When I saw the sun set into Sea of Japan from Sasakawa Nagare, I suddenly feel sad and cried out “Mom! Oh, mother!” without thinking.
Sasakawa Nagare is a coastline of about 11km at Sanpoku area of Murakami where is in the northern tip of Niigata Prefecture. This coastline is a place of scenic beauty which has fantastically shaped rocks, solitary islands, caves etc., which eroded by the waves of Sea of Japan continues. Also it is one of the most famous coastal scenic spots and selected as one of 100 Landscapes of Japan. In 1927, it was designated as a national site of scenic beauty and natural monument of Japan.
Since the tide and river flowing into the sea meets and it flow like swelling between the rocks, so it is started to be called as “Sasakawa Nagare” after the name of former Sasakawa village (the village existed until 1889).
When you see the ocean from Sasakawa Nagare, you can see the whole Awashima island in front. This is a small island floating in Sea of Japan and its circumference is about 23km. There is a ferry to Awashima island from Iwafune port near Senami hot spring.
On the coast of Sasakawa Nagare, National Route 345 (Nihonkai Sunset Line) and JR Uetsu Main Line run in parallel. Since National Highway 345 run while keeping Japan Sea as its side, it will be an ideal road as a driving course. Because it runs next to the sea, you can feel the splash of the sea all over the car in heavy weather.
After passing the precipitous cliffs, there is the promenade. In the age when there were no National Highway or railroads, this promenade was a village road. There are starting points at Sasakawa village and Itagai village. The journey takes about 1 hour. The sunset view at Sasakawa Nagare seeing from the promenade is a scenic point where you can enjoy a romantic atmosphere.
Sasakawa Nagare is a leisure spot where you can also enjoy swimming, camping and fishing and some more activities.
About 11km of Sasakawa Nagare (from Mt.Torigoe in Hamashinbo to Kitsunezaki in Samukawa), there are six swimming beaches in all, including Sasakawa Beach. The color of the ocean is cobalt blue. It has high transparency and fine white sand beach so all beaches are very popular.
There are large and small strange rocks such as eyeglasses rock, dinosaur rock, lion rock (Oshishi Iwa) and folding screen rock. I recommend you to see them from a pleasure cruiser.
In the end of Heian era, MINAMOTO no Yoshitsune pursued by his older brother MINAMOTO no Yoritomo. When he tried to escape to Oshu (Current Iwate Prefecture), it is said that he passed the coast near Sasakawa Nagare with a small boat. In Sasakawa Nagare, there are variety of legends related to Yoshitsune such as a “Kimimodoshi Rock (Calling back rock)” that a servant called Yoshitsune back to show the beautiful scenery to him. There is also a “Nitari Rock (Grinning rock)” that is said Yoshitsune grinned when he saw that rock.
The sunset of Sasakawa Nagare draw nostalgic feeling.
The road station “Sasakawa Nagare” is a unique road station that is located alongside of JR Uetsu Main Line “Kuwagawa Station”, “Yuhi Kaikan (Sunset Hall)” at the road station is a facility built on the theme of the sunset in Sea of Japan. “Sunset Bridge” crossing National Highway 345 from the second floor of Yuhi Kaikan is connected to “Sunset Terrace”. At there, you can overlook Sea of Japan. It is said that you will be successful in love by putting a padlock on the terrace fence.
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