Mt. Kiro-san is located in Oshima, Imabari city, Ehime prefecture.
Even within the Shimanami Kaido area this mountain is known as a spot with especially beautiful sunsets, which is why at weekends it's visited by numerous tourists and camera enthusiasts.
It has also been called the sacred land of lovers since way back. Why is that?
At the entrance to the mountain trail there is a large stone tortoise… First you should hear why this mountain is called Mt. Kiro-san.
In the middle of his journey 1300 years ago, a monk reached a cavern here in Oshima, and discovered a large tortoise carrying a beautiful Kannon Bodhisattva glistening in gold. He immediately took the Kannon Bodhisattva, climbed up the mountain, and established a complete seven-structured temple compound (which refers to a temple’s seven main buildings) and worshipped the Kannon.
Since this event, the mountain has been called Mt. Kiro-san (the characters for 'kiro' mean 'tortoise' and 'old'), and it is said to grant mysterious power to those who visit it.
To the north are the mountains of Oshima.
In the south you can see Imabari city.
Since olden times it has been said that the gods and Buddha live in this mountainous area called Takanawa peninsula that also includes Imabari city.
To the north-west.
The small island in the middle is Tsushima Island, and far behind it is Omishima Island. Ōyamazumi Shrine, located on Omishima Island, and Mt. Kiro-san are situated almost in a straight line on a north-south axis.
If you continue further south on this line, you reach Imabari city's Mt. Tentogatou, which is located in Asakura. On top of the mountain there is an enormous stone, and it is believed that rituals have been held there since ancient times.
At some point in time this place became the sacred land for lovers.
Apparently, if a couple says a prayer while facing the setting sun and locking a lock, their love is guaranteed to last forever.
Just before the sun sets, as if weaving together the islands surrounding the Shimanami Kaido, a road of light is born.
It is said that the gods that grant wishes are in the direction to the setting sun.
The setting sun that accepts lovers' wishes is dyed in a deep red. You'll want to keep watching until the moment the sun actually sets.
Here’s hoping that everyone's wishes come true.
Kiro-san Observation Park
Location: 487-4 Minamiura, Yoshiumi-cho, Imabari city
Open: 24 hours a day
Holidays: No holidays
Inquiries: 0897-84-2111 (Imabari City Hall Yoshiumi branch, Industries & Construction Section)
HP: http://www.oideya.gr.jp/spot/area_shimanami/view/kirosan.htm (Japanese)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Maki Ohashi
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