Saturday, August 13, 2016

End of the Trail for Minamoto Tametomo

Terabu Gama, cave,Makiminato, Urasoe, signboard, cultural property

Cave is a Cultural Property



Last week's discovery in Motobu, led to a search for this cavern.

The site, where Minamoto Tametomo arrived in Okinawa was the first half of the story.

The good Doc, who drives me around, agreed, we'd go hunting for his point of departure.

map, blue trail, Urasoe, Makiminato

 All we had to go on, was a tiny image of a cave, somewhere in the Makiminato area of Urasoe.

Neither one of us was drunk but, that smartphone of mine tracked, where we went.

The part, going into the ocean, must be a satellite hiccup; we stayed high and dry.

But, the rest of the map, looks pretty accurate. We zigged and zagged plenty in our hunt.

As the Story Goes

Minamoto Tametomo, sailed out of a port in Urasoe and, never returned.

His wife and son, lived in a cave, near the sea and, waited for him to come home.

Machinato or, Makiminato means, "waiting harbor" so, that's what the area was named.

cave, altar,text, English
Image credit: Urasoe City Cultural Property Guidebook 

After covering almost every centimeter of the coast along Makiminato, we became enlightened.

Weaving in and out of alleys, hitting dead ends and, sweating, wasn't getting us anywhere.

If, we were going to find that cavern, we had to get some help so, up the hill we went.

image, mother and child, boat at sea, text, cave
Image credit: Urasoe City Cultural Property Guidebook 

We got everything we needed at the Urasoe City office, in English and, it was free !

It helps, to communicate in Japanese or, the local dialect, even if it's just a smidgen.

A woman at the counter, gave us guidebooks and, maps of Urasoe, in a language, we can read.

stone stairway, looking back from cave entrance

It was still a little tricky, locating this cave but, we gotterdun.

Knowing this is sort of a sacred site, I wouldn't enter the cave, just take a peek inside.

Then, I turned around and, took this photo, to show the stairway, leading to the entrance.

Hopefully, the geocache enthusiasts, respect this cultural asset, as well.

The only way, I'd enter a site, like this, is if, I was invited to attend a ritual in there.

signboard, cultural asset, Japanese and English text

 This sign, off to the right of the site, gives the story in Japanese and English.

There are different versions of the story, concerning the fate of Tametomo. 

One thing, for sure is, the son he left behind, did become King of the Ryukyu Islands.


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