Sacred Destinations


Trip Mission

Today is my special voyage. I began with an early rise at 6 am. I made my way to Nagoya Station where I stowed my Mandarake bag after purchasing a ticket on the Kintetsu Line for Toba. Toba is my secret destination for today. It is the location of Odo Island as depicted in the first Godzilla movie. I believed it was special to travel there now because Godzilla turns 70 next year and the new movie will take us back to pre-war Godzilla in 1949. There was no better way and place to commemorate and celebrate Godzilla than to start where it all began. During the train ride I immersed myself in the experience by listening to the original movie soundtrack.

Let’s step back in time on that dark night, the eve of Godzilla’s landfall on Odo Island. According to the legend of Odo Island, Godzilla was responsible for the downturn in fishing. Fears gave way to the performance of the local kagura at the shrine. That shrine is Kata Shrine, where we begin today. The Kata Shrine is where the Shinto priests perform their ritual dance and song of exorcism of Godzilla from their waters.

To get there I took the Kintetsu line from Nagoya to the Toba Station. The Kata Shrine is only a short walk from the station entrance. Following that, I began my search for Godzilla’s first appearance and departure. I boarded a small bus at the Toba Aquarium for a 30-minute ride through a part town and mountain area up to Daiichi Hotel. As the bus went up and around winding through the mountain I saw what appeared to be the beach where Godzilla departed. Then there was a stop that looked like the location of the hill where Godzilla first appeared. I wanted to get out but it was too late. I had to stick to the map and the first determined destination. I exited right at the port background location where Dr Yamane and others saw Godzilla appear. But this was not my intention to stop. I was stoked because it was perfect, but it was a minor and bonus place on my list to visit. And It was not a hill which was my top priority, only second to Kata shrine. Then the perfect day ended.

I realized I was what out in nowhere and WiFi was sketchy at best. The returning bus was scheduled in about 20 minutes. So I went back to what I thought was the hill. But shortly after exiting the bus I realized this was not the hill. The next bus was not scheduled to arrive for over an hour. I contemplated going back to find the right hill. But the time and delay were terrible. I would have had to wait about two hours and then upon arrival at the hill I would have to walk 7 minutes to the next bus stop which I had no help from Google maps to catch the next bus which was coming soon. If I missed that bus I would have been stranded on the mountain for at least another hour with early evening approaching. My late return to Nagoya would have left me no time to document my old neighborhood. And my arrival back to Tokyo would have been after 8 pm. I made the right decision and got on the return bus but with deep disappointment.

I made it back to Nagoya where I successfully recorded my walk to and from my old apartment. I walked by the seminary that had been outfitted with the new logo I created for them over a year ago. After a brief meal at my go-to McDonalds and a pass by Nana-chan, I was back on the Shinkansen to Tokyo. I was completely exhausted after a long day of walking, searching and waiting.

Then at 4 o’clock in the morning I got a great idea to go to Osaka on Sunday from the location of Godzilla’s first appearance. I was able to work out all the details using Google maps. Now that I know what to expect I can get there and get out.

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