Known as the “western gateway to Shikoku”, Yawatahama (Ehime) is a ‘natural harbor’ port town that has flourished since ancient times due to its fishing industry, and is still home to the largest fish market in Shikoku!
Just south of the town, a small cape of about 3km juts out into the Uwakai Sea. Profoundly important to the fishing industry, Suwazaki is a small cape with a pleasant promenade called “Shizenkyūyōrin Suwazaki” (National forest opened to the public) that overlooks the ocean and from where visitors can enjoy forest bathing. Quite a nice trail, wouldn’t you say?
Well, let me show you around Suwazaki!
The easy-to-walk 2km long promenade extends from the parking area (located roughly in the center of the peninsula) to the edge of the cape. This particular walking course has been chosen as one of the best “100 spots for forest bathing” and one the best “100 spots of abundant nature in Shikoku”.
Ambling along forest bathing, through the leaves, slants of sunlight illuminate the path…
And then your field of vision widens to reveal islands floating on the ocean…
Continuing on, the edge of the cape comes into view! On the north side to the right, the peninsula that stretches to Cape Sata is visible, the most westerly point of Shikoku.
The view from the south side of the promenade…
Soaking up ocean views and enjoying forest bathing – what a luxurious life!
Rough cliffs continue around the edge of the cape, but a beautiful cove is visible below…
A white structure stands on the edge of Suwazaki. “Gyoreito” tower was built as a place to hold memorial services for fish that have been caught and to thank the Uwakai Sea for its blessing!
Since 1936, when the memorial tower was built, every year on “Ocean Day”(Umi no hi – 3rd Monday of July) the Yawatahama city fisheries cooperative association pays a visit to sprinkle libation (Sake) and throw Fu (Japanese dried wheat gluten) into the sea. A custom only observed in towns connected with the fishing industry, Gyoreito tower is a place to offer thanks to the ocean for a good harvest.
Looking out to sea from the edge of the promenade, fishing boats pass through constantly.
On my way back, I happened to see a fisherman diving at the cove without any air tanks. I ran into him as he was just leaving…
This area must be good for fishing, too.
Yawatahama continues to flourish due to its fishing industry, and the nearby Suwazaki Cape is a sacred place to give thanks.
I hope you too feel the sea’s blessing while enjoying heavenly forest bathing!
Location: Kurinoura Yawatahama-shi, Ehime
Website (Japanese): http://www.nishiiyo.jp/play/with/suwazaki/
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'.
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