Showing posts with label tetrapods. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tetrapods. Show all posts

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.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Takuno to Nima

Takuno to Nima

Takuno is a small fishing port that I visited late on the third day of my walk along the Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage, my local Kannon pilgrimage here in the western half of Shimane. I had stopped in at Hateiji temple, number 5 on the pilgrimage, and also the Hachman Shrine next door to it. Before leaving I went to the small harbour to check out once again the intriguing shrine on the small offshore islets connected to the myth of Susano.

Takunoi had been a Kitamaebune port, a safe haven for trade ships to stop, and so was a little wealthier due to the business of lodging sailors and also with the establishment of some merchants, and this shows in the remaining examples of old buildings, many of which are empty and abandoned, like much of rural Jaoan.

On my way out of town I saw a small grove of trees and was surprised to find a largem gnarly tree with two trunks that had been marked as sacred by the addition of shimenawa. There was no signboard and nobody around to ask so the story of the place remains a mystery to me.

After a few hundred meters and passing a couple of small rock coves I arrive at the beach at Nima.

Here I discovered one of the numerous breeding grounds of the infamous Japanese tetrapod. Tetrapods must outnumber the people in Jaan many times over. Ubiquitous is truly the only word. Why it is that these strange creatures grow here so much more than in the rest of the world must be related to Japan's unique love of nature.

This unusual and whimsical sign warns to be on the lookout for the smuggling of nefarious people as well as contraband, and also to generally watch out for marine safety.

Small fish drying is not anynusual sight in the many small coastal communities. These are a San-in specialty, Nigisu, Deep Sea Smelt. I suspect these will find their way to some incredibly over-priced omiyage outlet.

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.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage Day 3

Iwami Kannon

Sunday 16th December 2012, and I begin my third day walking the Iwami Kannon Pilgrimage with Mount Sanbe silhouetted  inland. Today I will walk from Shizuma down the coast and end at Nima.

There was one of the pilgrimage temples and lots of shrines.  A few mountain roads and a few villages and a nice stretch of beach to walk.

A great day for surfing, I guess,.... we get good surf mostly in the winter it seems.

A couple of the shrines are very intriguing and tell the story of the arrival of Susano from the Korean peninsula. Almost completely ignored in most renditions of the myths and early history of Japan, the two shrines were instrumental in sending me on the search for Susano stories...

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Concrete Wabi Sabi: Virgin tetrapods

Concrete Wabi Sabi: Virgin tetrapods

Concrete Wabi Sabi: Virgin tetrapods.
I like this photo because without any scale reference, one could be looking at something architectural, a stadium maybe.

But in fact, it's just a line of new tetrapods waiting to go in place to "protect" the riverbank. New concrete can have an aesthetic quality, in my opinion.

There are tetrapod production sites all over the place. Mostly they are made in situ, you just need the molds and a constant stream of cement trucks. I haven't been able to find the numbers, but I'm willing to bet that Japan leads the world in the number of cement trucks per capita.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Concrete Wabi sabi: Tetrapods part 2

Cinco de Mayo 87

A further look at Japan's favorite construction material... concrete!

Cinco de Mayo 89

I heard an interesting statistic yesterday from an architect who described concrete as a very environmentally unfriendly building material. He said that 10% of all the carbon dioxide emissions on the planet come from the production of cement.

An evening on Tsunoshima 671

There are some wonderful sections of coastline in Japan, viewable by boat, but too much of it is concreted over. Often I am reminded of the coastal defences built along the English and French coasts during WWII.


The entrance to any harbor is often now a maze of concrete breakers.

10 0f 16

The rivers too are lined with concrete making them more like drains than living rivers. There is an environmental biologist working around Lake Biwa who is responsible for concrete being taken out from the lakeside as it destroys the ecosystem.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Concrete Wabi sabi: Tetrapods


Continuing with a further look at Japan's favorite building material, concrete.


In Japan tetrapod is the generic name for a variety of concretes shapes used in "coastal defence" and riverside erosion control. There are dozens of variations in size and shape other than the true tetrapod which has 4 legs.


There is a lot of evidence to suggest that they often cause more problems than they solve, not least of which the uglification of the coast. More than 50% of the Japanese coast has been concreted. Less than 2% of Osaka Bay is natural.


Of course, some might say that the main function of tetrapods is to provide profits for concrete and construction companies.


In Junior High Schools in Japan kids are taught that "We Japanese love nature, but the West (by which is meant the USA) try to control nature"