We set off for Toi-misaki(Cape Toi), which has good views, a lighthouse and wild horses(Misaki-uma). We visited this place on a motorcycle trip 30 plus years ago and had fond memories of it. Especially the minshuku, or B&B. This place, despite our initial reservations, (it looked like a very tacky café) provided superb sea views, opera on the radio and excellent food.
We were surprised to find you now have to pay 400 yen to enter the cape and a further 200 yen to view the lighthouse. The cape does offer a spacious area of short, horse nibbled grass and wonderful seascapes on all sides. Then there are the horses themselves wandering about.
The buildings, which for the most part, are abandoned, semi-derelict, concrete structures, are a blot on the landscape. This includes our memory lane minshuku.
Udo Shrine (Udo-JIngu)
From Cape Toi we follow R220 towards Miyazaki city but make a stop at Udo shrine. The main attraction here is the shrine building crouched in a shallow cave in the cliffside and the interesting rock formations rising out of the sea.
The other buildings are modern and there are numerous new, stone lanterns everywhere. Most of the shrine was destroyed by a landslide following a typhoon about 20 years ago.
The shrine in the cave is a pleasing deeper red than is common in shrines generally and it is certainly one of the more interesting to visit when you are approaching peak shrine viewing tolerance.
It provides you with a chance to throw coins down the cliff into a natural pool in the smooth rock below. Someone gets lucky.
The next stop is Aoshima, here you can see the interesting geological formation known as the Giants Washboard. This feature was formed when sedimentary rocks of alternate hard and soft layers were tilted at an angle and subsequently eroded by the sea in an even uneven pattern.
The Aoshima shrine is found amid the greenery that, I assume, gives the island its name. It is of little interest but is worth a visit as it gives one the impression of being in a tropical country. We feel we are in Sri Lanka or Borneo such is the density of the tropical foliage.
The commercial aspect of the shrine seems to overwhelm the spiritual and there are a number of opportunities to spend money on fortunes and so on.
The tropical aura of the place is enhanced by the numerous swallows skimming about though this is mid-December. Apparently, they winter in Miyazaki.
After Aoshima, we begin a longish drive following R10. And, by the time we have picked up supplies in Miyazaki city, it is quite dark when we arrive at Tsuno michi-no-eki. This michi-no-eki is large with separate truck parking. The toilets are clean and modern and provide hand soap. It is cold and the temperature may fall very low.
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.