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Another view showing how clear the water is - it’s not surprising that so many scuba divers come up here to enjoy it. Friends who are used to the polluted Inland Sea look at this photo and ask in disbelief "This is JAPAN?"

On one trip, I found my regular minshuku town packed and almost had to sleep here on these temporary beach shelters (found everywhere along the coast in summer). Finally one minshuku proprietress didn't exactly say no but hesitated and then beckoned me in to "see for myself." The problem was this: a small room separated by only a thin paper door from another room reserved by a "couple." Young couple? Old? Would I be in the way? Eventually she went through a huge stack of name cards and called. Answer: a married middle-aged couple. "Oh, so no problem," she exploded in relief, and I had a bed for the night.