Sightseeing spot in Ako City Part.3 -History and Nature

Here are some sightseeing and shooting spots where you can experience the history and nature of Ako City. Visit the historical spots of the Ozaki district, located east of the Chigusa River in the center of Ako City, the scenic view of Sakoshi, also known as Kitamae Bune Port, and the natural monument Ikushima, and the ancient ruins of the Aged District Let’s. At the end, we will show you some famous spots for Shinkansen shooting.

The center of Ako City is divided into three east and west by the flow of the Chigusa River and is connected by three bridges. The Ozaki area is on the east side of the river and is located across the Ako Bridge on the north side. First of all, let’s introduce the area where shrines and temples are gathered around the Ako Hachimangu Shrine in the Ozaki area.

[Ako Hachimangu]
An old shrine built in 1406, it was originally located in a different location in Ako City, but later moved to this location. In the Edo period, as the development of salt fields in the Ozaki area progressed, the scale was expanded in response to the faith of successive lords.

The scenery with a stone paved approach from Torii to the worship hall and a stone drum bridge on the way is very photogenic. On the Nagado that extends to the left and right of the main hall, an ema is displayed. Many of them are faded, but some of them are dated in the Edo period. You can also visit the interior of the worship hall.

[Oishi hand-planted haze]
In the precincts of Ako Hachimangu Shrine, there is a hazel tree that is reportedly hand-planted by Yoshio Oishi(Kuranosuke).

[The way of faith]
There is a signpost labeled “The Way of Faith” in front of the slope of the road that passes to the right of Ako Hachimangu Shrine. If you go up this hill, you will find shrines and temples such as Jinguji Temple, Nyorai Temple, Shiogama Shrine, Kotohira Shrine and Fumonji Temple.

[Shiogama Shrine]
Although it was enshrined by the Higashihama Enden, it was merged with Kotohira Shrine and Tenjin Shrine in Taisho 7 and moved to this place. It has become the present form after the reconstruction in 2008.

This temple is said to be the founding of Prince Shotoku, originally built on Mount Otakadai, but later moved to this place. The building of the main hall is new and has a modern structure, such as stained glass, and a cute illustration-touch picture of Unchu Kuyo Bosatsu.

However, the wooden Senju Kannon-zo statue enshrined in this temple was made in the first half of Heian and has been designated as an important cultural property of the country. It is said that what was originally enshrined at Jingoji Temple in Kyoto has been transferred to this temple after avoiding the fire. You can visit the temple by speaking to the temple (you can make a tour more securely by making a reservation by phone). These precious Buddha statues are usually prohibited from being photographed, but they can be photographed at this temple, so it may be a valuable place for photography lovers.

[Knot rock]
It is a rock in the precincts of Takarazaki Shrine, shaped like a rock cut into a wave on the coast, telling us that this place was once a coastline. Suddenly there is such a rock in the shrine precincts, and it is quite strange, and it is a unique scenery that is not often seen elsewhere.

It is said that Jingu Kogo met Great storm on the way back from the conquest of San Kan Seibatsu, and stood on this rock and read a “Norito” to quell the sea when he was on the verge of wrecking . “Norito” was corrupted to Knot rock.

It is a place where the Kuranosuke Oishi and his family temporarily lived for about two months from the time just before the end of Ako Castle to the departure to Kyoto Yamashina.

There is a pair of stones called Gyuseki and Baseki, originally located in the main garden of Honmaru, Ako Castle, and moved to this place after the Meiji Restoration. The stone is from Satsuma and is said to have been sent from Shimazu to Asano.

From here, I will tell you about the state of Sakoshi, a port town in the eastern part of Ako City. Today, it is famous as a production center for Sakoshi oysters, but it is a port town that has flourished since ancient times as a natural good port with a deep cove.

[Sakoshi cityscape]
This area, also known as the Kitamae ship port, flourished in the shipping business. There are still many traditional buildings left, and you can see the cityscape like a movie set. There are many spots that can be used for model photography as well as landscape photography.

After passing through the alley and going up to the back hill, there is a spot where you can see Sakoshi Bay across the roof of the town.

[Sakoshi Machinami Kan]
The old Okuto Bank was restored and was established as a tourist information center in Sakoshi. The large safe at that time is left inside and you can see it.

[Okuto Sake Brewery]
A sake brewery that has been around for 400 years since Keicho years. You can purchase Ako’s local sake “Chushingura”.

[Okuto Local Museum]
At the local museum in the corner of the Okuto Sake Brewery, brewery tools, boating-related materials, and life tools that remain in the Okuto family are displayed.

[Kyu Sakoshi ura kaisyo]
This building was completed in Tempo 3 and was used as an administrative and commercial office. In addition, there was a role as a teahouse of Akohan. It has been open to the public since 1994 after restoration work.

[Osake Shrine]
The name is a different name from the Osake Shrine, Osake Daimyojin is a Kawakatsu Hatano who served the Prince Shotoku. Having arrived at this Sakoshi sea route to avoid persecution of Iruka Sogano  after the death of Prince.It became a “Osake” . There are many things to discover when taking pictures while paying close attention to details at a shrine with a unique atmosphere that is rarely seen elsewhere.

Go through the torii gate and follow the narrow approach to the shrine gate. Ema Hall extends from the worship hall to the left and right, and various ema are displayed. This structure is the same as Ako Hachimangu Shrine. There are many Ema on which Kitamae ships are drawn, which shows the prosperity of this place once.

In addition, 96 flowers, birds and beasts are drawn on the roof. It is also noteworthy that the Nio statue and the god are enshrined back to back at the Zuijinmon.

[Myokenji Kannon-do]
From Osake Shrine, you will arrive after walking steep hill for about 15 minutes. You can also go up by car.

It is a historic temple that the Gyoki group opened in the Nara era Tempyo Shoho year, and Kukai was promoted during the Heian era Daido year. The current building was rebuilt in the 7th year of Kyoho in the Edo period. The view of Sakoshi Bay is more beautiful at the summit of Mt. Hoju, which will be introduced later, but the scenery seen from the temple stage is quaint.

[Mount Hoju]
If you climb the mountain path further from Myokenji Kannon, you will reach the top of Mt. Hoju. You can also come here by car, but please be aware that it is a dirt road that is so narrow that it is difficult to pass by oncoming vehicles. The top of the mountain looks like a small square, but originally there was a castle called Chausuyama Castle.

From here, you can see the whole view of Ikushima and Sakoshi Bay. If you use a telephoto lens, you can clearly see the Osake Shrine’s Imperial Palace and Funakura in Ikushima. Ikushima was banned from logging trees as a sanctuary of the Osake Shrine, so the virgin forest was preserved and designated as a national natural monument. There is an old burial mound on the island, and it is said that it is a tomb of Kawanatsu Hatano.

Looking at the west direction, you can see the beautiful flow of the Chigusa River.


[Exploring the 88 Stone Buddha]
Around the top of Mt. Hoju, there are eighty-eight stone Buddhas, and you can enjoy a mountain walk while visiting them.

Une district are many ancient ruins in the northern part of Ako City where the rich nature remains and it is called “Ako City’s treasure house of cultural property”. Although it is an unusual place name, it is said to mean “a little higher” like the rice paddy field, but there are various theories.

[Une Archaeological Museum]
This is a museum that exhibits the cultural assets of Ako City from the Paleolithic period to the Middle Ages. Sankaku Enshinjyu kyo, which is said to be a mirror of Himiko, is also on display.

[Unehara / Tanaka Ruins]
Two large mound graves in the late Yayoi period have been preserved.  Large  ceremonial vessel stand  also been excavated, and replicas are arranged on the hill. The real thing can be seen at the Perennial Archaeological Museum introduced earlier.

It is said that the hill has a protruding part, and it is said that it is the prototype of the front and rear circle.

If you take a replica of an earthenware with the surrounding mountains in the background, you may be able to take interesting pictures.

[Higashi Une, Okita Ruins]
It is a complex ruins from the late Jomon period to the Muromachi period.Tateanashiki jukyo and Takayukashiki jukyo in the late Kofun period and large-scale Tateanashiki jukyo in the late Yayoi period are exhibited on the restoration.

[Tsukayama Old tomb]
Ako City’s largest old tomb, where more than 50 burial mounds have been found. It is somewhat mysterious that old tombs are scattered in the forest. There are many things that can see the inside of the side hole type stone chamber. Among them, No. 6 is the largest and has an unusual structure with partitions in the entrance.

[Takase-bune Lighthouse]
In 2018, the Takase-bune lighthouse in the precincts of the prestigious Hachiman Shrine was restored. The height is about 5 meters. Once this area was bustling as a post town “Une-yado”, there was an accumulation place for rice and salt carried by water transportation using Takase boat running on the Chikgusa River. For this reason, there was a lighthouse here.

The shipping of the Chigusa River continued until the Meiji period when it was replaced by the Ako Railway.

[Komyoji Temple]
Komyo-ji is a famous temple founded by Kobo Daishi during the Heian period. Stone buddha is lined up in the mossy grounds, and there is an emotion that can not be said at all with the sunbeams. It’s a great place to take photos.

[Komyoji Okunoin]
There are many precious cultural assets such as the Hokyointo, which has been inscribed in the Kamakura period.

Since the Kamakura period, it has been named Kurosawayama Komyo-ji and has been proud of its prosperity as a sanctuary for the guardian nation. During the Sengoku period, Burnt down by Amagoshi no soran, and after the reconstruction, there was inconvenience on the top of the mountain. At present, there is only a small hall, but there were many temples on this large site.

You can see the beautiful scenery through the trees.

[Ako Railway track]
The Ako Railway is a light railway that has been operating between Banshu Ako and the old years for about 30 years from Taisho 10 to 1951. The trace of the abandoned line is used as a road, but the part running along the Chigusa River in the Suse area of ​​prefectural road 525 is a narrow single road running through the forest, and the local railroad used to run The scenery is reminiscent of what will be, and it has become a popular spot for abandoned fans.

[Kiriyama Zuido]
In the Edo period, under the Ako castle in the estuary of the Chigusa River, even when a well was drilled, seawater boiled, making it difficult to secure drinking water. For this reason, the Ako Waterworks was constructed in 1616 by excavating the Kiriyama Passage, which is 104 meters long.

Since the intake changed later, this tunnel was used as agricultural water. In 1968, the entrance was covered with concrete due to the water improvement project. The interior remains the same as before, and it is still used as an irrigation channel even after about 400 years.

[Mt. Amako]
It was a mountain with an altitude of 259 meters, and there was a Amako castle in the past. The castle fell due to Mouri’s attack, and there is no castle ruins now.There is a shrine on the top of the mountain and the view is open so you can see the surroundings.

[Shinkansen shooting spot]
From the top of the prefectural road 457 crossing the Chigusa River, you can see a panoramic view of the Shinkansen running on the Chigusa River bridge. Soundproof walls and fences are not installed, making it a great shooting point.
However, the sidewalk is on the opposite side of the Chigusagawa Bridge, so you need to be careful because it is taken on the roadway.
The photo below was taken from the sidewalk.