the Degree Confluence Project

Japan : Kinki

30.3 km (18.8 miles) NNW of Inuga-zaki (Cape), Kyotango-shi, Kyōto-fu, Kinki, Japan
Approx. altitude: 0 m (0 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest OpenStreeMap ConfluenceNavigator)
Antipode: 36°S 45°W

Accuracy: 20 m (65 ft)
Quality: better pictures needed

Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: View to the west #3: View to the south #4: View to the north #5: Three GPS readings #6: Sanae Hashimoto, Hatsue Imagawa & Tadashi Hashimoto #7: Horse mackerel fishing #8: Tango peninsula #9: Kamaya Coast from Kyoga Misaki Lighthouse #10: The Meridian Bodhisattva

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  36°N 135°E  

#1: Confluence 36N 135E

(visited by Fabrice Blocteur, Sanae Hashimoto, Tadashi Hashimoto and Hatsue Imagawa)

Japanese Narrative

06-Aug-2005 -- Although this confluence is the nearest to the place where I’ve been living for the past few years, I had never had any real intentions of going there. The main reason being that it’s located, as mentioned by the DCP, “way out in the water (and) whether it is visible may depend on atmospheric conditions, the quality of your camera, and the distance of your camera above sea level.” At a distance of 30 km from land, I was fairly certain that even on a clear day with perfect weather conditions one would be unlikely to see the land from the confluence.

However, when I first met Sanae Hashimoto and told her about the DCP, she found the project very exciting and after talking to her husband, Tadashi, and Hatsue Imagawa, one of their friends who owns a fishing boat, they made a plan for the four of us to visit that confluence together.

Our first attempt, planned for July 31st, was canceled due to rain and postponed until the following Saturday. On that day the weather was partially cloudy, hot and somewhat humid, making the visibility not entirely perfect. We nevertheless decided to give it a try and left the small harbor of Satohami at around 15:30 aboard the Hatsuryo Maru, one of the fastest boats in the area. At a speed of around 20 knots (35 km/h) we headed for the confluence by going north along the Kamaya Coast on the eastern edge of the Tango Peninsula. This deeply indented coast has spectacular scenic beauty with sheer cliffs and nice beaches facing the Sea of Japan on one side and mountains on the other side.

After passing Kyoga Misaki Lighthouse, that marks the tip of the Tango Peninsula and which light is supposed to be seen from a distance of 55 km, we headed northwest. As anticipated the coastline started to fade away in the haze shortly after and, with more than 15 km still to cover before reaching the point, it completely vanished. But we had already been at sea for more than an hour and with less than thirty minutes to go we decided to try to make it all the way to the point.

As seen on the pictures, no land can be seen on the horizon from the confluence. It’ll be up to the DCP coordinator to decide whether 36°N 135°E can still be qualified as a primary confluence or be changed to secondary. I nevertheless think that on a perfect clear day, although it doesn’t occur very often in this part of Japan, it might be possible to just about catch sight of the Tango Peninsula coastline.

It started to get dark and we slowly made our way back to port. However, before reaching Satohami we made a final stop to fish some aji, or horse mackerel, quite abundant in this area. I’ve never been patient enough to enjoy fishing but I must say that for the first time in my life I truly enjoyed it. After spotting a large school of mackerel on the sonar, the captain stopped the engine and dropped the anchor. Then he plunged a fishing line in the ocean to a depth of 60 meters with several hooks attached to it. After only a few seconds, I pulled in the line using a small electric motor and saw half a dozen wriggling and glittering aji coming out of the water.

Note: picture #10 was taken three weeks later on Sunday 28th in the small hamlet of Nakayama in Hyogo prefecture. The sign on the right says that the statue is Shigosen Kannon (Meridian Bodhisattva). In July 1886, the law prescribing Japanese Standard Time was promulgated. The time at 135°E longitude was designated as Japan Standard Time. The statue is located along that meridian, half way between 36°N 135°E and 35°N 135°E, the first confluence that I visited on February 2003. A few months later I also visited 34°N 135°E, the third confluence located in Japan along that same meridian.

Japanese Narrative

06-Aug-2005 -- 今回挑戦したコンフルエンスは 私がこの数年住んでいる場所から一番近いところにあるもので、今までそこに行ってみようと思ったことはなかった。というのもDCPでも、‘水の辺境。見えるかどうかというのは大気の状況やカメラの質、海抜からのカメラの距離によって決まる。’と紹介されていたからでもある。確かに陸から30KMの距離で晴れた日でもなかなかコンフルエンスは見えないだろうと私も確信していた。

しかしながら、初めて橋本早苗さんに会ったときにDCPの話をしたところ このプロジェクトに興味を示し、旦那さんである忠(ただし)さんと漁船を持っている友人、今川初衛(はつえ)さんに話を持ちかけ、 結局4人でこのコンフルエンスに挑戦することになった。

第一回目の挑戦は7/31であったが、雨の為に翌週に延期された。当日、天気はやや曇り、暑く湿気もある日で視界が完全ではなかったが、挑戦してみることにした。午後三時半、この周辺では最新の装備を備えた初漁丸(はつりょうまる)で里波見港(さとはみ)出向した。20ノット(約35km/時間) のスピードで丹後半島のかまや海岸沿いを北に進んだ。かまや海岸は 丹後半島の東端にある。 かまや海岸沿いの深く入り組んだ海岸線は一方に日本海に向かう断崖絶壁とビーチ、反対には山というすばらしい景色が広かる。

丹後半島の先端である 経ヶ岬灯台(きょうがみさき)を通過し、北西に舵を取った。予想通り、海岸線がぼんやりとしはじめ、コンフルエンスまで15kmほどの地点では完全に消えてしまった。 海に出てからもうすでに一時間以上経過していたのでコンフルエンスまで30分以内でいけるだろうという判断をし向かうことにした。


まもなく暗くなってきたので ゆっくり港に向かったが 里波見に戻る前に、アジを釣るために船を停めた。この地域は アジがよく捕れる。今まで私自身は釣りを楽しむ根気はなかったが、今回私の人生で初めてほんとうに釣りを楽しんだ。 船長がアジの群れのいるところにアンカーを下ろし、約60mの深さまで釣り針の付いた網を落とした。数秒の後、私が電気モーターで網を引き上げるとキラキラしたアジが水から引き上げられた。 

写真#10 は8/28(日)に兵庫県の中山の小村にて撮影しました。(右の文字:子午線観音)1886年7月 日本の基準時間が公表された。東経135度線の時間が日本標準時間とされた。銅像は子午線北緯36度東経135度と北緯35度東経135度の真ん中に位置している。2003年2月初めてコンフルエンスを挑戦したときの写真である。 数ヶ月後、北緯34度東経135度にも挑戦したが、これは3つ目の挑戦で、日本にある同じ子午線上のコンフルエンスだ。

Translated by Shizuka Nishimura

 All pictures
#1: Confluence 36N 135E
#2: View to the west
#3: View to the south
#4: View to the north
#5: Three GPS readings
#6: Sanae Hashimoto, Hatsue Imagawa & Tadashi Hashimoto
#7: Horse mackerel fishing
#8: Tango peninsula
#9: Kamaya Coast from Kyoga Misaki Lighthouse
#10: The Meridian Bodhisattva
ALL: All pictures on one page
In the ocean, but with a view of land.