At 369.8 meters above sea level, Mt. Sekizen, the “Iwagi Fuji”, is located in the middle of Iwagi Island, Ehime prefecture.
In the spring, "the celestial maiden's robe of feathers", a road lined with around 3000 sakura trees (cherry trees) comes into bloom…
This time we’d like to introduce the evening sun as seen from one of Mt. Sekizen's little-known spots, as well as another of the mountain's highlights.
Did you know that the Seto Inland Sea area is home to a myriad of Stone Age megaliths? They are especially abundant in this region called the Geiyo Islands.
During the Stone Age, the Seto Inland Sea was mostly grassland, which was inhabited by humans. Traces of that time period, in the form of megaliths, can still be seen on the islands today… There are megaliths on Mt. Sekizen, as well.
Drive to the mountaintop and you will see a red torii gate.
If you go through this torii gate that has Myouken-inja ('Myouken Shrine') written on it, and continue to climb the path, after around 5 minutes you will reach a megalith.
The shrine is set perched upon the megalith that suddenly appeared on the mountainside!
The sign says that during the Edo-period this was a place for practicing Shugen (Japanese mountain asceticism-shamanism).
From the outside it looks like a single boulder, but when you look inside, you can see that several boulders have been put together. Further on inside there is a small shrine where Myouken (bodhisattva) has been enshrined. Myouken is the deification of the North Star, the safeguard of the country and also a wish‑granting bodhisattva.
Although it's a huge megalith, you might not notice it if you didn't know it was there. Though it can be seen from the road, be careful not to miss it!
On top of Mt. Sekizen, there is an observation deck that offers unbroken views of the Seto Inland Sea. However, the scenery in today’s photos is not from the observation deck, but rather from the paraglider take-off grounds.
There are not many places in Japan where you can fly with islands floating below…
Mt. Sekizen is high above sea level, so it's easy to catch the wind coming off the sea, and as the area has a moderate climate, people say that it’s built for making use of these vantage points.
When the air currents are favorable, you can rise up to 1500 meters, which allows you to fly like a bird while looking at the islands of the Seto Inland Sea.
Locals say that they prefer the view from this takeoff point to that from the observation deck…
Blue skies, blue seas, islands wrapped in green…
It really is stunning. We asked a person who was here enjoying the Seto Inland Sea for the first time for their impression, "Who knew there were places with such landscapes in Japan. It's truly beautiful."
Anyone would be captivated by sight of the sun setting in the Seto Inland Sea…
The setting sun glistens almost like the Milky Way, while the light reflecting off the sea looks like stardust…
Location: Iwagi, Kamijima, Ochi District, Ehime Prefecture
Contact: 0897-75-2500 (Kamijima, Iwagi general branch office industry promotion section)
Homepage: http://www.oideya.gr.jp/spot/area_kamijima/view/sekizenyama.htm/ (Japanese)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Maki Ohashi
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