Hironobu Matsuoka has photographed over 2000 different sights while traveling around Japan in his motorhome, Solar King-Go. Some of his favorite situations are the moving sunsets often seen in picturesque scenery.
It is said that there are innumerable spots to see beautiful sunsets in the Seto Inland Sea area. The Sunset Hunter series is a corner where photo-writer Hironobu Matsuoka discovers such spots and aims for the best timing, according to the season and weather conditions, to capture them in pictures.
“I wonder how many times within a lifetime you can see the sunset?” With this thought in mind, yours truly photo-writer Matsuoka cannot stand still, and transforms into the Sunset Hunter…
I want to discover the best sunset viewing spots along Shimanami Kaido!
With this resolve, Sunset Hunter Matsuoka arrived on Innoshima Island from the Onomichi city direction. He heads for Mt. Shirataki, a potential sunset point located in the northern part of the island.
With an altitude of 227m, Mt. Shirataki is apparently one of Innoshima Island’s most well known viewing points. As a road leads nearly all the way to the peak, it seems a relatively easy climb. All is well if it’s a good sunset point…
Mt. Shirataki is an easy climb, and you can reach the mountaintop on foot within 15 minutes from the parking area. At the end there is a slightly steep staircase, but after going through the main gate with Shirataki-san (白滝山) carved on it, you’ll reach a whole other world!
In the park area located at the top of Mt. Shirataki there are lots of stone Buddha statues standing around with various appearances and expressions. Called “Gohyaku-Rakan”, they were finished in 1830 after a little over 3 years of sculpting by Denroku Kashihara, an Innoshima native, and his disciples.
Along the gentle hill road leading to the mountaintop stand a total of 700 stone Buddha statues; the area is surrounded by a sacred air.
In the background you can see Innoshima Bridge, which is one of the bridges that forms Shimanami Kaido!
This is the observation and resting area located next to the gate – It’s positioned in the direction that the sun sets. Making both the view and the ambience amazing, the observation deck juts out in the direction of the sea almost like a balcony!
After some investigation, I confirm that the mountaintop area of Mt. Shirataki is a good sunset point! 🙂
Well then, the time is currently 15 o’clock and today’s sunset will be around 19 o’clock, so for the time being I descend the mountain and continue on with my research. Maybe I can find an even more wonderful sunset point; the Sunset Hunter greedily continues his search for potential viewing areas!
I go north and take a walk through Innoshima Bridge Memorial Park [ https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/2902 ]. From here you can experience an amazing view of the bridge and a lighthouse. The scenery is splendid, but unfortunately the view of the bridge and lighthouse is located in the opposite direction of where the sun sets!
Afterwards, I walk around a field full of pyrethrum flowers, which are in season from early to mid-May [ https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/518 ]. The Pyrethrum flower is the trademark of Innoshima Island. There is a flower field on the western slope that I was hoping I might see some nice evening scenery from. However, there’s another high hill in the direction the sun sets (on the right in the photograph), which blocks the view.
I continued to tour around Innoshima Island looking for sunset viewing points, but in the end the best (potential) spot was Mt. Shirataki!
At around 18 o’clock I returned to the starting point of the Mt. Shirataki trail.
As the evening hour approached I tried to control my impatience and walked along the trail surrounded by the stone Buddha statues, and then headed up to the 2-storey observation deck at the top of the mountain!
And here is the evening view as seen from the observation deck on the mountaintop!
The Gohyaku-Rakkan Buddha statues are lined up orderly in a straight line towards the Seto Inland Sea, and beyond them I can see the islands of Hoso and Kohoso floating in the offing.
It’s a mystical sight that awakens religious thoughts!
An evening view characteristic of the Seto Inland Sea with islands emerging from the orange-dyed sea like silhouettes – The Seto Inland Sea area really is beautiful.
This moment in time made me think like this from the bottom of my heart.
Dackdropped by the Honshu mountains, Sagi and Kosagi islands are visible in the direction of the sunset. The sun goes down at around 19 o’clock, but even after it’s fully set I’m still immersed in the lingering dusk…
On this particular day, the weather stayed stable all the way to the end, the colors of the sunset were wonderful, and I experienced a moving evening view!
Mt. Shirataki is a picturesque viewing point along Shimanami Kaido with beautiful views of the evening sun. Why don’t you too become a Sunset Hunter and chase the beautiful sunsets of the Setouchi area? 🙂
Mt. Shirataki & Gohyaku-Rakan
Location: Innoshima Island, Onomichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture
Parking: Available (toll-free)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Hironobu Matsuoka
Hironobu Matsuoka / Photo-writer Born in 1974 in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture, and currently living there, Hironobu is the president of Mediapolis Inc. "I travel around the country in Solar King, an eco-camping car that has a solar power generator, and film the beautiful scenery of Japan in high-definition. I want to move around the country as much as possible and leave behind videos of precious Japanese nature and scenery for future generations to enjoy. Although I travel all over the country, I love my home area of Setouchi." 'Healing Japan TV' - Traveling virtually around the country through 'healing videos'.
> A guided tour, including teatime, where you can see the former “Koshien Hotel” – “Frank Lloyd Wright type” architecture by Arata Endo. / Koshien Hall at Mukogawa Women’s University (Nishinomiya-shi, Hyogo)
> Experience the ancient way of salt making on Kamikamagari-jima Island on the Tobishima Kaido in Aki-nada! / Kamagari Ancient Salt Making Remains Restoration Pavilion & “Amabito-no-Moshio” (Kure-shi, Hiroshima)
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