The park is called Kashimanada Beach Park and is just south of Otake - a popular summer swimming and surfing beach. This park is fairly new and has nice improvements. One portion of the road leading to it is still under construction. We visited the farmer's market first and found some good buys to pick up later. On the wall are photos of all the participating farmers, so you can identify who you are buying from.
Looking down from the platform of the observation tower I saw some kids playing on what appeared to be a round shipwreck or flying saucer.
It was a very cool climbing toy with a long slide of rollers coming off one side and a rope climbing wall on the other. A sign explained the saucer shape.
There is a bit of local folklore that dates back to 1803 during the Edo Era when the area now known as Ibaraki prefecture was called Hitachi. The story is called Utsuro-fune no Banjyo (A Foreign Woman in the Hollow Boat) and is about a woman who drifted ashore in a strange looking craft. She wore clothes that the local people could not recognize, had pink skin and red hair with a long white hair piece attached. She spoke a language that they did not understand. She kept a box, said to be 60 cm (24 inches) long, in her possession at all times and what it contained remained a mystery. Her craft had carpets inside and measured 3 ken, or about 18 feet, in diameter.
Unable to communicate, and thoroughly puzzled by the woman, they cast her with her craft back into the sea. The story was written about in 1825 and 1844 and the details were probably embellished such that the craft became round with a metal reinforced hull and glass top suggesting a submarine. Modern versions try to make the case that it was a space ship. More likely, the woman was Russian or some other nationality and the craft was a simple boat. It does make for a interesting story though and the basis of a great climbing toy by the beach.
Just when I had convinced myself the story was just a legend, I saw a strange woman climbing up the rope from the craft! Was it an alien? Was I experiencing a close encounter of the third kind?
No. It was just K. Besides, this is Japan, and I was the only "alien" around.
The beach is posted "no swimming" due to the strong currents, but that didn't stop one guy from doing a bit of windsurfing. I was surprised to the find the water relatively warm for this latitude - or perhaps I should say not as cold as I would expect.
We walked south along the beach until we came to one of the elevated boardwalks that parallel the beach and allow one to walk at tree top level through the pines. There are paths at ground level as well.
At the end of the boardwalk is a path up the slope and we took it, coming out of the pines in a neighborhood of homes next to the market. When we got there we bought some veggies and headed for Hokota City where we would have lunch.
This dog waiting at the market reminded me of Snoppy facing a sign that reads "No Dogs Allowed", and also that it might be fun to bring Momo down to the beach park sometime.