses.

The previous post was on Takuno Port.

Tuesday, April 25, 2023

Yuminato Harbour


Yuminato is a small harbor and fishing village at the mouth of the Yusato River.

Now part of Yusato village, the main village is a little way upstream.

The river starts in the mountains visible in the photo above where Iwami Ginzan and the old silver mines are located.

Though there was a harbour with massive concrete walls, most of the boats were drawn up on the beach.

In fact, with the exception of one small boat with a tiny superstructure and cabin, all the boats were very small "open" types.

Yuminato translates as "hot water harbour". It is part of Yusato which translates as "hot water village", which is part of Yunotsu, which translates as "hot water port'.

On this visit, I was on the third leg of my deep exploration of the Sea of Japan coast. The previous post was the Hiso Natural Arch. 

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Kushijima Near Yunotsu



Kushijima is a small uninhabited islet at the mouth of the entrance to the World Heritage Site ports of Yunotsu and Okidomari.


It can be reached on foot at low tide and a small bridge over a deep and narrow channel in the rocks makes this safe and easy.


During the time that the Mori clan controlled the silver mine and the surrounding area they had a small castle on the island to protect the harbours.


Nothing now remains, but it must have been at least a little substantial as it withstood an attack by Amago forces in the Warring States period of the mid 16th century.


There is a small beach and campsite here now and its quite a dramatic bit of coastline.

I am guessing that these man-made excavations in the rock are a fairly modern attempt to make pools for pleasure bathing, but I may be wrong.

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Monday, April 11, 2022

To The Source

Gonokawa River to the source

Due to the travel restrictions caused by the pandemic of recent years I decided to start another walking project locally. My intention is to walk from the mouth of the Gonokawa River to the source, and then back along the opposite bank. The Gonokawa, the longest river in Western Honshu, is 194 kilometers long, yet its source on Mount Oasa is a mere 40 kilometers as the crow flies. It meanders along a great curve passing through Miyoshi, the only inland city in Hiroshima.

The first bridge, carrying Route 9 across the river in Gotsu, was not built until 1950. Earlier they ahd tried a pontoon bridge but it didnt last long. Before that the only way across was ferry. Route 9 is the national highway that starts in Kyoto and roughly follows the old Sanin-do, the ancient imperial highway. The bridge is 488 meters, making it the longest bridge across the Gonokawa.

Sanin Line Railway Bridge

Slightly upstream is the  Sanin Line Railway Bridge. This was opened in 1918 and built of American steel. It is the longest iron bridge on the San-in Line, and the oldest existing bridge on the river.

Heading upriver I will be following the route of the old Sanko Line which follows the river from Gotsu to Miyoshi. This was my local line and was a truly beautiful rail journey but was closed down a few years back.

The third bridge that crosses the river in Gotsu is the New Gonokawa Bridge, a monster double-decker. The lower deck carries a local rad that is very rarely used. The upper deck carries the Gotsu-By-Pass that hooks up with the San0In Expressway, only parts of which have been completed. It is always very busy.

Along my walk I plan to revisit many of the sights that are to be seen, as well as see how things have changed in the last twenty years. The right bank I will be walking is the least inhabited side of the river with mostly very small roads. and I suspect I will find many crumbling, abandoned houses,... and first up is Hoinmachi, the original Gotsu town protected from the sea by hills.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Finding Koyo at Chokoji Temple


After visiting Kannabiji, we decided to head away from the river up into the mountains to check out Chokoji Temple. Famous for its large ginkgo tree, every time we have visited previously we were either too early or too late, so maybe this year we will be lucky.

And we were. Chokoji is a small temple in quite a remote location. Now there is a small hot spring next door. It was a family temple of a branch of the Ogasawara Clan who ruled the small domain here in the Muromachi period. I believe they were also connected to Kannabiji.

During the Edo Period, the area was controlled directly by the government in Edo as it was part of the Iwami Ginzan solver mine and the government appropriated all mines in Japan.

Koyo is the Japanese word that refers to the changing colors of the Autumn leaves, though I believe it originally referred specifically to the Japanese maple with its red leaves, it now applies to the fyll range of colors including of course the golden yellow of the ginkgo .

There was a little splash of mape at Chokoji....

As we were only about 30 minutes from Iwami Ginzan we decided to head there next.....

Friday, December 10, 2021

Kannabiji Temple's Gingko

Kannabiji Temple's Gingko

Kannabiji Temple's Gingko.

It's that time of the year when I post some pics of this year's autumn colors. About three weeks ago Yoko had a day off that coincided with a beautiful sunny day so we headed off on a local trip to see if we could find some color. The first stop was Kannabiji Temple, a few kilometers upstream on the Gonokawa River.

The first stop was Kannabiji Temple, a few kilometers upstream on the Gonokawa River.

Kannabiji moved to its present site at the end of the 19th century. Formerly it was a large monastic complex on the mountainside that dated back to the Heian period.  About twenty years ago a friend took us on a bushwacking hike up to the old site where the foundation stones of the main hall still remained in a small clearing in the forest.

Kannabiji moved to its present site at the end of the 19th century.

At the end of the 16th century, many of the buildings burnt down. I suspect this was part of the Warring States conflicts but have not had that confirmed. The temple continued on its mountain site until the late 19th century. In 1872 a big earthquake closed the spring that supplied the temple with water, and in combination with having much of its land confiscated by the new Meiji government, it was decided to relocate the temple at the foot of the mountain.

At the end of the 16th century, many of the buildings burnt down.

All that remains now is the main hall, a large residence for the priest, a gate, and a large storehouse. I went inside the main hall many years ago and was surprised by a mural on the ceiling and the brightly-painted woodwork. I really want to go back and take a lot of photos. I've also been inside the old priest's house though he now lives in a newer house in front of the temple.

Gingko leaves.

The gate contains a fine pair of Nio guardians and is overshadowed by a large Gingko tree. We were a little early. In a few weeks, the whole temple will be carpeted in golden leaves. The storehouse holds the temple treasures, foremost of which is some samurai armour. Apparently, it is the third-oldest samurai armour still existing, and suggest how important the temple once was.

Main Hall of the temple.

Koinobori & Children's Day in Japan

Sunday, April 28, 2019

Drowned Buddhas

Tadaji, an old temple in the hills outside Hamada has a rather strange collection of wooden statues in their main hall.

They were fished out of the sea on the coast down below the temple, and had obviously spent some time in the water. More than likely they had been thrown into the sea, or a river, during the Haibutsu Kishaku, the "destroy Buddhism" campaign in the late 19th Century.

The campaign was officially rescinded, and many areas did not really go along with it, but some places went for it with a vengeance. The Oki Islands, for instance, destroyed every single Buddhist temple.

Experts say some of these statues probably date from the Kamakura Period and so are quite old. The current along the coast comes from the west so these statues were put in the water further west, down in Yamaguchi or somewhere near there......

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Tauebayashi 2016


It was great weather last weekend so I took advantage and went and visited the local Tauebayashi, rice planting festival. It had been a few years since last visiting, but I have always enjoyed it.

Things kicked off with the parade of musicians arriving, mostly drummers with 2 main kinds of drums, but also flute players and singers. Next up were the gaily decorated cows used traditionally to prepare the paddies. This was a new addition. Last time I came there was just a single "cow" which was a man dressed in a cow costume. As the cows were doing their stuff one of them took a huge dump, to cheers from the crowd.

Then there was a ritual offering to the Kami of the paddy and young rice plants, then to the accompaniment of the musicians the planting began......

The group of maidens was  larger this time too, partly due to the addition of the local High School Girls Rugby team. The musicians were also standing in the mud as well.

With so many maidens, the planting was accomplished much faster this year. There was the usual bevy of photographers who attend these kinds of events, but there were no tourists in the crowds. and a distinct lack of commercialism. A good time was had by all

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