Sata, Kagoshima → 📍 Cape Sata → Satakori, Kagoshima

Map of Kagoshima Prefecture with author’s route from Sata to Cape Sata and back highlighted. 🗺 Open map in GaiaGPS →

The author reflected in a memorial of the 31st parallel north, which shows a world map with the line running through it. 📍 The 31st Parallel North at Cape Sata, Kagoshima

A lighthouse on top of a seemingly inaccessible rock in the sea at Cape Sata. 📍 Cape Sata, Kagoshima

Two years ago, in a package sent from Phnom Penh by my friend Gergő Plankó, I received a copy of The Roads to Sata, the story of Alan Booth’s 1977 walk from the northernmost tip of the Japanese mainland, Cape Sōya, to here, the lighthouse at Cape Sata. Moments after I arrived, a small and haggard wild boar popped out of the jungle, glanced at me, then disappered down the vertical hillside with a grunt. I sat for an hour, looking out over the Pacific, the ferries from Kagoshima riding the waves to the south, the mountains of Yakushima emerging from the mist, then I turned around to retrace Booth’s steps to Cape Sōya.

An empty animal trap in the jungle.

Closeup of a flowering cycad.

A very distant view of Cape Sata from a path in the jungle.

A dish of very old coins at a shrine. 📍 Cape Sata, Kagoshima

Coins left for the gods of the jungle and the sea, melting away in the humid, salty air at the first shrine on the road from Cape Sata. On the path there, for a single moment, I caught a last glimpse of Mount Kaimon.

A large, abandoned house in the jungle.

Two dolls in colorful bandannas look out on a small fishing village below them.

A small village in a valley of hills covered in dense jungle. 📍 Satakori, Kagoshima

Like in Nagoro, the village on Shikoku which became famous for its dolls representing the departed and the dead thanks to Fritz Schumann’s documentary short The Valley of Dolls, a couple looks out over Satakori and beyond, at the grey Pacific. Three villages further up the remote south coast of the Ōsumi Peninsula, I escaped into an empty house from the rain and lay on the tatami mats for 14 hours. It rained all night, the ocean winds throwing gusts of spray against my windows.

A man fishing in a bay under an overcast sky.

A rusty red shipping container by the side of the road.

Closeup of the container shows the Japanese characters for Tokyo amid the rust.

Tatami mats in a small house whose windows look out on a village street, it’s raining outside. 📍 Satakori, Kagoshima

These Walking Dreams is a visual field diary of a 4,300-kilometer walk from one end of Japan to the other, in the spring and summer of 2017.