My name is Hironobu Matsuoka, and I have traveled across Japan in my camping car, the Solar King, visiting and photographing over 2000 tourist spots. My favorite scenes are those with stunning sunsets and majestic views. The Seto Inland Sea area has plenty of spots to catch the sunset. In this blog, you can follow me on my search around Setouchi for great places to see the setting sun, and my hunt for the best timing among the ever-changing seasons and weather conditions. Exactly how many times does one see the setting sun in one’s lifetime? When pondering this question, I cannot help but turn into The Sunset Hunter.
Yoshinogawa River – A river among rivers!
The first-class Yoshinogawa river, the largest in Shikoku, flows from west to east in Tokushima Prefecture.
This is the sunset close to Minodanofuchia. To capture Yoshinogawa’s sunset I searched for a particular lookout point along the river basin.
Located where Awakujo castle’s keep used to be (also known as Kawashimajo castle), this is the Iwanohana lookout platform. The view from the platform, directly towards the setting sun, offers a stunning vista of the basin below.
As I had finally found the perfect spot to capture the setting sun, all I had to do was wait.
Easier said than done! The weather shifted suddenly and clouds swept in.
”Am I really going to be able to see the sunset?” As the clouds kept thickening and expanding, I was on the verge of giving up. However, looking carefully, the clouds above the river upstream seemed to be parting.
”Maybe over there…” I thought. I had a plan B. The situation was getting worse where I was, so I decided to move to the next place.
I moved to a spot about 10km from Kawashimajo castle, and just as I thought, the clouds had parted. I made it just in time.
This is the dry river bed of the Yoshinogawa. This particular place is pretty close to Waki, Mima City, which is famous for Udatsumi street.
The time had arrived! The bridge visible from this beautiful sunset spot is Wakimachi Sensuikyo. It gets its name from the fact that the river runs over it during floods.
The setting sun of Yoshinogawa.
The clouds were thick in the east (to the left in the picture), but luckily there were none here, so I managed to capture the sunset.
The roaming Sunset Hunter triumphed at last!
The silhouette of Wakimachi Sensuikyo and its surroundings painted in the setting sun’s colors.
As a matter of fact, I was told about this spot earlier the same day when I was visiting the Yoshidakejutaku, so I thought it would be smart to go and have a look just in case.
As the photo also allowed me to include the symbol of Yoshidagawa, Sensuikyo Bridge, this spot might actually have been better than my original idea.
Sunset Hunter Trivia.
The locals know all the hidden and little known spots to capture great pictures, so be sure to talk to them.
The fantastical Udatumi street lighting.
Built by a wealthy merchant in the Edo Period, the building on the right is the Yoshidakejutaku. It was already closed when I got back, so I didn’t get chance to offer my thanks, but I decided to photograph the street.
As the natural environment and weather changes, so does the sunset. Do not give up easily, and follow the meteorological signs (this time it was the parting clouds), and you will find yourself with many opportunities to catch the setting sun. It goes without saying that you should not be impatient. Most importantly: you have nothing to lose, so give it a try. Why don’t you also try chasing the setting sun as a Sunset Hunter?
Wakimachi Sensuikyo Bridge
Address: Waki, Mima City, Tokushima Prefecture
Parking: Available (free-of-charge, 5 minutes walk from the Ai-land Udatsu service area parking zone) http://www.pref.tokushima.jp/docs/2010111800152/
Service area Ai-land Udatsu
Address: Minamiwakimachi, Waki, Mima City, Tokushima Prefecture
Parking: Available (free-of-charge)
Address: 53 Oaza Wakimachi, Waki, Mima City, Tokushima Prefecture
Open: 9:00 ~ 17:00
Closed: End-of-year (12/27 ～ 1/1)
Entrance fees: Adults 510 yen, Children 250 yen
Parking: Available (free-of-charge. The service area Ai-land Udatsu is the most convenient)
Address: 136-1 Kawashima, Kawashima, Yoshinogawa City, Tokushima Prefecture
Open: 9:00 ~ 17:00
Closed: Every Monday (Tuesdays if Monday is a public holiday)
Parking: Available (free-of-charge)
Setouchi 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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