April 10th. 2023
Very good quiet night at Rosemary Park. In the morning we walk around the other section of the michi no eki. This is the, now abandoned, Shakespeare Park. This consists of a few replica Elizabethan buildings and a small formal garden in a state of some decay.
Nomizo waterfall and Kameiwa cave
From the michi no eki we drive to Nomizo waterfall and cave. From the parking area there is a short walk and then some steps down to a stream that less than cascades through a natural arch. This forms a pleasing and photogenic scene. Apparently, in the early morning at the equinox you can see the heart shape of the cave.
From this point, there is a wooden walkway through swampy ground following a smaller stream. This place is clearly popular for viewing fireflies in June and maple leaves in Autumn.
Our next stop is Kujukuri. This is a 66-kilometre beach of dark, grey sand which is the longest sand beach in Japan, very popular with surfers. It is indeed and impressive expanse of beach stretching away into the distance. There is free parking and toilets so overnight stays are possible here.
We took the Kujukuri toll road from Ichinomiya expecting good ocean views. However, good views from the toll road are limited. Probably, there are views from the parking areas and from Kujukuri beach tower.
＊Kujukuri Toll Road ; 420 yen
Naritasan Shinsho-ji temple
Next comes a rather tedious drive to Narita and Shinsho-ji temple. This is a very large temple with a long history (founded 940). There are temple buildings of many styles and eras from the ancient to modern, an impressive pagoda and plenty of room to wander about.
This temple is very famous for bean-throwing on Feb. 3rd ‘Setsubun day’. One of the most famous Kabuki families ‘ Ichikawa Danjuro‘ has been associated with this temple from 17th century, so the family is also known as ‘Narita-ya’. Danjuro regularly attends the bean throwing ceremony.
We stop for the night at Hakko no Sato Kouzaki. Here there is a large car park, numerous trucks in their own area and a 24-hour Family Mart. It also has well-appointed toilets and plenty of rubbish bins.
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.