kodomo no hi (aka boys day)

May 5, 2007

5th May is boys day – officially childrens day but seeing as March 3rd is girls day (hinamatsuri) it’s also known as boys day. Families with boys fly carp kites (koinobori) on large poles

from wikipedia

My son, Kazuma (一真 meaning one truth) was celebrating his first boys day with his “Matsushima grandparents” the Miura-sans. So I went kayaking.

The weather was warm and sunny, one of the first such days this year up here in chilly Tohoku. Air temp 22c, water temperature 14c, 5m/s southerly wind with 1.5-2m swells from the south/southeast.

I set out at low tide (11am) with lots of fishermen on the beach and fishermen’s wives climbing on the rocks collecting whatever it is they collect at low tide around here.


I’ve paddled my planned route before, out to the caves around the headland, find a lunch spot then back. I had about 5 hours of paddling planned. There were lots of sport fishermen out too in small boats and I even saw one of them catch a fish, looked a decent size but the fishermen didn’t look so friendly so I didn’t get any closer than this to take the picture


It was great to be kayaking again after a long layoff. The S/SE swell direction is the best (biggest) direction for waves into Ishinomaki and Matsushima and they can roll in unimpeded. The light wind meant few wind blown waves and it was a pleasure kayaking in the bigish swell. I set myself the challenge of actually trying to capture a swell in a picture: hard to do

try 1

version 2

version 3

It is much easier when the swell hits some rocks! Or even when it breaks and at low tide the swell was breaking in lots of places, it’s actually quite a tricky spot; when I joined the boat club and was hiring motor boats I was advised not to go out around here as there are numerous reefs and boomers…

surf on a reef

Today was one of those days though that I wished I had someone with me, then we could have surfed some of these breaks. One in particular was great the waves were spilling and running for at least 100m. But alone and a km from a rocky shore in coldish water I erred on the side of caution. Again.

breaking waves

breaking 2

plungng swell

The caves were great and also a bit scary as the sound of the waves pounding in the dark is enough to spook anyone especially as you need to keep the paddle in the water to stay in place…


classic profile


Of course where there are caves there are sea stacks and around here there are numerous. Almost as many sightseeing boats as come to see them


stack 4

famous stack

Beyond the headland the sea was rougher, I didn’t take many pictures as I was being bounced around and my biggest fear is always that my non waterproof camera phone gets wet…

I found a lunch spot mostly protected from the surf

lunch beach

And even remembered to take some kayak pictures – I need to sell this kayak in a few months prior to going back to Scotland.


90,000yen or 450pounds if anyone is interested.


I realised a few things today, first that I am a warm weather kayaker – it’s just so much more enjoyable when its warm, second I’m just not that into long distance kayaking I like the idea but the reality is different. I remember that was my feeling when I went kayaking for the first time – you have to paddle everywhere you want to go! River kayaking you just fall downhill… Lastly I realised that I will miss kayaking in Japan a lot, I paddle in a very beautiful area with warm water, caves, cliffs, surf beaches…

masculine landscape

I got back to the put-in at 4pm and despite being exhausted decided I should do some rolling practice – best time to practice is when you are tired and also in relatively cold water. I did a few rolls – no problems – and some sculling and bracing. Great fun and 14c is warmer than I thought – actually perfect for my climaprene top.

I realised yet another thing – this is the kind of kayaking I am into (greenland style?) where you don’t really go anywhere much you just muck around on the water, do some surfing maybe, rolling and sculling, get wet.

I’m going to try and go kayaking at least once a week for the next three months (a challenge in itself!) and now that the days are getting longer hope to be able to nip off after work for some evening surfing.


One Response to “kodomo no hi (aka boys day)”

  1. Rich Says:

    Well done amazing Travel.Rgds R. Thanx for see of photos.

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