Tokoro Museum and Kirosan Observatory on Shimanami Kaido しまなみ海道

Oyamazumi Shrine

October 2018,
A very quiet night. Shimanami no eki Mishima is fine for an overnight stay. The toilet is basic and none too clean, but it is ok.

Oyamazumi Shrine  大山祇神社

Oyamazumi Shrine

Oyamazumi Shrine

We start the day with a wander around Oyamazumi shrine on Omishima island. This is next door to Shimanami no eki Mishima. The shrine is quite large with a fine Kusunoki (Camphor) tree. Some of the buildings are new, but these are in traditional style. A good example of a better than average shrine. Worth a visit.

Kusunoki, Oyamazumi Shrine

Kusunoki, Oyamazumi Shrine

Goshuin of Oyamazumi Shrine


Tokoro Museum

After a tour around Omishima island, we visit the Tokoro Museum. This is a small art museum, built as a terraced tunnel down a steep hillside, overlooking the sea. It is small but features work by eight or ten artists almost all of whom I found interesting. Well I did the first time, but was disappointed to discover the exhibits were unchanged from my first visit three years earlier. That said it is an excellent small museum and worth visiting at least once.

Tokoro Museum at Oishima

Entrance of Tokoro Museum

Tokoro Museum

One exhibit, Tokoro Museum

*Tokoro Museum ; 310 yen / adult

Murakami Suigun Museum

On to the Murakami Suigun Museum, this museum is dedicated to the Murakami Kaizoku or pirates, but they don’t like to be called that. This is a huge, extravagant building holding little and even less of real interest. Learning about the existence of such a group was interesting enough but the display of artefacts fell short.

I couldn’t help noting the similarities with this clan of island based, independent, sea warriors and the Iron Born, of “Game of Thrones” fame.

*Murakami Suigun Museum ; 310 yen / adult

Kawano Museum of Art, Imabari

It was a beautiful day yet, despite this, we spent time in another museum. The Imabari Kono Museum of Art is in a large government style building down a side street with an empty parking lot. To the side of the building, was a replica of the famous tea house where Sen no Rikyu and Tokugawa Ieyasu had their meeting.

Inside the main building, the staff seemed genuinely surprised to have visitors. Overcoming their shock, they gave us directions to the 3rd. and 4th. floors where there was a large display of calligraphy and a few paintings. Some of this I found very striking though I am not really a calligraphy fan.

Surprise the staff, go and check it out.

*Imabari Kawano Art Museum ; 310 yen / adult

Kirosan 亀老山 Observatory, superb view of Setonaikai

By chance, we followed a sign to the Kirosan Observatory. We had no idea what it was. It was well worth the effort, as it provided a magnificent panorama of sea, sky, islands, ships, forests, towns and mountains. The viewing platform is very elaborate. Perhaps that is not the right word for a structure of brutal concrete and steps but, for a place to stand and view the panorama, it is extraordinary.

It was designed by Kuma Kengo who more recently designed the stadium for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

You can also get salty ice-cream in the car park.

view from Kirosan

View from Kirosan Observatory.

From there we set off for our michi no eki, after buying food in a massive, brand new Aeon.

Komatsu Oasis michi no eki and Imabari Yunoura Onsen

Following the Navi, we get on the highway, by mistake, and arrive at the back of Komatsu Oasis Road Station and onsen. There is a car park and a toilet of the kind you find in a small neighbourhood park. So, we re-join the highway drive to the next exit and approach the michi no eki from the Route 11 side.

Now we arrive at the front of the large building but, following the michi no eki signs we are directed round to the back to the car park we had recently abandoned. Only now we are very far from the miserable toilet and separated by a barrier we cannot drive past. That half of the car park has highway access.

We set off again and drive another 30 minutes to Imabari Yunoura Onsen. This mis-named michi no eki does not have an onsen. The onsen is an entirely separate entity on the other side of the main road. The michi no eki stands right on this main road and a train line runs behind it. The toilet is adequate.

Sometimes fate is against you, it will have to do.

michinoeki Yunoura Onsen

Michi-no-eki Yunoura Onsen

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