Hotokegaura, white ant hill 仏ヶ浦
Day 38, October 2016,
Oma, Aomori 大間
After arriving in Ooma Shimokita peninsula in Aomori by ferry from Hakodate, drive through narrow streets out to the point where everything is Maguro(tuna). We park and wander around the usual shops selling junk and fishy things. A tentacle stall catches my eye, before we find the point itself. Here people are taking pictures and the couple from Osaka are there entering into the spirit of the thing more than D. and I are able. They give D. a name card and we learn they run an izakaya in Sakai city in Osaka.
To find a supermarket, to get some lunch, we wind through the narrow streets again and, provisioned, finally set off for Hotokegaura. The road curves along the coast until we arrive at a very unspectacular viewing point. The purpose built viewing platform provides an excellent view of the tree tops immediately in front of you and, by peering this way and that, a glimpse of a distant rugged bay with white rocks. After lunch, we move a kilometer or so down the coast to a car park for Hotokegaura itself.
The path down to the beach is very steep with many, many steps and the obligatory bear caution. On the way down we see a Nuthatch, going about its business, very close to us. At the beach, it becomes clear why this place has a reputation as a sight worth seeing. The rock formations are strange indeed. Giant, white anthills weathered into fantastical shapes, some with holes right through them, surround you, towering over your head, rising from a beach of flat, smoothly rounded rocks with shallow pools you can step in and get your feet wet. The sea was very clear, myriad fish and jellyfish visible in the turquoise blue.
The tide being out, we are able to wander around and among the rocks which are very difficult to photograph in any way that really does the site/sight justice. I note a couple, the man, a little older, and a girl, with fat legs, in a very short skirt, who talks loudly in a high pitched voice, like a child. I sympathize with their beagle.
Yagen onsen 薬研温泉
From Hotokegaura, we are unsure as to whether to press on around the peninsular or to return the way we came. The distance is not so different but the road ahead is not exactly highway. On the other hand, the route we have driven had the same reputation but was not really a problem, so we decide to press on. In the event it is too late in the day to visit Osorezan so we head for a campsite in Yagan Onsen. This proves to be a good choice as we leave the coast and head into the mountains. Yagan is in a very pretty gorge where the leaves show signs of colour if not yet full bodied koyo(autumn leaves) .
The campsite is very good, a flat, grassy area in deep forest with an onsen nearby, though we don’t take advantage of it and at 320 yen good value. There are only a few other people staying even though it is Saturday night. We dine on nabe in the moonlight, well lantern-light to be honest, but the moon does arrive a little belatedly. The other campers have fires which we increasingly envy the more chilly and damp it gets but it is still not as cold as Hokkaido.
＊Yagen camp field 570yen/per.
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.