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the Degree Confluence Project
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Japan : Chūgoku

0.7 km (0.4 miles) SW of Tatega-saki (Cape), Chiburi-shima (Island), Chibu-mura, Shimane-ken, Chūgoku, Japan
Approx. altitude: 0 m (0 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 36°S 47°W

Accuracy: 30 m (98 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: View to the north #3: View to the south #4: View to the west #5: Route to N36 E133 & GPS reading #6: Approaching confluence #7: Daiyan Maru and captain Ando Riuji #8: Ferry to the Dozen Islands #9: Dozen Islands #10: Near Mt Akahage

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  36°N 133°E  

#1: Confluence N36 E133

(visited by Fabrice Blocteur)

Japanese Narrative

13-Aug-2005 -- This is a confluence that I truly enjoyed visiting, not so much for the confluence itself, which was rather easy to find, but for the Oki Islands in general. If it hadn’t been for the confluence I would probably never have visited them and would have missed some very spectacular scenery.

As any guidebooks will tell you, Oki is the generic term for an archipelago consisting of 184 islands of various sizes within the Daisen-Oki National Park, off the northern coast of Shimane on the Japan Sea side. The archipelago is divided in two parts with Dozen (made up of Nishino-shima, Nakano-shima and Chiburi-jima Islands) and the larger Dogo that lies northeast as its core.

In ancient times, they were counted as one of Japan's main islands (on a level equal to Hokkaido or Shikoku today) and Oki became an important place on the trade routes to Asia. But the islands are better remembered today as an ancient place for exiles, and they were for Japan what Siberia was for Russia, a place of banishment for political prisoners where they were sent to never return.

For more than a thousand years, from 724, when it was officially designated as a place of deportation, up until 1867, at the end of the Edo Period, Oki consistently dealt with banished exiles among whom were a number of prominent personages such as Emperor Gotoba and Emperor Godaigo.

I wasn’t on my way to exile when I boarded the ferry at Shichirui on the morning of August the 12th after spending a night in Matsue. The boat was crowded with people going back to their hometowns to celebrate o-bon, the Buddhist festival to honor the ancestral spirits who return to their families on this day. The weather was cloudy, very windy and the waves were high during our two-hour crossing to get to Chiburi, the smallest of the inhabited islands with 760 people. It was almost noon when I parked my motorbike in front of the Hashine Ryokan. Immediately after checking in I asked the landlady if it would be possible to find a boat. Unfortunately, as she told me, the weather was too bad to go to sea today. I’d have to wait until tomorrow and, in the meantime, she’d look for a boat. With nothing else to do, I toured the island.

A characteristic of this part of the Oki Islands, are the free-ranging cows and horses that grace the cover of almost every tourist brochure. The origin goes back to the traditional makihata, or rotational farming, exclusive to the Dozen Islands. Today farming is no longer practiced on the island but makihata still exists in that anyone is allowed to pasture cows and horses, regardless of land ownership. Thus, stockbreeding still thrives on the wide pastures of Chiburi and Nakano Islands. And it was quite exciting to ride my motorbike through the numerous herds of cows and horses during the few days I stayed there. When I went back to the ryokan that first evening, the landlady had found a boat for the next morning.

It wasn’t seven o’clock yet when I was welcomed aboard the Daiyan Maru by captain Riuji Ando. The weather had somewhat improved although the waves were still a bit high with some fog remaining from the previous night. We left the small harbor of Chibu-mura and headed straight away for the confluence. The boat I had taken the week before to visit 36°N 135°E was well equipped with two marine GPS, but the Daiyan Maru had none and we had to rely on my GPS only. It took less than thirty minutes to find the correct position. It was harder to take some pictures after the boat stopped as it was tossed in all directions among the waves.

We made a small detour on our way back to visit the one-kilometer long Sekiheki Cliff towering from 50 to 200 meters in height. My remaining vacation time on the Dozen Islands would be spend touring other steep cliffs (the tallest in Japan), coastal beauty and grazing land. Thanks to that confluence, I was able to visit one of Japan’s truly magnificent places.

Japanese Narrative

13-Aug-2005 -- 今回のコンフルエンス訪問はとても楽しいものでした。どちらかというと、コンフルエンスを見つけることは比較的簡単であったものの隠岐への訪問そのものが楽しかった。もしコンフルエンスが隠岐になければ、訪れることもなく、こんなにすばらしい景色のあるところを見逃していたであろう。

ガイドブックでも紹介されているように、隠岐は島根の日本海側に位置し、大山隠岐国立公園の一部で、184の大小の島からなっている。諸島は西ノ島、中ノ島、知夫里島(ちぶり)からなる島前(どぜん)と 北東に位置する島後(どご)の二つに分かれている。

古代時代には 四国や北海道と同じように日本の本島と考えられており、アジア諸国との貿易ルートとして重要なところでした。しかし今日では隠岐諸島は ロシアにとってはシベリアがそうであったように、政治犯が配流された場所として知られている。

724年から江戸後半の1867年までの千年以上、隠岐は 後鳥羽天皇や後醍醐天皇といった過去の偉人たちの配流地とされていた。

松江にて一泊した後に 8/12の朝、七類(しちるい)からフェリーに乗った。残念ながら フェリーの航路にはその刑務所はなくみることはできなかった。フェリーはお盆休みに里帰りする人達でいっぱいだった。(お盆休みとは祖先の魂が家族のもとの帰るという仏教のお祭り。)天候は曇りで、知夫里島までの2時間の乗船は風も強く波も高かった。知夫里島は人が住む島の中では最も小さく、約760人が居住している。島での滞在先、橋根旅館にバイクで到着した時はもう正午になっていたので急いでチェックインを済ませ、旅館の女将に船が借りられるかをきいた。しかし 天候がよくないので翌日にするようにいわれた。ということで 船の手配は女将に任せ、私はすることがなくなったので島をまわることにした。

隠岐の特徴といえば、観光パンフレットでもよく表紙を飾っている、馬や牛が放し飼いされている光景だ。始まりは前島でおこなわれている牧畑(輪作農法)今日では農業は行われおらず、牧畑は現在も行われており、土地の所有権に関係はない馬や牛を放牧することが許されている。故に牧畜は知夫里、中ノ島では盛んに行われている。島滞在中に 馬や牛の群れの合間をバイクで飛ばすのは爽快なものであった。旅館に戻ったら女将が船の手配が翌朝に出来たことを伝えてくれた。

翌朝七時前、安藤龍治船長の大安丸に乗りこみ知夫里島の港を出発しコンフルエンスを目指した。天候は少し回復したものの、波はまだ高く昨夜からの霧が残っていたが。一週間前に36°N 135°Eを挑戦した時のGPSを搭載した船とは違い、今回乗った船、大安丸には何の機器もなく、私のGPSを頼りにするしかなかった。コンフルエンスの正しい位置をみつけるのに30分もかからなかったが、波のせいで正確な位置で停止し 写真を取ることは難しかった。

帰りは少し回り道をして高さ50-200メートルの崖が一キロにもおよぶ、赤壁へと足を伸ばした。残りの日は島前島で 日本一高い断崖絶壁など、美しい海岸沿いや放牧地を回ったりした。コンフルエンスのおかげでこんなにすばらしく、壮大な場所をたずねることができた。

Translated by Shizuka Nishimura


 All pictures
#1: Confluence N36 E133
#2: View to the north
#3: View to the south
#4: View to the west
#5: Route to N36 E133 & GPS reading
#6: Approaching confluence
#7: Daiyan Maru and captain Ando Riuji
#8: Ferry to the Dozen Islands
#9: Dozen Islands
#10: Near Mt Akahage
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)
  Notes
In the water, about 650 m from the island.