This is Shimotsui Gion Shrine in southern Okayama prefecture.
Believe it or not, this is a place where you can see the first sunrise of the year as it rises behind the Great Seto Bridge, and at the same time do the traditional first visit of the year at the shrine!
This is the way that leads to Shimotsui Gion Shrine.
The shrine grounds are located on top of Joyama, a hill that juts out to sea at an altitude of 22m. The stone lantern seen in the photograph makes a great viewing spot!
This is the scene from the lantern just before dawn.
Shimotsui Port is located at the foot of the Great Seto Bridge. Numerous fishing boats depart in the early morning and head for the Seto Inland Sea.
Around New Year, while the sea bustles with fishing boat the sun climbs up between the bridge’s girders and the mountains.
The Great Seto Bridge and the morning sun! What a great spot to see the first sunrise of the year!
Constructed somewhat unusually, the Great Seto Bridge has 2-storeys: The Seto Chuo expressway runs along the top, while JR Honshi-Bisan Line (Seto Ohashi Line) trains run below.
Making this a popular spot for railroad fan photographers, if you time it right, you can frame the morning sun and a passing train in the same photograph!
Also, behind the bridge you can see Washuzan hill, which offers light hiking with great views of the Great Seto Bridge:
Dedicated link: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/408
And, known for octopus fishing and dried octopus, you also have a view of Shimotsui Port:
Dedicated link: https://setouchifinder.com/en/detail/447
As the sun rises, you can see it climb right in the middle of the bridge!
The Shimotsui Gion Shrine grounds are found behind the observation area.
Numerous plants characteristic of the seashore are found in the woods that surround the shrine. The area is invaluable in terms of study, and has been designated as a natural conservation target.
Worshipped for maritime safety and avoiding infectious diseases, among other reasons, locals refer to the shrine as “Gion-san”.
Starting with the ruins of Nagahama Castle, which was built in the Muromachi period (1333-1573), the area is filled with cultural heritage sites deeply related to the area’s history. It’s a popular place where visitors can connect with history and culture in addition to seeing beautiful scenery.
How about seeing the first sunrise of the year among Shimotsui scenery??
Shimotsui Gion Shrine
Location: 1-13-16 Shimotsui, Kurashiki city, Okayama prefecture
Parking: Available (toll-free)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Hironobu Masuoka
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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