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Japan : Shikoku

2.4 km (1.5 miles) NW of Sakodo, Mikamo-chō, Tokushima-ken, Shikoku, Japan
Approx. altitude: 755 m (2477 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 34°S 46°W

Accuracy: 130 m (426 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: 130 meters from confluence #3: Near track - 610 meters from confluence #4: From Mima IC to confluence #5: Along Road 258 #6: View into the valley

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  34°N 134°E (visit #1) (incomplete) 

#1: View to the south (130m from 34N 134E)

(visited by Fabrice Blocteur)

Japanese Narrative

24-Jul-2004 -- Two months after visiting 34N 133E I decided to go back to Shikoku Island to find the confluence located just one degree east. It was sunny and already very hot when I left Maizuru by motorbike at 8:00 in the morning. I took the Maizuru-Wakasa Expressway south to Akashi near Kobe, crossed the first bridge to Awaji-Shima Island at around 9:30 and less than an hour later the second bridge over the well-known Naruto Whirlpools to Shikoku. I then left the expressway and went down the eastern coast of the island to Tokushima to get on the Tokushima Expressway heading west. It took me another hour to get to the Mima Interchange, which is less than 20 kilometers from the confluence.

I crossed the Yoshino River and before going up into the mountain I stopped at a noodle shop for a bowl of Udon, the thick, white, wheat noodles particularly famous in this part of Japan. Shortly after noon I got back on the motorbike and took Road 256 for about five or six kilometers and when I spotted the sign for Road 258 I turned my GPS on. Before making this trip, I had scanned and calibrated a topographical map covering this area with a map program on my computer, marked a route on the screen and transferred it to the GPS. The only thing I had to do now was to select the navigation screen and follow the indications. I was now on a very narrow forest road and thirty minutes later I stopped the motorbike 650 meters from the confluence. This is the closest I could get with a vehicle. The altitude at that point was 550 meters and the confluence was 200 meters higher up in the mountain.

According to the topo map, there was supposed to be a hiking trail nearby going up toward the confluence. But the trail had not been used for a while and it turned out to be an almost invisible track disappearing into the vegetation here and there. I walked along the track and was slowly getting closer. Then the track disappeared completely and I had no choice but to keep going up through the forest. After reaching the correct altitude, which was still 130 meters away from the point, the GPS got kind of stuck. I walked around for a while but the distance remained the same and I had no idea what was going on. The GPS was pointing in all the directions. The vegetation was very dense and there is a possibility that I wasn’t receiving a signal. I could also hear the sound of thunder getting closer and it might have created some interference. I had no rain gear and staying at the top of a mountain during a storm wasn’t necessarily the best idea. I then decided to give up and to go back down. Better safe than sorry. I just made it back to the valley to take shelter before the rain started. The thunderstorm lasted for an hour.

Although it had not been a successful visit I had had a very nice ride to Shikoku and a very nice hike in the mountains. I decided to reward my efforts by going to an onsen to relax for the rest of the afternoon, and went to Kotohira to spend the night in the same minshuku I had stayed three years ago while touring Shikoku Island. I woke up early the next morning and climbed the 800 steps to the Kompira-san Shrine, one of Shikoku’s major attractions, and before crossing the Seto-ohashi Bridge on my way back to Honshu, I stopped at the Zentsu-ji Temple, the birthplace of Kobo Daishi, or “Kukai”, the most revered figures of Japanese Buddhism.

Japanese Narrative

24-Jul-2004 -- 北緯34度、東経133度地点を訪れた2ヵ月後、私は再び四国へ行き1度西よりの交流点を目指すことにした。朝8時、バイクで舞鶴を出発した時点の天候は晴れ。すでに気温はかなり高くなっていた。舞鶴若狭の高速に乗り、神戸近くの街・明石へ向かって南下する。午前9時30分頃、淡路島にかかる橋(明石海峡大橋)を渡り、その1時間後には2つ目の橋、有名な鳴門の大渦巻を跨ぐ鳴門大橋を渡って四国へ入った。ここで高速を下り、徳島県の東の海岸線に沿って南へ向かい、徳島自動車道を目指す。高速にのって西へ走ること1時間、美馬インターチェンジに到着した。ここから交流点までは20キロ足らずだ。

吉野川を越え山に登る前にうどん屋に立ち寄ることにした。太くて白い小麦麺のうどんは、この地域の名物として知られている。再びバイクにまたがり国道256号線を5,6分走ると国道258号線の標識が目に入る。ここでGPSの電源をオンにした。この旅の出発前、マップソフトでこの地域の地勢図をスキャンしてパソコンに取り込み、行くべき道順に印をつけたものを更にGPSに落としておいたのだ。あとはナビ画面に切替えて指示に従うだけでいい。ひどく道幅の狭い林道を走りつづけて30分、私は交流点から650m程離れた地点でバイクを降りた。乗り物で近付くのはここが限界だ。現地点の高度は550m。目指す交流点は山中さらに200m高いところにある。

地勢図に依ると、交流点へ向かって上がっていくハイキング用の小道が近くにあるはずだが、しばらく使われなかったせいか、あちこちの繁みで行き止まりになり、ほぼ消えてしまっている。それでもなんとか人の通った跡に沿って歩きゆっくりと交流点に近付いて行ったが、やがて完全に道は見えなくなり、森の中をひたすら登っていくしかなくなってしまった。目指した高度には到達したが、交流点まで130mも誤差がある。GPSも上手く作動しなくなってしまった。しばらく歩きまわってみたものの誤差は一向に縮まらずどうなっているのかさっぱりわからない。GPSは全方角を指している。森が深すぎてきちんと電波を受信できていない可能性もあるし、加えて遠くから雷の音が聞こえてきた。そのせいで電波が妨害されているのだろうか。雨具も持たずに山の頂上で嵐をやりすごすのは賢明でないと判断して、今回は交流点到達を諦めることにした。山道を下っていく。残念だが、何より安全第一。雨が降り出す前に谷の方まで戻って雨宿りすることにした。結局雷をともなった嵐は1時間程収まらなかった。

交流点への到達は果たせなかったものの、四国までのドライブはとても良かったし、山のハイキングも楽しかった。頑張った自分へのご褒美として、今日はもう温泉に入ってのんびりすることにする。3年前に四国を旅した時に泊まった民宿で1泊しようと決め、琴平町へ向かった。次の日は早めに起き、四国の名所として有名な金毘羅宮の約800段の石段を登り、その後本州へ渡る瀬戸大橋の手前で善通寺に立ち寄った。善通寺は日本の仏教に影響を与え、今も多くの尊敬を集める弘法大師、別名・空海生誕の地である。

Translated by Yoriko Uemura


 All pictures
#1: View to the south (130m from 34N 134E)
#2: 130 meters from confluence
#3: Near track - 610 meters from confluence
#4: From Mima IC to confluence
#5: Along Road 258
#6: View into the valley
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)