Kanka-kei and Kasaneiwa 寒霞渓、重岩
Oct. 27th. 2022,
Michi no eki Osakajo Zanseki Kinenkoen
Michi no eki Osakajo Zanseki Kinenkoen (Osaka Castle Memorial Stones Commemorative Plaza) turns out to be an excellent place to stay. It is flat, quiet and with clean, modern facilities. The staff were also friendly.
It has a small museum with explanations concerning the stone quarries in this area that provided stone for the repair of Osaka Castle. The michi no eki is decorated with unused stones from the project. Known as the unlucky stones.
There is a display of local festival figures – lucky gods, dragons that sort of thing.
Left over from a previous Triennial art festival, there is also an enigmatic artwork,” Dynamite Traverse Variations.”
Leaving the michi no eki, we spend the day touring the island viewing the assorted artworks we didn’t see yesterday. Some of these I have already forgotten, some leaving a lasting impression. First, we visited the works in the island’s interior and were rewarded with some special views.
We drive up to Kanka-kei gorge which is the most popular tourist site in Shodoshima. The island’s interior is steep and rocky. Tourist normally take the ropeway to view the precipitous gorge.
We discover an art exhibit by Aoki Noe perched high on a cliff. I found this one impressive.
The most spectacular place was Kasaneiwa. This was not part of the Art Festival, but a high, perched block and a small shrine. To reach this place, you follow a very narrow road with few passing places and a couple of hairpins so tight a double bite was necessary to get round. The space for parking at the top can accommodate perhaps 6 cars.
From the parking spot there is a stiff climb up many steps which, near the summit, deteriorates into a gravelly gully with chain handrails to pull oneself up. At the top, there is an enormous boulder perched above an abyss with the ubiquitous small shrine. Wonderful views of a placid Setonaikai, shinning in the sun, with the islands and distant mountains in shades of blue.
In the afternoon more Art. First, we drive to the Nakayama area in the centre of the island. We park our car and walk down the steps cross the field, to a huge monument on the hillside. This large bamboo installation, by Wang Wen Chih is called ‘Zero’. Created from some 4000 bamboo.
On then to Tonosho Meiro-no-machi, the main commercial area of the island. Most of the exhibits here were instantly forgettable only one or two pieces catching the attention.
Then, heading on up past the Olive Park, to an onsen on the hill above. This seemed more like a super sento. It holds the community health centre, a large hall and a gym. The bath is large too but functional. It has various baths notably deep ones for rehabilitation walking.
We return to michi no eki Shodoshima Olive Park bottom car park for the night. The toilets here are not good but it is too late to drive back to the Osaka Castle Memorial stones.
＊Sun Olive onsen ; 700 yen / adult
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.