Considering a trip to Kunisaki Hanto (peninsula) and checking places to visit, we discover that today, forecast to be bright and sunny coupled with a low tide, is an optimum time to check Matama Beach. This beach in Kunisaki is famous for its spectacular sunsets.
So, at short notice we load the van and set off, heading first for Kita-Kyushu and then taking the Higashi Kyushu highway towards Oita. This is mainly a one lane highway which makes for boring driving, but the traffic is light even on a fine Saturday.
We exit the Higashi-Kyushu highway at Koge Parking Area and follow local roads to Matama Beach arriving just before sunset. The sun is low, huge and still very bright. We are not the only people who realize that today offers a good chance of a spectacle. Numerous cars are parked up and people are milling about between the serious photographers who have their tripods set up. The optimum time for a sunset is, apparently, a low, neap tide, in good weather. Of course, you can view a great sunset from this beach at other times too.
There is a brisk wind and a couple of kite surfers are skimming up and down the shallow water. Younger people in groups are down on the sand. It is, clearly, a date spot.
As the sun sinks down behind the distant, blue headland everyone snaps pictures of the lagoons stripping the sand as they reflect the last rays. Once the sun has disappeared there is a fine orange afterglow but there are no clouds to reflect the light and create interesting shapes. Nevertheless, it is a wonderful show, and we were glad we made the effort.
Kunimi michi-no-eki and campsite
As we leave, it is almost dark and very chilly. We head to Kunimi michi-n-eki. Kunimi has a campsite and despite the cold there are 3 or 4 tents under the bright stars. We are the only shachuhaku vehicle in the parking area. The toilet is basic but sports a washlet and heated seat. There are also vases of flowers, always a plus.
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.