NHK WORLD > NHK WORLD TV > Journeys in Japan

Tue, Nov. 1, 2016 Mihonoseki: Land of the Gods *This program was first broadcast on May 24, 2016
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Mihonoseki is on the eastern cape of the Shimane Peninsula, surrounded on three sides by water: the Sea of Japan to the north and Miho Bay and Nakaumi to the south. It prospered during the Edo period (1603- 1868), when it was a port of call of Kitamaebune trade ships. Today, it's a fishing port and a gateway to the sea. It still retains charming features from its heyday in the Edo period.
Aoishidatami-dori, or the "blue" cobblestone alley (named for the color the stones turn in the rain), dates to the era. For visitors to the local beach at sunrise, it might be easy to imagine early Japanese mythology when they see the sky burnish red. The people of Mihonoseki have long cherished their gods and lived with the blessings of the sea. Rituals are an important part of their lives. In April, every year, they hold the Aofushigaki ritual, enacting an episode in mythology when the god Kotoshironushi (more commonly known as Ebisu) decides to hand over his land to the heavenly gods and takes to the sea to hide. Our traveler experiences this ritual, which evokes an archetypical image of Japan's revival. On Journeys in Japan we explore Mihonoseki, where the world of myths live on.

The Aofushigaki ritual
The Aofushigaki ritual
The Aofushigaki ritual is held at Miho Shrine every year on April 7.
For details, contact: Mihonoseki Tourism Association
TEL: +81 (0)852-73-9001(Japanese only)
Miho Shrine
Miho Shrine
This historic shrine, which appears in myths, dates back more than 600 years. The Aofushigaki ritual is held here.
Shrine maidens also perform a solemn ritual dance at 8:30 and 15:00 every day. Visitors are welcome to observe the rite.
TEL +81 (0)852-73-0506 (Japanese only)
A gorgeous ryokan accommodation in a building designated as a tangible cultural asset.
TEL +81 (0)852-73-0111
Taiko Soy Sauce
Taiko Soy Sauce
Has been making soy sauce delighting palates for 250 years. Irregular holidays Open: 9:00 ~ around 17:00
TEL +81(0)852-73-0539(Japanese only)
Asatore Fish Market
Asatore Fish Market
This fish market is also open to the public.
Irregular holidays
Open: Early morning till the unloading of the fish ends(Check in advance) Mihonoseki Tourism Association
TEL: +81 (0)852-73-9001(Japanese only)
Mihonoseki Lighthouse and Lighthouse Buffet
Mihonoseki Lighthouse and Lighthouse Buffet
Built in the Meiji era (1868-1912). Its cafe has sweeping views of the Sea of Japan.
Open: 10:00 ~17:00
TEL: +81 (0)852-73-0211
Adachi Museum of Art
Adachi Museum of Art
This museum has stunning formal gardens, spanning some 165,000 square meters in total.
TEL +81 (0)854-28-7111
Open: 9:00 ~ 17:30 (April through September)
9:00 ~ 17:00 (October through March)
From Tokyo's Haneda airport, it's one hour and 20 minutes to Yonago Kitaro Airport. From there, it's another hour and 10 minutes by train and bus to reach Mihonoseki.
Travel Log

Traveler: John Daub > More Info


Occupation:Internet TV Program Producer

Length of residence in Japan:18 years

Reason:Curiosity. The reason I stay? Curiosity.

Traveler's Archives:

> Savoring Rural Pleasures: Daigo, Ibaraki

A centuries-old Japanese mythological ritual is more than enough for me to travel to the other side of the country to witness an event very few foreign eyes have ever seen. Mihonoseki's annual ritual, in the beginning of April, is the perfect time to visit an otherwise sleepy and scenic fishing village. It's a village that many travelers to Japan seek out for its authentic old look and feel. It seemed as though not much has changed in 100 years.

In the center, surrounded by beautiful cobblestone streets and wooden buildings, is Miho-jinja. The shrine has a spiritual influence over everything in the town making this the perfect place to, not only get a fantastic feel of what life was like in Japan before the mobile phone, but maybe even before the telephone in general!

I was deeply impressed with the dedication and deep spirituality of the residents. They love their hometown from the lighthouse to the shrine-and were eager to show it all off. That hospitality and the warm coziness of Mihonoseki is what will make any visitor fall in love with it as much as I have.

The Aofushigaki-shinji is held annually on April 7th and it's a must-see event in Shimane Prefecture.

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