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