Since the weather forecast for Tuesday promised even worse conditions than Monday, I decided to try to risk it and catch the bus to the southern end of the island. Monday forecast: very windy, few rain, Tuesday forecast, very windy, lots of rain. The bus came punctually all right and the bus driver seemed totally unimpressed by the wind that hit the bus as soon as it turned to the east side of the island and into the wind. I guess he still does the ride in double the wind speed and I felt like a total landlubber! Lol. A pic taken out of the bus window into the churning sea.
Arrived at the Kafuka port (all ferries cancelled again apart from the first in the morning), I walked towards the target, the so called Jijouiwa rock. The walk included a 1.5 km stretch through a tunnel, which connects the east and west sides of the island. The tunnel is new, built in, or finished in 2015, and while walking through a tunnel isn’t the greatest of all walks, it was okay and better than climbing up and down hills in the crazy wind. The wind was still blowing through the whole length of the tunnel, but it wasn’t too bad. What was impressive though was the noise cars make when driving through the tunnel. It echoes and amplifies through the entire length of the thing and is ridiculously loud.
Arrived on the west side I walked straight to the rock, being the only tourist around. There was a sign and a rope to not go closer due to danger of falling rocks, but you couldn’t see from that angle that the rock is free-standing. So I ignored the warning and went closer, to at least be able to see that it’s detached from the rest of the mountain. Going between the rock and the mountain was tempting, but the falling rock warning seemed all too real in the high winds and one day that rock is destined to crumble.
Jijouiwa is to the north of the tunnel entrance and Momoiwa is to the south. That’s where I walked next and the scenery is truly stunning. It was great to see Momoiwa from the sea side and from below as well as the whole mountain range I walked over in the clouds a few days earlier. Alas the wind was enormous and at times I was walking in a crouched fashion and always at the hill side of the road, not the sea side. One bus with a bunch of tourists rode past me once, but they were gone again when I arrived at the viewing platform at the end of the road.
The remoteness of this island and the lack of people are like balm and the older I get the more I need this break from time to time from the 20 million something people area where I usually live and work.
I admire the people who live in places like this. I cannot really imagine what it must be like there in the half a year of Hokkaido winter, the strength of the winter storms, and just how cold, rough and lonely it must be. That 15 meters per second wind I struggled against must be a balm breeze to them…