The intriguing tip I received from a shopkeeper was, "The sunset at Yukigaoka is not your typical sunset," so I decided to visit at the end of the following day.
I let the car navigation system lead me from central Nishinoomote.
I approached Tanegashima High School and came to a road that looked like it would lead to my destination, though no signs were posted. I hesitantly started down a narrow street.
Concrete turned into gravel and when my apprehension at taking the wrong road had passed, I came to an opening. It seemed like I had managed to find the right way.
It was twilight. Across the cityscape of the town, the sun was setting into the ocean. Reading the inscription on a nearby stone, I understood what the shopkeeper had meant.
Viewed from this point, the sunset is more than just a sunset; it marks the spot where the Battleship Yamato sank.
But not every day of the year. The positioning occurs on the vernal and autumnal equinoxes.
Another long, slender stone with a hole in it shows the precise location where the ship went down.
The first time I had seen the sunset on Tanegashima, I was moved by its beauty, but it turns out that it is even deeper than that.
This island has history wrapped up in its sunsets.
Note: When I was leaving, I looked back at the entrance and found a sign saying, "Battleship Yamato Peace Monument."
I guess I had missed it on the way in because I was so preoccupied with finding Yukigaoka.
When you visit, keep your eyes out for the "Battleship Yamato Peace Monument" signpost.