Eye of Engetsu
The bright morning had grown into a lovely afternoon. I was in the mood for a long walk, so I left the white sands of Shirahama Beach and started my walk towards Engetsu Island. Engetsu Island is a small white sandstone island just off Shirahama’s coast in Wakayama Prefecture. From the beach, it took me about 30 minutes to reach the viewpoint. Buses are available but they arrive at long intervals.
The rock island’s formal name is Takashima, but it is widely known as Engetsuto, which is literally translated to “round moon island”. This is due to the round-shaped arch in the center of the island. Along the coast there are several points where stairs lead down into the rock formations. It was still early so I walked past the sunset viewpoint towards the end of the coastline. On the way I passed an aquarium and a Glass boat ride. The rides on the glass boat are scheduled at hourly intervals. I had a free ticket to the glass boat from my all day pass but I was not going to miss the sunset. As I walked past the dock, I saw a cave at the edge of the coast. I had some 30 minutes on my clock so I went inside. It’s a small cave that opens up towards the sea.
After grabbing a Coke from a nearby vending machine, I started my walk back to the viewpoint.
The tide was low and the rocks are a perfect place to sit and gaze at this marvel of nature. I went down and sat at one of the rocky edges nearest to the sunset point. At times the tide goes so low that people can walk to the island, but it is forbidden because the island is not very stable and sea urchins lying on the sea-bottom can cause injuries. The island’s sandstone rocks have become less stable throughout the years The arch was artificially repaired in 2011 to make it earthquake-proof. I sat there for some time, lost in the stunning beauty amidst the sea.
As the sun slowly descended, I went up the stairs to the viewpoint. A small crowd had gathered, mostly locals. The sun was almost ready to show itself inside the hollow arch, so I quickly set up my gear and got ready for the iconic shot. Some thick clouds on the horizon did not allow the sun to stay for long. It came and went away so fast, but I got my shot!
After the sunset I walked back towards the beach. Buses are rare this side of the town and I hoped to have better luck getting one from Shirahama beach. I got a bus at the crossroads. I went back to the station and waited for the Kuroshio Express. It was dark already. Because I walked to most of the places, I didn’t use the bus pass to its full extent. The train arrived on time and I was on my way back home.
The sunset at Engetsu is like a cherry topping. If you are in Shirahama, it a must visit place. An all day bus pass costs 1100 Yen. It covers all the major attractions in Shirahama including the thrilling Sandanbeki cliffs.
Thanks for reading. Please do leave me a comment if you liked the post follow my story as I come back to Wakayama in a couple of days to visit the magnificent Nachi Falls.