Thursday, March 9, 2017

Chugoku Sanyo, San-in 中国地方山陽、山陰 - Mizuki Shigeru Road 水木しげるロード

Visited 20.04.2015 (Mon)

Themed road. As the name suggests, this is a road dedicated to the late artist, Mizuki Shigeru, the creator of Gegege no Kitaro ゲゲゲの鬼太郎, the popular manga series featuring "yokai" otherwise known as spirits and monsters. Start your yokai expedition as soon as you step out from Sakaiminato JR Station and followed this route till you reach Mizuki Shigeru Museum. For newbies like myself, a trip to Sakaiminato city is the first step to better understand the background of Mizuki Shigeru who stayed here during his adolescent days and his well-received manga series created during his lifetime. There are numerous shops lined along the sides of Mizuki Shigeru Road, selling merchandise featuring characters from Gegege no Kitaro and the extensive line up of goods will definitely make anyone spoilt for choice.


Yokai Jinja. I am always impressed by the amount of effort invested by the locals to create such themed street. Scrutinising the high extensive level of details usually left me in bewilderment and I am always bombarded by the question "How did they think of that?" in my mind. For example, it is weird to know of the existence of a yokai shrine (妖怪神社), but its presence seemed legitimate and appropriate when situated along Mizuki Shigeru Road. Before entering the unconventional torii bearing the image of Itta-momen (一反もめん), visitors can first cleanse their hands at Medama Oyaji Kiyome no mizu (目玉おやじ清めの水), make up of a water fountain which intelligently used Medama Oyaji, the father of Kitaro, as the rolling ball in the center.     

Yokai expedition. Throughout the entire stretch of road, there are more than 100 bronze statues depicting the yokai which have appeared in the popular manga series. The Yokai Guide Book 妖怪ガイドブック, which can be purchased from the tourist information center located on the first level of Minatosakai Koryukan みなとさかい交流館, will come in handy at this point of time to better understand the origin of these yokai. With the same guide book, you can also embark on a yokai expedition by collecting the inked stamps from counters/stalls scattered at different parts of Mizuki Shigeru Road. While strolling along the road, you will also be "haunted" by the sound of the kuta (Japanese wooden clogs) wore by Kitaro, easily mistaken as someone following you at the back! Do keep a lookout for people donned in character costumes patrolling along the street whom you can approach for photos to be taken.


Mizuki Shigeru Road 水木しげるロード
Stretch of road between Sakaiminato JR Station 境港駅 and Mizuki Shigeru Museum 水木しげる記念館.

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