Zenigata Sunae and Takaya Jinja, Torii in the sky 銭形砂絵、高屋神社
Oct. 30th. 2022,
In the event, Genpei no Sato Mure was no problem but has little to recommend it. On a weekday it is probably reasonable enough but it’s busy at weekends.
On leaving, we take a long drive to Kannonji to see Zenigata Sunae. From Kotohiki Park the final stretch is up a steep narrow road that is thankfully one-way traffic. At the top, is a small car park and a viewing point of a sand sculpture. This is large and can be seen clearly from the top of the hill.
Back from the strip of sand beach, in a clearing in the pine trees, is a coin sandcastle. The coin is ‘Kaneitsuho’. It was in common use in the Edo era.
I thought at first that it was modern, but it dates back to 1633. And has been maintained by the locals ever since. This realization gives it a different perspective.
From Zennigata Sunae we press on to Takaya Jinja (shrine). It is difficult to find the entrance. It is necessary to drive up narrow lane to find the shrine car park.
From the car park, there is a rough track running up through the woods. Following this upwards for some distance until, perhaps 50 metres from the shrine, it becomes steep stone steps (reputedly 270). The shrine itself is unprepossessing. The most notable feature being a vending machine selling fortunes, shrine charms, Udon stock and Goshuin. Sadly for D. the Goshuin were sold out.
The redeeming feature of this shrine is the view, through the torii, down the steps, over the woods to the sea, far far below is magnificent.
The hike to the top is about 1.5 kilometres but very steep with rough, sandy shale underfoot at some points. It is nevertheless a popular climb and we saw not a few families with small children making the effort.
Michi no eki Konoka
Down safely, we drive to michi no eki Konoka for the night. This is our first visit here. It is small in terms of parking, but it has a restaurant and an onsen. The onsen is very good, clean, modern with plenty of washing space. The outside bath is small but at least on this occasion offered a clear view of the stars. A lot of modern wood, all in all, very pleasant.
Back at the car, we put up the shades for the night. Both the onsen and the restaurant close at 8pm, so silence reigns.
＊Konoka onsen ; 700 yen / adult
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.