A Walk Around Kyushu
Miyazaki to Udo Jingu
Thursday March 28th, 2013
I take the first train out of Miyazaki south to where I finished walking yesterday. There is a bit of a breeze that seems to be blowing away yesterdays overcast sky.
Today there are no pilgrimage temples on the schedule, rather two famous shrines, both connected to ancient myths. By the time I reach Aoshima the sun is up and I am rewarded with some fine coastal scenery.
The shrine is on the small island of Aoshima, reachable by a short bridge that crosses to to a spit of land that almost makes the island a peninsula. There are a few people around, mostly Korean tourists.
The shrine is fascinating as it is set in what I would call jungle. It may technically only be sub-tropical, but to my eyes it's jungle. After wandering around the shrine a small museum connected to it that displays the myths around the shrine opens so I pay a visit before heading back to the mainland and continuing on south down the Nichinan Coast.
A few kilometers south of Aoshima I stop in at a small shrine and am delighted to find a photocopied information sheet about the kagura that is held here at the end of November. Being a mask-maker myself I am always on the look out for different styles, and the ones here are certainly different than others I've seen. I make a note of the date and plan to come back here one November.
The coast road continues south, often lined with very tall palm trees, and I am able to keep up a brisk stride as I will be going back to Miyazaki tonight so don't need to be carrying my heavy pack.
In the afternoon I pass the entrance to one of the major tourist attractions of the area, Sun Messe, whose main feature are 7 life-size reproductions of Easter Island statues.
Sun Messe is on top of the hill and I can't be bothered to make the climb up to see something so obviously fake. Udo Jingu, my destination for the day is on a promontory overlooking the Pacific, but to get to it I have to walk through the traffic tunnel that cuts through the promontory and then cut back.
Udo Jingu shrine itself is quite impressive, situated as it is inside a large cave overlooking the sea crashing onto rocks below. A good proportion of the visitors here seem to be Chinese.
Kyushu has done a good job at attracting tourists from mainland Asia. Most signs at tourist sites are in Korean, Chinese, and English as well as Japanese.
Exploring around the shrine grounds I find a little-used trail that points to another shrine. Getting to it involves a bit of a scramble, but it's worth it. It too is located inside a cave, but with no shops or staff or other visitors, the atmosphere is more reverential. Way off in the distance I can make out the Easter Island Statues on the hilltop. And that's it for today, so I head to the bus stop to wait for the bus back to Miyazaki.
A Walk Around Kyushu Day 22
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