Showing posts with label dogo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dogo. Show all posts

Monday, May 11, 2020

Dangyo Shrine & Waterfalls

Deep in the forested mountains of the interior of Dogo, the largest of the Oki Islands, are Dangyo Shrine and its pair of waterfalls. Just outside the torii are a pair of huge, ancient trees. The story is that when Izumo Taisha was being rebuilt the shrine was ordered to supply any such trees for timbers for the construction. The local people moved the torii forward some meters so that the trees then fell outside the shrine grounds and so were spared the felling.

There are two waterfalls here. The smaller is considered female and the larger male. With Japan's obsession with ranking, the waters here are ranked one of the 100 Best Waters of Japan. The water from the female waterfall is considered "winners" water, and is drunk by competitors in human nad bull sumo tournaments.

a couple of small shrines are inside the overhang over which the male waterfall cascades. The male kami here is Oyamakui, an Izumo kami who is famously enshrined at Hie Taisha below Enryakuji. The female kami is Seoritsuhime, not a well known kami but said to be the kami of waterfalls, rapids etc.

Bronze mirrors and other artifacts have been excavated here suggesting that this has been a sacred site since prehistory. Well worth the effort needed to visit, as are all the Oki Islands.

Saturday, February 22, 2020

Kabura-Sugi The Turnip Tree of Dogo

Kabura Sugi

This unusual tree is called Kabura Sugi and it can be found on Dogo, the largest of the Oki Islands in the Japan Sea off the coast of Shimane. Kabura is a kind of Japanese turnip-like vegetable with a round body with numerous stems rising vertically.

Kabura Sugi

This particular tree has 6 trunks and rises to about 42 meters. It is estimated to be about 600 years old.

Kabura Sugi

I believe it a species of cypress called Urasugi that is found on the slopes of the mountains on the island. It's more famous cousin found nearby is the Boob Cedar.

Kabura Sugi

Monday, September 2, 2019

When a Tree is a Shrine. Oyama Shrine on Dogo

That a natural phenomenon or an object like a mountain, a rock, a spring, or waterfall could be sacred  or home to something sacred is not at all uniquely Japanese, but a fairly universal occurance. However such things are commonly found throughout Japan. This is Oyama Shrine in the mountains of Dogo, the largest of the Oki Islands that are part of Shimane.

There is a torii and a couple of lanterns, but no buildings. The shrine is a giant tree. It is a sugi, commonly called Japanese Cedar but it is not actually a cedar. It is estimated to be over 800 years old.

In April villagers from Fuso, a fishing village on the coast at the base of the mountains, come here with a long vine and wrap it around the base of the tree seven and a half times. I am unsure if there is a significance to that number. Ritual objects that carry prayers and requests are then inserted into the wrapped vine.

There are quite a few sacred trees on Dogo, a nearby one being the Chichi Sugi. Being remote and isolated the Oki Islands have kept a lot of traditions.

To get a sense of the size of the tree you could see the cover photo on my facebook page

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Chichi Sugi... the Boob Cedar

Chichi Sugi, which translates as Boob Cedar is an 800 year old tree on the slopes of Mount Daimanji on Dogo, the biggest of the Oki Islands.

It is an Urasugi, a species that grows on the Japan Sea coast where heavy snowfall causes the trees to produce stronger lateral branches. The rounded protuberances growing down from the branches... which is the origin of its nickname "boob", are believed to help absorb moisture from the air.

Cold air rising from the gaps between the big rocks that form the slope meet warm air from the sea and mean that the area is often misty.

It is one of several sacred trees on the island that are well worth seeking out.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Traditional Boathouses at Tsuma

Funa-Goya are traditional boathouses found all over the Oki Islands, but at Tsuma on the SW coast of Dogo is a collection that are most famous and a sightseeing spot.

Several dozen connected boathouses curve around the waterfront and are quite picturesque.

They are still in use today.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Candle Rock Sunset

While the coastline on the evening cruise was impressive, the trip was times to coincide with sunset at Candle Rock.

Rising about 20 meters high up out of the sea, the rock is so named because when the setting sun sits on top of the rock it looks like a candle.

It was a cloudy evening so I did not hold out much hope of getting a spectacular view, but as the sun got closer to the horizon there were some breaks in the clouds and lo and behold.....

There were several boats out for the show, and the captains are expert at positioning their boats to achieve the perfect shot........ doing it for the passengers on each side of the boat and also backing off and letting the other boats in......

Saturday, January 28, 2017

A Walk Around Dogo Day 2 (morning)

I woke before sunrise, the only person at the little campground in the scenic Jodogaura coast, and then headed north along the little coast road that was totally bereft of traffic.

Afetr a while the road cut inland along a valley wide enough for many rice paddies where the young seedlings were on the way to fullfilling their potential. At the coast in Nakamura I found the little village store open and took my morning repast before carrying on north.

A steady climb to the northernmost point of the island and the overlook of the Shirashima coastline. From here I headed south into the interior of the island. After a short climb I began a long descent.

The road was new, wide, relatively straight,  and little traveled. Every now and then I caught glimpses of the old road that meandered through the mountains. Quite a few k longer than the new road, it was probably a more enjoyable walk, but I had a room booked for tonight and so took the faster, easier route.

At the history museum in Kori I was surprised to find a lovely thatched farmhouse open to the public in the grounds behind the main museum building.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

A Walk Around Dogo Day 1

By the end of the first day of my walk I had reached a small campsite in a beautiful little cove. I had been wanting to walk around Dogo, the largest of the Oki Islands, for a long time and last May I finally made it. Not a long walk, only 75 kilometers, and it took just three days.

The day started with some bullfighting, or rather bull sumo, a tradition of the Oki islands and still very popular on Dogo.

Then I headed east until I hit the coast, stopping in at shrines along the way looking for Kojin, the serpents made of straw....

On the way up the east coast I stopped in at Sasaki-ke, a traditional residence of a well to do family,

Then up the coast as far as the Jodogaura coast, one of the many areas of special geologic interest around the coastline. I had the campsite to myself.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Dogo salamanders


Yet another manhole cover from the village of Tsuma on Dogo, the largest of the Oki Islands. It shows freshwater salamander, known as sanshowo in Japanese. In my area they are called hanzake, and we have the largest salamanders on the planet, but thats another post.


Dogo and the rest of the Oki Islands are rightfully famous for thie seafood and wondeful clear waters, great for swimming, scuba diving, and fishing.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Kumi, Dogo, Oki Islands


This mainhole cover from the village of Kumi on the north coast of Dogo, the largest of the Oki Islands, features fish and seals.
I must admit we didn't see any seals while we were there, in fact I don't think I've seen any seals at all in Japan.


There is a lot of spectacular cliffs and coastal scenery all over the Oki Islands, and one of the more famous formations near Kumi is Candle Rock.

The Oki Islands are a great place for a relaxing getaway. There are no cities, no factories, only fishing and farming, and a relaxed way of life.

More from the Oki Islands

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Saigo, Dogo, Oki Islands


This manhole cover is from Saigo, the largest town (pop 13,000) on Dogo, the largest of the Oki Islands lying off the coast of Shimane.

The design is fairly simple and straightforward,!

Being small islands, fishing is the mainstay of the economy for the Oki's. Also its a very popular destination for hobby fishermen; more than half of the passengers on the ferry are usually carrying cooler boxes and rod cases.


I've thoroughly enjoyed myself every time I've visited the Okis, and all the food we ate there was really tasty.

More from the Oki Islands