Exploring Miura Coast

We had an amazing plan for our Sunday trip. And then this catastrophic downpour happened. It is rainy season after-all. Our plan was shuttered and we decided to go somewhere where the weather report said we could avoid the afternoon rain. So we decided to go down all the way to the edge of Tokyo bay, to the beautiful Miura peninsula. Although I usually head down to Hayama and Morito for a lazy day at the beach, never before have I been to the tip of the peninsula. Apparently, Jogashima island the area around it is a popular spot for motorbike gangs and wedding photographers alike.

Miura peninsula with respect to the Tokyo bay area

We rode the Keikyu train line until Miurakaigan and from there we took the bus until Tsurugisaki. We randomly came across a blog post (heads-up to Tokyo Sampomaster) describing a path along the coast, checked the time frames for the high and low tide and decided to follow the suggested route. But since the island of Jogashima was so close to the end of the route, we decided to cross the bridge on foot and go catch the sunset around there. We walked in total for about 6 hours and covered approx. 22km (of which 10km were on the rocky coastline). Here, I added our additional last part on the map edited by Tokyo Sampomaster, which in turn was provided by The Geospatial Information Authority of Japan.

The route we followed

We started the path next to a small white lighthouse. Although, there is no actual visible path on the rocks, across regular intervals there are poles indicating that this part of the kanto fureai paths, showing the distance covered as well as the distance remaining until the next checkpoint. It was raining quite heavily at times and the ground was slippery, requiring a large amount of focus and balance in order to avoid falling (which I did once).

A small torii gate at the entrance of the route

Along the rocky path, there were small beaches as well as bigger openings, namely Ena and Bishamon bays. Whether due to human negligence or due to last year’s typhoon, these beaches were covered with plastic garbage, usually pet bottles or detergent containers. At some point we even saw electrical appliances blending in with nature, in the form of a washing machine hanging from a tree or a TV half submerged in the water.

How did a tv get here?

After a while, as noted in the route map, we needed to return to the main road and gain some elevation. The landscape was covered with fields, producing anything from watermelon to corn.

After walking for a while, it was time to rest and eat our wonderful conbini onigiri (I am overreacting here, they were mediocre). What better than to chill for a while at a shrine in the middle of a jungle? Well, it wasn’t a jungle, but the landscape at that point was early similar to an abandoned temple from Tomb Raider.

The rocky path continues, and so do we. We pass a couple more hills, caves used by the yayoi people and a seashore full of pink seashell fragments instead of sand. At some point, a rock shaped like as skull appears out of nowhere, inducing an authentic “pirates of a Caribbean” feeling.

A skull-shaped rock
A large cave along the way

An interesting finding of the day was the orange tiger lilies growing on the rock, immediately above water. Their colour was contrasting heavily with the neighbouring green or black patches. It is easily one of the prettiest wild flowers I have ever seen.

Tiger lilies on the rock

The weather started clearing up, leading to a flat but rough plane which marked the end of the route.

After crossing a safe haven for sailing boats and two giant wind turbines, we continued our way through more crop fields.

Since we were surrounded by watermelons, we decided to buy some. It was my first time to see yellow watermelon, which was sweeter than the red one despite its lemony look.

Eventually we arrived at the bridge connecting Jogajima island with the peninsula. The bridge was built in 1959 and at that time it was considered the longest bridge in Asia.

The main attractions on Jogajima are the lighthouses and the park. We started walking towards the west to see the lighthouse and maybe catch the sunset there. After crossing a small shrine in a cave and some more tiger lilies, we saw a spot where some wedding photographers were preparing a photo-shoot.

Finally, the rain had stopped, our clothes were dry and we could enjoy the lovely afternoon.

Rocks, grass and tiger lilies

The cats roaming freely on the island were a magnificent sight. All of them plump and lazy, they laid casually under the sun.

A cat sunbathing with her kittens

The photographs do no justice to the actual scenery. The view was much different to what I am used to in Japan, more wild, rocky and steep. I could no doubt be easily be convinced that I somehow magically teleported to a different country.

The landscape

The most popular and photogenic spot if the island is a 3-meter tall hole next to the sea, called umanose (馬の背). It seems that this location is especially popular for long exposure photos of the starry sky at night.

Umanose cave mouth

Next to the umanose cave mouth, there is a staircase, leading to higher ground for better views of the horizon. The narrow path at that point was getting narrower with every step, as a result of the lush plants. I thought that the path would lead to the lighthouse, but I was up for a surprise. In the end, we had to go back down and get another pair of stairs to reach the lighthouse.

A tiny statue, with coin offerings, located conveniently next to a vending machine

But behold, before the lighthouse, a Greek style temple building appears out of nowhere.

The entrance to the lighthouse park

For some reason, the designers of this small park, decided to go all the way with Greek pillars and decorations. One thing stood out though; the inscription on the backside of the temple was in Arabic characters, not Greek or Latin as one would naturally expect. I wonder why is that, because there was no description there or online.

The backside of the greek-style structure with the inscription in arabic

Finally, the lighthouse was visible. It was tall and white, with a mural of an island view on its base.

The first glimpse of the lighthouse
The lighthouse

This lighthouse and another one on the east side of the island were designed and promoted as part of a romantic project called あなた&わたし(you and I).

The lighthouse project

There was no actual view of the sunset at the level of the lighthouse, so we decided to head down back to where we started. By now, the photoshoot was progressing with full force. We enjoyed the sunset and slowly headed towards the bus stop to Misakiguchi in order to make our return.

Sunset on Jogashima

Eventually, what set out as a lost day ended as an amazing hike. The rain on the first part of our route make it seem like a proper adventure. The lack of anyone but hawks, crabs and sea cockroaches (we live in the covid era after all) made us enjoy our day trip even more. I am looking forward to returning to Miura on a sunny day, in a different month, in order to see how the scenery changes with the seasons. Or maybe I will return as a member of a motorcycle gang, who knows?

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