Izumo-Hinomisaki Lighthouse 出雲日御碕灯台
The morning is bright and clear as we wander the beach at michi no eki Kirara Taki before taking the coast road up towards Izumo Taisha. Having visited this major shrine before we have no intention of going there again. We do make a second visit to Izumo Hino Misaki lighthouse on Cape Izumo-Hinomisaki.
This place has been upgraded since we were last here. There are flashy new toilets in the car park. Already appropriated by enterprising swallows. The red rumped variety.
There are helpful signposts and a new concrete footpath around the cape, past the lighthouse and down to the Hinomisaki shrine. The cape and lighthouse we recall as bleak and very windy. It is still windy but not bleak at all having been renovated and now bathed in warm sunshine. The lighthouse is apparently the tallest stone-built lighthouse in Japan and dates from 1907.
Following the paths and signs we take the route to the shrine. This passes the bird viewing platform. Umineko or Black Tailed Gulls arrive in Fumishima in November in vast numbers, breed on the rocky islet just outside the small fishing port in early spring and depart north in June or July.
There are stores selling tourist things – lots of shells, definitely not collected locally. One store has a couple of whale jawbones and the snout of a saw shark.
Hinomisaki Shrine 日御碕神社
The shrine was under repair when we were here last and mostly covered in scaffolding and sheeting. This time its newly thatched building and red painted corridors are on display. It is an impressive place with large pine trees, but D. is disappointed with the quality of the Goshuin.
It is said Izumo Taisha protects Japan in the daytime and Hinomisaki takes over that duty at night. We had no way of verifying this assertion. On the way back, we pass Izumo Taisha which is flying the largest Hinomaru flag I have ever seen.
Mt. Sanbe 三瓶山
We are on our way to Mt. Sanbe. The road, Route 184, is very pretty with the new spring growth on the mountainsides especially when we drive through Tachikue gorge（立久恵峡）.
At Mt. Sanbe, we find the large, open, grassy area with a large car park with a very clean modern toilet, that is “Nishinohara”. An elderly, shachuhaku gentleman taking advantage of this, his car parked up, his washing on the line as he sat in the sunshine in his underwear.
Nishinohara offers short walking courses as well as an entrance to the mountain proper. In the wide, open space, one gentleman is packing away a kite with a very long tail. Sadly we missed seeing it in the air. A young lady, also taking advantage of the space, is practicing the saxophone in the car park. Her cheerful melodies accompany us as we take the opportunity to stretch our legs for a few kilometres before setting off for Yunotsu onsen.
Yunotsu Onsen 温泉津温泉
Yunotsu onsen has a history of about 1300 years. There are two onsen with outside baths next of the source of the hot spring. Yakushi no yu is the one we visit. The water here, apparently, has very strong medicinal effect. Yakushi no yu not so much a traditional onsen in the usual sense as just one unchanged since early Taisho.
It is located in the small fishing village of Yunotsu. Yakushi no yu appears to have only one parking space 100 metres or so away, which we, very luckily, noticed by chance. The streets are very narrow as the place is squeezed between the cliffs and the sea. Most visitors to the onsen stay in one of the surrounding ryokan, I suppose.
The outside is a bay fronted concrete affair with separate entrances for men and women. The bath is an oval perhaps 2 metres by 3, surprisingly deep and hot. The room is not large but has a high ceiling. Pale brown tiles coat the walls halfway up and then give way to lime green paint. The floor appears to be solid rock. The large window gives a view of a rock face about a metre distant covered in moss, vines and a few intrepid angelica. There are 5 washing stations, two have shower attachments. No soap or shampoo is provided but unlike some really traditional onsen washing is expected. Just bring your own soap. Recommended.
For the night, we drive on to michi no eki Goutsu. This is just off Route 9, has a large car park and is popular with trucks. The toilets are small and less modern than one would expect from the outside. Rubbish bins are provided inside the information centre.
＊Yakushi no yu ; 500 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.