Showing posts with label yunotsu. Show all posts
Showing posts with label yunotsu. Show all posts

Sunday, February 26, 2023

Hiso Natural Arch

Hiso Natural Arch

Hiso Domon translates literally as the "cave gate of Hiso", but in English we would call it a natural arch.

It was the kind of sight I was hoping to discover on my walk of exploration along the coastline of the Japan Sea, and this was my third day.

The tiny settlement of Hiso is now considered part of Yunotsu and is the first settlement reached after taking the narrow coast road out of the back of Yunotu and Okidomari, the World Heritage silver mine port.

The road to Hiso passes a small Omoto Shrine that has no buildings at all....

And a small, roadside, Buddhist altar......

Hiso itself is very small, although a largish house has been renovated and modernized and is available as an upmarket guesthouse.

There is a small beach and a very small harbour protected by small stone barrier walls with a handful of small boats pulled up onto the beach. Surprisingly there are  no concrete structures in the harbour

The previous post in the series is Kushijima.

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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Thursday, September 15, 2022

Yunotsu Harbour

Yunotsu Japan Travel

Early morning on Oct 15th 2019 and I start the third day of my walk along the Japan Sea Coast exploring as many of the nooks and crannies as I can.

Yunotsu is one of the sites included in the Iwami Ginzan World Heritage Site, and the old street of traditional hot spring guest houses and public baths is also a preservation district, but today I bypass that part of town and stick to the waters edge.

The port is now mostly a fishing port although there is a section where tetrapods are produced.

During the Edo and early Meiji periods it was a harbour used by the Kitamaebune ships on the major trade route that connected Osaka with Hokkaido.

Carved into the cliff is a small Buddhist shrine......

There are several side-inlets to the harbour filled with smaller fishing boats. Twenty years ago when we first came to the area one inlet had the remains of a large, modern boatbuilding factory, but it has long since gone.....

From one inlet a small tunnel leads through to Okidomari another site of World Heritage and one of the original Mori-controlled ports that served the silver mines..... I have already done a post....

Tuesday, June 7, 2022

From Kamano Beach into Yunotsu


To get from Kamano Beach in Fukumitsu to Yunotsu there is no coast road and so I have to head over a small group of hills. It's only about 2k and doesnt rise very much. No cars pass me. I delight in these little roads that are really more like 3 meter wide asphalt hiking paths with vehicles passing a few times a day.

The road comes into the narrow inlet that Yunotsu lies at the head of through a side-inlet lined with small fishing boats.

Across on the other side of the channel is the official fishing port with ice machine and offices. Behind it is the narrow valley that is home to the historical hot spring resort that Yunotsu is named after and now a World Heritage site connected to the Iwami Ginzan silver mines.

At the actual head of the inlet where the small river enters is the newer part of town where I can catch the train home at the end of this my second day exploring the nooks and crannies of the Japan Sea coast.

On the north side beyond the hots spring town is the old port of Okidomari, one of the two original ports that served the silver mines and that are also part of the World Heritage sites.....

On the way to the station I stop in at Anrakuji, a small temple with a rather nice dragon sculpted in plaster in the eaves. This kind of decoration is called kote-e, " trowel picture" and I have posted more examples.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Okidomari World Heritage Site

Okidomari, near Yunotsu, is one of the sites included in the UNESCO World Heritage site connected to the Iwami Ginzan silver mine. It is one of two harbors that serviced the mines at the end of the 16th Century when the Mori Clan had control.

When the Tokugawa central government took over control of the mines in the early 17th Century they shipped most of the silver overland to Onomichi on the Inland Sea coast but Okiomari was still used a little.

The small settlement at the port is still in existence though many of the houses are now empty. At the head of the little valley is a grove of bamboo through which a path still passes.

This is the start of the Ginzan Kaido, the "road" that leads inland to the mines. It is about 12k long and is also one of the World Heritage sites. It is a very pleasant walk and I recommend it anyone who wants to get off the beaten track.

At the mouth of the harbor is a small island that once was topped with  fortifications guarding the harbor entrance. The Mori used the harbor as a kind of naval base long before the mines were discovered, and it is said it was earlier the hideout of pirates, though the distinction between pirates and navy at that time was flexible.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Sword Dance Extraordinaire

I am a huge fan of kagura, and have seen hundreds and hundreds of dances over the years, most, but not all, Iwami kagura from my local area. While it is still fascinating seeing the variations of dances that different groups perform, it is nowadays rare to see a dance that I had not see before.

So it was with great anticipation I saw something at a performance by a kagura group from down near Masuda. There are basically two types of dance, masked-theatrical which was in earlier times performed by the villagers as entertainment in between the shinji, ceremonial dances, usually performed by the priests. There is a lot of crossover between the two, one being the use of torimono, objects carried by the dancers. Swords are often used as torimono.

I had never seen this kind before, 2 groups of 6 blades, crossed over and held together with material so they could be held. These are real blades, maybe not razor sharp, but still dangerous. At first the solitary dancer performed with these blades in his hand. later a shorter, double pointed blade was held between his teeth while he danced.

The finale to the dance was completely unexpected as the dancer started doing somersaults on the floor while holding all the blades. The roots of the dance is obviously with the shamanic, trance dances that are ultimately the origin of modern Iwami Kagura.