Friday, 7 May 2010

The coast road - Tsugaru peninsula

From Shirakami sanchi we continued north.  There is a an alpine road that goes east towards Hirosaki but it's only traversable in the late spring and summer.   The road we took  follows the  coastline closely much of the way to the tip of the Tsugaru peninsula.  In parts it is a very thin strip between the coast and the mountains and much concrete has been used to reinforce the escarpments / embankments to prevent landslides.  The road along the coastal strip was notable for the lack of convenience stores, lack of pachinko parlours and lack of conspicuous? temples and shrines. * Once we were north of the rice growing area, the main industry seemed to be squid fishing and selling.  Lots of shops selling yaki-squid,  with squid hung out on drying racks  next door.
Looking north from the top of Akita prefecture.  The black soil seemed to be natural and not the result of any immediate pollution.... That said though,  Japan Sea coast gets a lot of debris washed up - that which doesn't originate locally is mostly from Korea, Russia and China. 
Looking south down the coast.  The land behind is steep, the precipitation high making the area vulnerable to landslides and in need of reinforcement.
Very pretty coastline, the Gono line railway runs parallel to the road several metres away.  The escarpment  or should that be embankment next to the road is a concrete grid to stop landslides.  There is an awful lot of concrete used along the coast in particular, but also in general.  Dogs and Demons, a contraversial and perhaps cynical book written by an American in Japan, is a detailed expose of the motivation for concreting and public works.
Rice fields next to the sea
Squid boats - identifiable as squid boats by the lanterns on the side - squid are attracted to light.
Squid in a fish tank at a tourist information / rest centre
Bense Wetlands   - Apparently this kind of wetland is unusual in its close proximitiy to the beach. Clicking on the link will take you to summer pictures that are more impressive.  Winter is only just over on the Tsugaru peninsula. Much of the area around here is used for greenhouse melon and strawberry cultivation.

Cape Tappi - the northern most point of  Tsugaru hanto (peninsula).
There has to be a t-shirt in this!

* Tsugaru does have a major shrine -  Takayama inari jinja -  but I left my camera in the car....  It attracts donations from nearby prefectures as well as locally,  mostly from people who are wanting good fortune in their business... judging by the state of northern Tohoku's economy I wonder at its efficacy...

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