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Writer:Tomoaki Murata

Born on July 6, 1974.
Living in Manazuru town, Kanagawa prefecture.
Hi, I'm Tomoaki. I like hiking in moutains, nature and wonderful things. I'll introduce mainly great spots in Manazuru town and neighboring areas. It's my pleasure if you enjoy them.

Manazuru Town

June 12, 2015

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The view of Manazuru Peninsula from Jukkoku Pass, Atami city

Outline

Manazuru Town, Ashigarashimo County, Kanagawa
Located in Western Kanagawa, Manazuru town is situated on a small peninsula encompassed by Sagami Bay. It takes 1 hour and 30 minutes from Tokyo station to Manazuru station via JR Tokaido line.
About 7800 people live in a small area of 7.04 square kilometers.
The town is surrounded by well-known tourist spots such as Odawara City, Yugawara Town and Hakone Town.
The main attractions of Manazuru are “Ohayashi”, a large sacred forest and “Mitsuishi”, a symbolic rock formation.
You can swim in the ocean during the summertime and explore the rocky shores or go fishing at any time throughout the year!
Manazuru is the most crowded during the Kibune Festival; one of the three major boat festivals in Japan that is held on July 27th and 28th every year.


Manazuru Port


Hydrangeas at Setomichi

Manazuru Town was the first town in Japan that was designated as a landscape administrative body. It is well known by architects because of its establishment of unique regulations on town building that led to the construction of the beautiful town.
Since long ago, Manazuru Port has prospered as a natural harbor. The mortar-shaped area around the harbor is a densely packed residential area with narrow alleys that cut through the neighborhood called “Setomichi”.

Main industry


A quarry for Honkomatsu-ishi stone

Manazuru's main industry is quarrying Honkomatsu-ishi stone, an exquisite stone found in the mountainous regions of Japan. It is said that quarrying in Manazuru began in 1156, near the end of Heian period (794 - 1185). The stone was used to build the stone walls of the great Edo Castle (the present-day Imperial Palace)! The high-grade stone is also used for constructing gravestones.
Manazuru is also blessed with amazing and fresh seafood from the sea.

Ohayashi


Large trees in Ohayashi

Forests of about 35 hectares called “Ohayashi” are located at the tip of the Manazuru Peninsula. Black pines were planted by the Odawara Domain about 350 years ago, near the beginning of the Edo period. The area is now filled with 200 to 350 year-old large trees such as black pines, Camphor trees and Castanopsis.
Ohayashi has been guarded carefully as a sacred place by residents of Manazuru Town. It is designated as a prefectural natural park and a fish-breeding forest (a coastal forest that encourages fish breeding). Walking paths are plentiful so you can experience all of the forest's wonders on one of the leisurely trails.

Mitsuishi Rocks


“Mitsuishi”, a symbolic rock formation

The legendary Mitsuishi Rocks are located just beyond Ohayashi. It's called "Mitsuishi" because of the three gigantic rocks sticking out from the water ("mittsu" means "three" and "ishi" means "rock"). There is a rocky path up to the 3 giant rocks that disappears and reappears according to the tide. The path is an example of a tombolo formation.
You can cross the path on foot but be aware that there is a possibility that you won't be able to return back to shore because of rising tide levels.


The sunrise on New Year's Day rising from the Mitsuishi Rocks

At the beginning of the year the place is crowded with people who venture out to see the sunrise on New Year's Day rising from the Mitsuishi Rocks.



A moonlight night in Manazuru Port

The awesome part about Manazuru Town is that the weather is comfortably mild and warm all year-round! It is very quiet at night and the moon rising from the sea is relaxing and wonderful. It is full of great things that you'll only begin to understand when you start living in the town.

The Kibune Festival


The Kibune Festival

The Kibune Festival is one of the three major boat festivals in all of Japan! The festival is actively celebrated on July 27th and 28th every year.
A portable shrine (mikoshi) from Kibune Shrine crosses the sea via a beautifully decorated ship and is carried on the shoulder of the locals throughout the port town. In my opinion the most exciting part of the festival is when the portable shrine is carried down the long Kibune Shrine staircase and subsequently back up again on the last day. It's amazing to see what great feats raw manpower can accomplish!


The Kibune Festival

Seafood


Seafood served on a boat-shaped plate

Manazuru is blessed with having locally caught fresh and scrumptious seafood!
I recommend trying some gourmet seafood served on a boat-shaped plate.

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