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Ganryu Island and Mojiko

So as i mentioned previously... since its a 3 day weekend, i had friday off so i decided to do a day trip i had long postponed, head up to Mojiko at the northern tip of the island and visit Ganryu Island.

Here is Mojiko, a small port city, directly across from the fmaous japanese city of Shimonoseki (site of the signing of the Treaty of Shimonoseki of course). Its about 80-90km north of my house, i took my bike:

I decided to take the expressway, which is toll (of course!). the highways are really nicely maintained and run through some great countryside... but they're expensive as hell. Even on a motorcycle it cost me $15 (to go like 50 miles!) each way!

Here is Mojiko station, which i first visited two years ago (and took almost exactly the same pictureof from the exact same spot) one of the oldest original train stations still in operation in Japan apparently... and it really shows! they definitely need to do some restoration on this thing.

But this time I took this fine craft (also a bit rundown) to the nearby Island.

Here's a shot off the back of the boat towards Mojiko... Since this boat was pretty small, the ride was pretty rough.

click for video (1.1mb)

In 10 short minutes we reached our destination:

Youkoso to Ganryu Island!

What's that you say? you don't know Ganryu Jima? But its well known:

That basically gives you the run down why anyone wants to visit this place. Its the location of the famous duel between Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro. (hi there, you may remember me from such films as )

Here's one modern recreation of the duel. (the bridge wasn't there in 1612....)

And some more blurbs on the locale, the fight and participants... sounds a little like the final fight scene in Star Wars Episode 3 now that I think about it... Here's an excerpt from the forward of the translationed version of Musashi's 5 rings book, about 3/4 of the way down it describes the fight here.

Yet another version of the duel. Note that Musashi's not using his sword here, just the boken he made from an oar. Sasaki's upwards swallow tail technique will never work!

The view from here is great, it looks right down the Kaimon straits that seperate Kyushu (on the right) from Honshu (on the left).

Another self portrait, this time balancing the camera on a rock. Kaimon bridge in the background.

Here's the big tourist draw - this statue of the two swordsman.

The real Miyamoto apparently didn't like to wash much, had bad skin and he was famous for wearing a doo-rag. I'm not so sure about that hand placement on Sasaki's sword... is this Tsubame-gaeshi?

Nice late afternoon weather for a stroll around the island...

Panorama video (4mb)

Off to the south is the city of Kokura. It was actually the original target of the 2nd Atomic bomb, but because of clouds they went to Nagasaki instead.

Afterwards I went back to 'Mojiko RETRO'- a shopping/dining/touristy area. They have restored a lot of 'classic' european style buildingsfrom the turn of the century.

But i decided to sit at the waterfront and enjoy an ice cream while waiting for the sun to set.

There were tons of jelly fish in the water.

Apparently this happens all over the ocean around here in the late summer (historically right around the 'Obon' holidays). People stop going to the beach because of the risk of stings, although some swimming beaches use nets to keep them out.

But jellyfish or not, this girl and her mom were fishing... while checking her cell phone email. :-P

Not bad, but not as nice a sunset as last weekend.

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April 13, 2007