On the agenda for today is to see the Oarai Isosaki Shrine. This is located right along the coast, just outside of Oarai City. The shrine was constructed in 856 A.D.
and is famous for not one, but three Torii gates, facing the Ocean. I plan on spending most of the day there, with sundown being high tide for my photo taking.
Tonight, I'll get a glimpse of the backside beauty that is the land of the rising sun.
Before I make the quick jaunt to Oarai City, I find a nearby vending machine to get myself the obligatory morning boost.
Up to this point, I've only seen machines with different varieties of beverages and snacks. I know that I'll encounter more diverse, and exotic, machines in the major cities.
Some of them I'm sure that will be intriguing, if not puzzling. Nevertheless, I chose a new energy drink for today's fuel.
The drink of choice is a jelly-type, pouch drink. The machine had 5 different varieties of the product, mine being of the energy variety.
While it doesn't go down like a fine wine, the clunky, paste texture of the jelly should serve as a nice boost to the system.
These pouches double as meal replacements, so I'm hoping that it'll be enough to get me to supper time.
Onto my drive for the day... According to the GPS, it's roughly 20 minutes from Mito to the shrine.
As much as I enjoy accumulating miles on the DZed, this leg of the trip will give me a nice reprieve from the lengthy commutes.
The short jaunt to Oarai City passes and with a brief pit stop in the city, the DZed carries me over to the coast, just within reach of the shrine.
As I enter the area, one unusual thing stands out to me. In front of the shrine are a trio of frog-looking statues.
Typically, shrines like this would have some sort of dog or cat as their guard statues. However, Oarai Isosaki appears to have frogs.
Upon further discovery, it turns out that the frog "kaeru", is based on a play on words that loosely translates to "return home".
Apparently, it's the Shrine's way of wishing everyone a safe visit.
As I wander my way closer to the beach, the three gates arise from the rocky terrain. According to local legend, two gods came down at this location and helped create the country.
In honor of this occasion, the shrine has been dedicated to them.
Perhaps the most astounding part of the shrine is how the three different gates are built on top of the jagged rock formations, constantly being inundated by the cold ocean water.
While the shrine has been destroyed once before, the gates have been long-standing remnants of a bygone era.
The fact that structures this old are still standing, on uneven ground, with the water constantly hitting them, is quite an example of ingenuity and build quality.
The sun starts to go down and I snap my first set of photos, aiming towards the Ocean.
The orange glimmer of the sun meets the purple hue of the clouds in such a majestic formation and the gates serve as the ideal spot for capturing this moment.
Minutes of photo-taking turns into a few hours of sheer awe. Sunsets are beautiful, regardless of the setting, but this view is something unique.
In one view of this sunset, you see everything that mother nature has to offer. The ever-vibrant orange sun, tucking itself into the billowing clouds.
The relentless waves, crashing against the immovable boulders of mass. The synergy of this landscape is so peaceful.
I'm glad I'm staying nearby, as I don't want to miss a minute of this occasion. Aside from this impeccable sight, the sunrise from this view is one that I couldn't miss.
Tomorrow morning should be the nicest wake-up call that I've had on this trip.
After what seems like eons, the sun finally retreats for the night and I'm forced to hit the hay. Words can't describe how beautiful the view from that beach was.
It's not hard to see why this is such a picturesque locale for weddings and special ceremonies.
It makes me ponder, how would this experience be different with a family? Would my loved ones appreciate such a view and admire the qualities of it, as much as I do?
There comes a point in every solo traveler's journey where they do get lonely.
They harken back to times where they were surrounded by the camaraderie of their friends, creating and cultivating memories.
The moments of great joy, individually, are often complemented by times of longing for commemorative interaction. Fortunately, the latter moments are few and fleeting.
The beauty of these solo adventures is that the self immersion forces immense personal growth, like pressure creating a fine diamond.
With all of that said, it's time to go to bed. Tomorrow, I'll get a peek at the sunrise here at the shrine and will then proceed to the Hitachi Seaside Park.
I'll be trading the Ocean for Sea of Flowers... Supposedly...
Thanks and have a good night!