Travel Reports by Aaron Chong view profile of Aaron Chong

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May 21, 2019 - Matsue Horanenya - Matengai Cliff and the Kuniga Coast

Horanenya festival in the news

Good morning from Oki Islands, an archipelago off the coast of the San'in region!

In my previous post, I left Sakaiminato on a ship for a faraway island. My next stop was the island of Nishinoshima, an island part of the Oki Islands archipelago. The journey took three hours and I got off at the main port town of Beppu (yup, the same name as the other more famous Beppu with the hells).

The weather was rainy and bad when I first arrived in Beppu port yesterday. Fortunately, I had a good night stay at Minshuku Cafe Haru, a minshuku close to the ferry terminal. Before coming to Japan, I had sent a request to the Nishinoshima Tourism Association through their website (https://nkk-oki.com/english/) for a place to stay and they booked me the minshuku mentioned above. It was a great deal as for only JPY6500, I had two meals, my own toilet and bathtub and a very clean and comfortable room to sleep in. I also had my own washing machine for me to do my laundry.

Salmon and eggs for breakfast
Minshuku Cafe Haru
Beppu port in a beautiful cloudless day

My goal in Nishinoshima was to visit the Matengai Cliff and the beautiful rugged coastline of the Kuniga Coast. At Izumo two days ago, I prayed for good weather at Nishinoshima and my prayers came true as I woke up to a beautiful sunny, cloudless day, perfect for a trek in the great outdoors.

After breakfast, I took a bus at around 8.30am from Beppu port to Yura Bus Depot (由良バス車庫). The bus was very cheap as it cost a flat rate of only JPY200. I had decided to follow a 2.5 hour trekking course prescribed by the Nishinoshima Tourism Association.

Trekking toward the Matengai Cliff from the Yura bus depot was very straightforward. From the Yura bus depot, I merely followed the sign leading to the Kuniga Coast. Along the way, I walked through a tunnel called the Shin-Kuniga Tunnel.

I eventually arrived at a junction marked with a sign indicating the entrance to the Kuniga Coast. Instead of going straight to the Kuniga Coast, I took a right turn to head for the Matengai Cliff. The road hereon was uphill but not steep. This was where I saw beautiful views of the winding roads, the lush green coastline and lots of free-grazing cows and horses. There was a sign warning tourists not to touch the cows and horses as they could get startled and injure tourists.

Which way to Matengai?
Wild bluebells and the Shin-Kuniga Tunnel
Moo...
I see a horse in the distance!
Free grazing cows and horses

I eventually reached a junction and I just followed the sign to the Matengai Cliff by turning left. I passed more cows along the way and I finally arrived at the top of the Matengai Cliff.

Trekking course of Nishinoshima
Top of Matengai Cliff
Cow scratching against the wooden frame

The view of the sea from the top of the Matengai Cliff was absolutely gorgeous, especially on such a beautiful day, and I did not want to leave. From the top of the Matengai Cliff, I made my way downhill, passing by a group of horses, and eventually arrived at a viewpoint where I could see the Matengai Cliff standing majestically above the Sea of Japan.

Beautiful horse and the beautiful Kuniga coastline
The crown jewel of the Kuniga Coast, Matengai Cliff
#Matengai #WonderfulDayForTrekking

I continued down the slope and reached the next attraction, the Tsutenkyo Arch. It was a gorgeous sight to behold and under good lighting I could properly see the different colors of the rock strata. From the Tsukenkyo Arch, I proceeded down the path to the final attraction of the trek, the Kuniga Coast.

Tsutenkyo Arch
Rock outcroppings of the Kuniga Coast
Kuniga Shrine
End of the Kuniga Coast

It was almost lunchtime but unfortunately there were no buses departing from the Kuniga Coast after finishing the trek. Fortunately, the walk way back to Yura bus depot was easy as I only needed to walk down a gentle downhill road.

I eventually reached my initial starting point at the Yura bus depot and continued on to the port village of Urago. I passed by some minor attractions: the Ikayose Hama and the Yurahime Shrine. I finally arrived at Urago and found myself a nice place to have lunch within the sleepy village.

Cow and calf
Ikayose Hama, where fresh Irie squid are caught
Yurahime Jinja
The sleepy port village of Urago
Keishoku Asuka, run by the housewives of Urago village
A tonkatsu lunch after eating fish for the last four meals
Japanese puns from top: Nishinoshima ni UMArete yokatta... I'm glad to be born in Nishinoshima, UMA = Horse. Nishinoshima o ajiwaUSHIawase The joy of savoring Nishinoshima, USHI = Cow

After lunch, I made my way back to Beppu port to take the next ship back to the mainland. I skipped the boat cruise along the Kuniga Coast as I was more interested in trekking and I had no time for the cruise anyway.

I returned to Minshuku Cafe Haru and had only thirty minutes to collect my clothes drying under the sun before the next ship out to the port of Shichirui on the San'in mainland.

Time to go back to the mainland
Thank you for visiting our island!

I had an amazing time at Nishinoshima and felt sad to be back in Matsue even though the next day was supposed to be the second day of the Horanenya festivities. All in all, Nishinoshima was a real gem to visit in the San'in Region and great break from the usual sights of castles, temples, shrines and quaint old towns.

You can see more photos of this trip in my Flickr album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/124829205@N08/albums/72157708933160618/with/48005484011/

Mount Daisen visible in the distance
Matsue bathed in sunset
Greasy yaki-ramen for dinner

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List of Posts:
2019/05/31 - Matsue Horanenya - Koyasan
2019/05/30 - Matsue Horanenya - Horyuji and to Wakayama Prefecture
2019/05/29 - Matsue Horanenya - Uji
2019/05/28 - Matsue Horanenya - Amanohashidate
2019/05/27 - Matsue Horanenya - Tottori Sand Dunes
2019/05/26 - Matsue Horanenya - Kangyosai 還御祭
2019/05/25 - Matsue Horanenya - The World Heritage Sites of Hagi
2019/05/24 - Matsue Horanenya - Akiyoshido and Akiyoshidai
2019/05/23 - Matsue Horanenya - The Beluga Whales of AQUAS
2019/05/22 - Matsue Horanenya - Chunichisai 中日祭
2019/05/21 - Matsue Horanenya - Matengai Cliff and the Kuniga Coast
2019/05/20 - Matsue Horanenya - Sakaiminato
2019/05/19 - Matsue Horanenya - Izumo Taisha
2019/05/18 - Matsue Horanenya - Togyosai 渡御祭
2019/05/17 - Matsue Horanenya - Getting to Matsue from KIX
2016/07/15 - Hokkaido Day 14 - End of the Trip and My Top Five Highlights
2016/07/14 - Hokkaido Day 13 - Biei's Patchwork Road and the Blue Pond
2016/07/13 - Hokkaido Day 12 - The Lavender Fields of Furano
2016/07/12 - Hokkaido Day 11 - Usuyukiso Habitat and Peach Rock
2016/07/11 - Hokkaido Day 10 - Rebun's 4-Hour Trekking Course
2016/07/10 - Hokkaido Day 9 - Wakkanai, the Northernmost City of Japan
2016/07/09 - Hokkaido Day 8 - Journey to the North
2016/07/08 - Hokkaido Day 7 - Last Day in Shiretoko
2016/07/07 - Hokkaido Day 6 - Bear Watching Cruise and Rausu
2016/07/06 - Hokkaido Day 5 - Shiretoko Five Lakes
2016/07/05 - Hokkaido Day 4 - Obihiro Butadon and the Kushiro Norokko Train
2016/07/04 - Hokkaido Day 3 - Hell Valley and Heavenly Ramen
2016/07/03 - Hokkaido Day 2 - Yoichi and Otaru
2016/07/02 - Hokkaido Day 1 - Late Night Ramen Dinner
2015/05/02 - Hanami 2015 Day 6 - The Wisterias of Ashikaga Flower Park
2015/05/01 - Hanami 2015 Day 5 - Kakunodate and Long Winding Route to Aomori
2015/04/30 - Hanami 2015 Day 4 - The Lonely Sakura of Koiwai Farm
2015/04/29 - Hanami 2015 Day 3 - Matsushima and the Shiogamazakura
2015/04/28 - Hanami 2015 Day 2 - Hirosaki
2015/04/27 - Hanami 2015 Day 1 - Shibazakura in Chichibu