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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

N35&E135ポイントを訪れた1ヶ月後、次にN36&E136ポイントを見つけ出そうと思いました。寒い日曜の朝(気温5度)舞鶴(京都北部)から単車を日本海にそって北東に走らせ3時間後、100Kmほど行った所でやっとN36&E136ポイントがあるだろう越廼村にたどり着きました。福井県にある西側に海をかまえ、かなり傾斜のきつい山の東側にある人口2000人ほどの小さな集落です。

この地を訪れたもう一つの理由は、この福井県が日本海の壮大な眺めと同様にスイセン、ラッパスイセンの花の産地としても有名だからです。1年の今の時期、越前岬の周辺の山々は白スイセンで覆われ、冬の風に乗りそのかぐわしいにおいが漂ってきます。

ギリシャ神話で、スイセンは自分の姿にあこがれて水死した美青年ナルキッソスの化したものだと言われています。日本では、平安時代(794年ー1185年)越廼村で海に身を投げた美しく清らかな乙女の化身とされています。ですからこの村は日本のスイセンの原産地として、日本はもとより世界でも名前が知られているのは当然のことでしょう。数年前越前岬水仙ランド、水仙ミュージアム、水仙ドームがこの地に建てられ、そこで1996年世界水仙会議が開かれました。

スイセンランドを訪れそこで私のGPSを入ると、うれしいことに目的地はたった1.5Km先の山に囲まれた辺りでした。地図によればポイントはガラガラ山キャンプ場の近くだったので、キャンプ場への標識にしたがい約1Km手前までたどり着きました。そこからたくさんに枝分かれした森をぬける曲がりくねった道を進み、赤坂という5,6軒の家しかない集落を過ぎたところで、N36にとても近いところまでやって来ました。しかしE136にはまだまだ遠い道のりでした。それから私はいろいろと道を探し進みましたが、ほとんどが行き止まりにあたりどれもN36&E136ポイントにはあたらないものばかりでした。もうあきらめて帰路に着こうかと思った時、けもの道のような小さな道を見つけ、もう一度だけトライしてみようと再び踏み出しました。ようやくE136°00’02という目的地のごくごく近くまで来ているとGPSが示した時、そこからは道が北よりに伸び、そこで単車を降りそして数メートル下ったところで目的地に到着しました。

日も暮れかけていたのですば数枚の写真をとり山を降り帰路につきました。太陽が日本海に沈んで2時間ほどたったあと、最後の小休止を家に着く前にとりました。スイセンが冬の終わりを告げる物のように”お水送り”は春の訪れを告げる行事として知られており、その日の残りの時間は、その行事で甘酒を飲んで、何百人という松明を持った人達とたくさんの星をみわたせる神宮寺に向かい練り歩きました。

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)