Ohmi Shrine and Kimigayo rocks 大御神社
Ohmi Shrine Kimigayo rocks 大御神社さざれ石
Our first stop of the day is Ohmi Shrine. This is a pleasant place in a small cove at the end of a long sandy beach. The Shrine is a modest, unadorned, wooden structure perched on an interesting rock formation. Basalt columns, I guess.
There is also a large rock called ‘Sazare-ishi’ garlanded with a ceremonial rope that, D. was surprised to discover, features in the Japanese national anthem. The rock is a large lump of conglomerate, that stands next to a natural, circular pool that was important in Jomon era dragon ceremonies.
All this and a sandy cove too! A short walk through a grove of trees, brings you to a secondary shrine ‘Udo-jinjya’ and a small torii in a shallow cave.
From a vantage point on the rocks here, we watch two JSDF hovercraft practicing landings on the long, sandy, surfer’s beach away to our right.
Cruz no umi クルスの海
After Ohmi shrine, we drive to Umagase which we fail to find. We do stop at the “Cruz no umi” which sounds like something out of Harry Potter but is something made from nothing. It is just a natural rock formation creating a vague cross in conjunction with the sea water. There is, however, a viewing point and a bell to ring, for your dreams to come true.
It is a beautiful spot all the same.
Sora no Koen – Sky Park 空の公園
From Dreams Come True, we follow the coast as much as possible to a place called Sora no Koen or Sky Park. This, again, is a created tourist attraction, but nevertheless a wonderful view. There is also, I think, a short hiking trail from this point judging from the map on the sign board.
The drive to Sora no Koen was very interesting, along narrow lanes through the forest and along cliff edges. One long section must experience very sparse traffic as the road was almost completely covered in Sugi fronds. Stretches of this road were alive with monkeys. These scattered at our approach and, as my rear-view mirror confirmed, reformed on the lane in our wake.
We stopped at Kitaura michi no eki and decided this would be a good place to stay on another occasion. The parking is near a modern toilet, it has a sea view and a restaurant. We, however, were headed for Yayoi, the michi no eki in Saiki city.
Michi-no-eki Yayoi is large and dominated by the onsen. The car park is very large but the toilet is away at one end. It does have hot water, though, and swish soap dispensers. The onsen is good, spacious and well set up. But the rotenburo, though pleasantly rocky, was a little too tepid for such a cold night.
＊Yayoi no yu ; 500 yen
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.