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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Nokonoshima Island

Nokonoshima (能古島) is a small island in the Sea of Japan, accessed by ferry from Meinohama, Fukuoka. A quick 10-minute journey, the ferry departs every hour, on the hour.

Nokonoshima Island, Fukuoka

That Japan is made up entirely of islands fascinates me. I am endlessly wondering what is on this island or that island, how the people live, and what it is like. I have found out a little bit by reading the extraordinary book Doctor Stories from the Island Journals of the Legendary Dr. Koto by Dr. Kenjiro Setoue, and by reading columns by Amy Chavez in The Japan Times. Now I was able to visit one island and see a little bit for myself.

Nokonoshima Island nets, Kyushu, Japan

My daughter and I crossed the water with a small tourist group. As soon as we disembarked, the group headed for a bus stop to parts unknown to us. Suddenly it was very quiet, and only the wind could be heard.

We decided to walk in the opposite direction and see what we could see. Shortly we spotted a small strip of beach and we stepped down to a finely textured sand strewn with shells. We collected a few of these and some lovely pieces of beach glass.

Nokonoshima Island Beach

Continuing our walk, we watched someone silently repairing a fishing net. A nervous feline darted into the brush. Next the road began to run uphill, and if it hadn't been deserted, it probably would have been unwise to be there because the way was quite narrow and twisting.

We could see a beach resort below, far, far away. Originally we had supposed we could walk the perimeter of the island, but we obviously could not, and as we were getting hot and tired, miraculously, a taxi appeared. We rode it back down to the ferry spot and to the mercantile area. I had read about the specialty drink called Nocorita, made from the island's Natsumikan citrus fruit.

Nokonoshima Island

Eager to try it, we did and were not disappointed. The label was so pretty I took the bottle home with me to use as a vase. While we rested and drank, a few cats sidled up beside us and I passed out some cat treats to the friendly creatures.

At this time I wondered if we had chosen the wrong direction to sightsee and we began walking in the opposite direction. We passed a collection of small fishing boats and more cats enjoying the sunshine near the docks.

Then there were houses, but it didn't seem right to go walking through someone's neighborhood, so we returned to the ferry. Nokonoshima is a pleasant place to visit if you like nature and experiencing the sensations of sun, wind, sea, and that wonderful Nocorita.

Nokonoshima Island cats

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