+japan++shikoku++ozuna beach++ozuna beach photo overview++ozuna beach sightseeing+
Great place to see natural Japan -- near Ozuna Beach Shikoku
Ozuna Beach under a winter sky in late late 2005 Shikoku
The cold sands of Ozuna Beach Shikoku
The coastlines of east Shikoku, Japan
A view of the sea near Mugi Shikoku
Ozuna Beach and the road to Mugi, Shikoku, Japan
Nature and the beaches of Tokushima Prefecture, Shikoku, Japan
Shikoku Island in Japan

m u g i ... o z u n a - b e a c h

Shikoku Beaches ---- ONE of the first things which hits you (right in the face in fact!) as soon as you arrive in Shikoku is that, unlike more populous Honshu to the north, this place is green. There is greenery all around you, all over the place -- which is a pretty nice contrast to the endless gray hectares of Osaka and Tokyo. Something very mysterious and welcome and wonderful assaults your nose once you arrive in Shikoku -- fresh air, perhaps scented by flowers or the pounding fresh sea. In Tokyo or Osaka the only things which assault you are the noise and the tumultuous crowds. But Shikoku is different, Shikoku is rural. In fact in a lot of different areas, Shikoku is not even rural, it is pre-rural. It is wild. And wilderness is not something you come to expect to find in some an overcrowded country as Japan.

Travel by night in Shikoku (by either car or train) and you will be amazed by the vast areas of black which dominate this island. The blackness above is splattered with a universe of brightly shining stars. For people who love both nature and Japan, I would recommend a trip to Shikoku (Hokkaido is also recommended.) One of the best places to experience nature en masse, in my limited experience, is the Muroto-Anan coastline in the southern part of Tokushima prefecture. This is an officially designated "quasi national park area" (not really a national park, but almost a national park -- that's what they mean by quasi). This is the kind of place you can travel a long way without seeing any human habitations. I took the drive from Hiwasa down to Mugi and was amazed by the rolling coastal hills and rows upon rows of loftier mountains which retreated into the misty distance... the fields of golden grasses billowing in the breeze... the island-studded seas. I even saw two monkeys on the road. I have always loved windswept uninhabited overgrown coastal environments, and this is one of the best in the world. I was surprised to find it in Japan, a land I have always associated with concrete and neon, rather than forest and beach. I guess Shikoku is a special kind of place.

The Introduction to Shikoku and Japanese Terms page has this to say: "Visiting or living in Shikoku is something special, for this island has always been the spiritual sanctuary of the Japanese people. No other place in Japan has been visited by so many generations of people from all over the country. Even those who have arrived here in weariness of life, in unhappiness or weak health, have usually left the island with a lighter heart, more enlightened, and in many cases in improved health.

"The seas provide great pleasures, too. In the north, the calm waters of the Seto Inland Sea National Park dotted with over 800 islets are known for their manifold romantic beauty from season to season. In the south, the Pacific Ocean surges past the scenic promontories of Ashizuri and Muroto. The Ashizuri Uwakai National Park offers four aquatic parks bright with subtropical life along with the rocky coasts of Tatsukushi and Minokoshi, while the Muroto Anan quasi-National Park, also including two aquatic parks, has its own charm especially in its almost deserted coasts buffeted by the Japan Current."

The photos on this page were taken on the beautiful coastal road which heads south from Hiwasa's Yakuoji Temple, past some observation platforms, to the fishing town of Mugi. Though it was midwinter and windy, the temperature was not that cold. There were hawks hovering over every headland. The beaches were clean and sandy and suitably rugged -- some of the photos here were taken at Ozuna Beach, which translates as "Great Sandy Beach", and might be a good place to hang out in the tropical summers which are common in Shikoku.

[mugi -- ozuna beach]
shikoku japan 2005

copyright rob sullivan 1996-2005 and beyond!