Sugaya Tataraba, Princess Mononoke Iron Works 菅谷たたら場
Tataraba Ichibanchi is indeed a splendid shachuhaku spot. At the far end of the car park, there are even trees to shade you from the early morning sun.
The only downside was a visit from the Shimane Police, who driving around the car park noticed I was not Japanese and demanded to see my gaijin (foreigner) card. Never, in my nearly 40 years residence, have I been asked for ID, so I wanted to know why it was necessary. “Fukuoka plates” was the response. If it were Naniwa plates would they call for back-up?
There was only one other vehicle in the large car park, a flashy camping car with, by chance, Fukuoka plates. I therefore refused to show my ID unless the occupants of the other vehicle showed theirs. Whereupon, the police asked these poor innocents for their ID. This must have surprised them, an elderly Japanese couple, and was something the police were clearly not planning to do.
I then showed my papers and the police, by this time perhaps embarrassed, did not look at them. D. had asked, in the interval, why it was her documents were not required. The police left, and I apologised to the occupants of the other car for involving them in the saga. The point being that shachuhaku is not illegal.
Non Iron Works
In the morning, we take a short trip to visit an historic iron works ‘Sugaya Tatara Sannai’. The famous Miyazaki Hayao animation, ‘Princess Mononoke‘ has iron smelting works scenes based on this place.
We had some information about this place but, the vital part about it being closed on Mondays, we seemed to have missed.
A large and powerful typhoon is due to engulf Japan tomorrow so, we feel it prudent to head home. The rest of the day is spent following some wonderful, empty roads through Shimane and down the coast. Eventually we hit the Chugoku Highway at Mine and speed home. Arriving in the last hour of daylight, we are happy to note that the place has not been completely enveloped in Jungle during our absence.
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.