Iwai - a sea-bathing town in off-season

Iwai is located on the west coast of Boso Peninsula, facing Tokyo Bay. As I knew only a small part of the town near the lodging for Torakyo training camps, I decided to take a few hours before the training and walk around to see more of the town.

Iwai constituted the main part of the municipality Tomiyama till Tomiyama was merged with six other municipalities and formed Minami-boso city in 2006 in the context of the nationwide promotion of municipality merger. However, Minami-boso city includes only the provincial and peripheral areas surrounding Tateyama city, the center of south Boso Peninsula, and it is not easy to see the unity of the city.

Tomisan seen over the hedge of inumaki (fern pine)
Within the Tomiyama district, Mt. Tomisan is relatively known in relation to the famous epic novel "Nanso Satomi Hakkenden" written by Kyokutei Bakin (1767-1848). The story starts in a cave of Mt. Tomisan, where Princerss Fusehime lived with Yatsufusa, a super dog. However, the town area of Iwai has no particular place to visit. It is simply a town with a long peaceful beach and hundreds of ordinary wooden houses.

The houses are protected from sea wind by pine trees planted on the dune along the beach. Though the color of beach sand is not much praised white but light brown, the quiet Tokyo Bay and low and gentle mountains make the landscape very peaceful.

The inhabitants used to make their living by fishing and now by servicing sea bathers in summer. Boso is not a destination of rich and sophisticated people and the quality of service corresponds to the kinds of visitors.

Sheds for fishing equipment
A pass going through the dune
Anyhow, Iwai is one of the most popular destinations in South Boso and even special express trains stop at its station. On the large direction board in front of the station building a sales message is written; "Welcome to Iwai, town of minshuku". Minshuku are private houses offering bed and meals at reasonable prices. It appears that more than half of the houses of Iwai are minshuku. Daikenkan, our regular lodging, is one of the large minshuku in Iwai and tries to attract hobby music groups in off-seasons by offering rehearsal rooms and a series of heavy instruments such as timpani and contrabass.

Iwai is quiet in October. There were only dozens of fishers and a couple of families and I could not see any other people. Seagulls flocked together on the beach.

However, several things disturbed me: garbage on the coast and newly built holiday villas. Most garbage must have been dumped by sea bathers and hobby fishers. Should I complain the bad manner of those people or should I appeal to the local people to try to keep their sea cleaner?

A villa with sandy wall, as if it were just cut out from a cliff
Some villas on the coast looked Spanish and others presumably Middle Eastern. Another villa area, now open for purchase, appears to be Mediterranean according to the internet site of the real estate company concerned. I believe that many people are happy to see new and exotic villas on the coast, because they can feel as if they were in Spain or Morocco without flying many hours and struggling with foreign languages. Maybe, the future sales message of Iwai will be "Welcome to Iwai, Cote d'Azur of Japan".