the Degree Confluence Project

Japan : Chūbu

4.0 km (2.5 miles) SSW of Kumizaki, Koshino-mura, Fukui-ken, Chūbu, Japan
Approx. altitude: 473 m (1551 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap world confnav)
Antipode: 36°S 44°W

Accuracy: 10 m (32 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: Village of Koshino #3: Hamlet of Akasaka #4: The closest we can get with a vehicle #5: Narcissus #6: Heading back home #7: Mountain slopes near the confluence #8: Echizen coast

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  36°N 136°E (visit #1)  

#1: A view of the confluence N36 E136

(visited by Fabrice Blocteur)

Japanese Narrative

English Narrative

02-Mar-2003 -- One month after visiting the confluence of N35 & E135, I decided to go confluence hunting again by trying to locate N36 & E136. I left Maizuru located in northern Kyoto prefecture, and drove my motorbike northeastward along the Japan Sea coast on a sunny but chilly (5° C) Sunday morning. After three hours and almost 100 kilometers I finally reached the village of Koshino where the confluence is located. The sea to the west and relatively steep mountain slopes to the east flank that small community with a population of about 2,000.

There was another reason why I wanted to come here: narcissus. This part of Fukui prefecture, blessed with breathtaking views of the Sea of Japan, is famous throughout the country for its narcissus, or daffodil. At this time of the year, the mountains slopes near the Echizen beaches are carpeted with white narcissus, their fragrance drifting on the winter wind.

In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a beautiful boy who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water and was turned into a lovely white flower. In Japan, legend has it that a beautiful young maiden threw herself into the sea at Ikura in Koshino village in the Heian Period (794-1185) and became a narcissus. Not surprisingly, the village is known as the birthplace of the Japanese narcissus. And this flower has placed Koshino on the world map. The Echizen Narcissus Park was built a few years ago, with a Narcissus Museum and a Narcissus Dome, and the World Narcissus Congress was held here in 1996.

I visited the park and from there I turned my GPS on, checked that it was set on WGS84 and was glad to see that the confluence was only 1.5 kilometers away, although probably nestled high up in the mountain. According to the map, the point was supposed to be near the Garagara mountain camping grounds. I followed the signs leading to that location and realized before entering the camp that I was still more than 1 kilometer away from the spot. I took a narrow mountain road branching off on the right and winding up north throughout the forest. I passed the very small hamlet of Akasaka with no more than half a dozen houses and got very close to N36°00'00 but unfortunately still very far from E136°00'00. I tried several other small roads which all took me to dead ends, the middle of nowhere or further away from the confluence. As I was about to give up and started to come back down toward the hamlet, I noticed a very narrow dirt road and decided to give it a final trial. I got lucky. The GPS giving me a near perfect latitude position, I got closer and closer until finally reaching E136°00'02. At that point the road turned north again. I got off the motorbike, went down the slope for a few meters and reached the confluence located among Japanese cedars.

As it was getting late, I quickly took a few pictures, came down the mountain and headed back along the coast toward Maizuru. The sun was now setting on the Sea of Japan. Reaching Wakasa Bay two hours later, I decided to make a final stop before getting home. If narcissus is believed to mark the middle and end of winter, the Omizu-okuri ceremony in Obama is known to mark the coming of spring. I spent the rest of the evening at the ceremony, drinking amazake and walking with hundreds of people carrying torches down a winding road near Jinguji temple overlooked by a myriad of stars.

Japanese Narrative






Translated by Naohiko Kurahashi

 All pictures
#1: A view of the confluence N36 E136
#2: Village of Koshino
#3: Hamlet of Akasaka
#4: The closest we can get with a vehicle
#5: Narcissus
#6: Heading back home
#7: Mountain slopes near the confluence
#8: Echizen coast
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)