Art, nature, beauty abound on daytrip to Hirado and Ikitsuki Island, Nagasaki

Photos by Yashira M. Rodríguez Sierra
Photos by Yashira M. Rodríguez Sierra

Art, nature, beauty abound on daytrip to Hirado and Ikitsuki Island, Nagasaki

by Yashira M. Rodríguez Sierra
Stripes Okinawa

Ikitsuki Island is located in the western part of Kyushu and is linked by a bridge to Hirado. The island’s beautiful natural scenery, along the fishing and whale watching, attract many locals every year. This is also where, during the 17th and 18th centuries, Christians went underground for fear of persecution. They were known as the “Hidden Christians.”

The island is an hour drive from Sasebo Naval Base, so I hopped in the car recently to visit some wonder places in the area. One of those places was the Kyushu Nature Trail, which includes Shiodawara Cliffs. The cliffs are characterized by rows of huge pillars of columnar basalt, some reaching 20-meters tall. It was a very pleasant place to just enjoy nature as it is, stunning and calm.

After the cliffs, I stopped at the Sakai National Park Obaebana Lighthouse. From lighthouse’s observatory, I experienced one of the most peaceful and stunning views of the island toward the China Sea. If you decide to go on a visit, be advised that the wind from the sea is very strong. Also, the park is home to lots of butterflies, dragonflies, and all kinds of birds and insects. Because of that, wearing long sleeves and long pants is highly recommended.

My last stop for the day was the Luna Llena Glass Studio. Fumika Komatsu and Masahiko “Tombo” Kawabe founded the studio to create stained glass art and neon art. I took a glass charm workshop at the studio and created three different necklace charms inspired by flowers. At the workshop, I made a charm that looked like the camellia flower, which is one of the most important flowers in Japan’s culture, as well as one of the St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) flower and the blue Plumbago flower.

Workshop students at Luna Llena Glass Studio get initial instruction on how to arrange crystals, but it is not a full class. Students are given creative freedom and full use of all the tools and instruments for their creations in the studio. The studio’s second floor has a small rustic museum and store, which is full of interesting neon art, lamps, candle holders, small dishes, panel lights and crystal jewelry.

I enjoyed my visit to the island and creating my own art. With every trip I take, the more I realize that travelling around Japan is a unique once-in-a-lifetime experience!

How to get there:
Obaehana Lighthouse
Nagasaki Prefecture Hiradoshi, Ikitsukichoumisaki 26-22

Shiodawara no dangai cliffs 
Misaki, Ikitsuki-cho, Hirado City.

Luna Llena Glass Studio
4387 Minamimen, Ikitsuki-cho, Hirado-shi, Nagasaki
(Closed on Wednesday and Thursday).

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About the writer: Yashira Rodríguez is originally from Caguas, Puerto Rico. She is assigned to Sasebo Naval Base. Rodríguez enjoys nature and moving to Japan was a dream come true. Before joining the Navy she was an artist-artisan and journalist.

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