Visit an island wrapped in nature and legend
When Kamomejima Island was still called Bentenjima, it was a natural fishing port and the stage for herring fishing and Kitamae ship trade.
It is no exaggeration to say that Esashi's history began with Kamomejima Island.
Now, this beautiful natural island designated as a special area of the Hiyama Hokkaido Prefectural Nature Park is loved by many as a symbol of Esashi.
Why don't you start your sightseeing in Esashi with a tour of Kamomejima Island, which raises 30m above sea level and has a circumfrence of 2.6km.
500 years ago, there was an old woman who made various prophecies. One day, the old woman was handed a small bottle from an old man at Kamomejima island. She threw the bottle into the see as she was taught, and groups of herring came to Esashi. This bottle turned into stone, and appeared in the sea and we now call it Heishi rock. The old woman began to be called Ms. Orii as people respected her like a god. During the Kamomejima island festival held on the first weekend in July every year, Japanese sacred straw rope with a length of 30m is hung on the rock by the youth in the town.
Due to erosion from the sea on the east side of Kamomejima island you can see a rock formation which looks like layered many tatami mats. This is called Senjojiki (laying 1000 tatami mats)
Esashi Oiwake Monument
This monument was built in 1932 by Mr Kojiro Takano, the head of Esashi Oiwake Association with help from 12 members and 13 submembers. The characters on the monument were written by Shinichi Sagami, the Hokkaido chief at the time. Around this time Esashi oiwake had spread throughout all of Japan.
The shrine was originally built in 1615 as a Benzaiten Shrine. For the purpose of wishing maritime safety for the boats. In 1868 it was renamed to Itsukushima shrine following agreement by the Kitamae ship members and of merchants. In the shrine, there is a monument which was built in 1814 to Matsuo Basho the Haiku poet. His Haiku (Japanese poem) is "IKAMESHIKI OTOYA ARARENO HINOKIGASA".
Namikiri Torii (Shrine gate)
In the era of Tenpo（1831 - 1845）, it was built as the first Torii gate of the Benzaiten shrine (later Itsukushima shrine) with another torii gate built by the union for maritime safety and prosperous business.
Later, it was damaged by waves, but part of it was lifted from the seabed and moved to the shrine.
Former Merchant Ship Mooring Site
In the past, the place where the Former Merchant Ship arrived at Esashi was the inland sea of Kamomejima Island, which protects the ship from the rough seas of the Sea of Japan.
There are still holes and mooring rings (rings through ropes) for mooring on the island rock that can be still seen today.
Former Merchant Ship Drinking Well
As Former Merchant Ship anchored at Kamomejima island they needed to secure drinking water for their next voyage. However, there was no water on the island and this was a problem. So in 1876, Mr Murakami a wholesaler in Esashi, decided to dig a well at huge time and expensive to bring convenience to the Former Merchant Ship anchoring at Kamomejima island.
Tokugawa government fort mark
In 1852, 2 sets of cannons for the coast guard were installed on Kamomejima island by the domain of Matsumae. However, only this mark is left at present.
Legend of Yoshitsune and the Uma Iwa (Horse Rock)
On the East side of Kamomejima Island, on the beach facing Ebisu Beach, there is a rock that looks like a white horse that has raised it's neck and is neighing at the shoreline. Yoshitsune, who was once chased by Minamotono Yoritomo from Oshu Hiraizumi escaped to Esashi. After living in Esashi for a while, he left his favourite horse at Kamomejima island and departed. However, his horse didn't leave the beach and stayed there through the rain and wind waiting for Yoshitsune to return but he never did. Legend has it the horse waited until it became a fossil which has now turned into the Uma Iwa (Horse Rock).
On Kamomejima island there is a sightseeing footpath that takes you to various sightseeing spots around the island. It takes about 2 hours to complete the walk even if you walk slowly. Along the walkway you will see wooden fences. These fences are made using Hokkaido wood which helps to prevent gobal warming while also helping the preservation of the forests.
Kamomejima lsland camp site
Kamomejima Island is an island just of the coast of Esashi which has a circumfrenece of around 2.6km and raises 30 meters above sea level. It is connected to Esashi by a breakwater. It is a designated special area of Hiyama Hokkaido Prefectural Natural Park. The view is beautiful and is a loved symbol of Esashi. There is a campsite on Kamomejima Island. To reach the site you will need to climb stairs, but the wonderful view is well worth the climb.
Kamomejima Island is also a great place for year round fishing. You can catch flat fish and Hokke (Okhotsk Atka Mackerel) in Spring, Aburako (Hokkaido Greenling) in Summer, Mackerel and Fukurage (young yellowtail) in Autumn and Hokke in Winter.
Oiwake Sightseeing Department
Esashi Town Office
Address: 193-1, Aza Nakauta-cho, Esashi-cho, Hiyama-gun, Hokkaido
Postal code: 043-8560