Monday, January 7, 2008

Tinian Shinto Shrine - Janurary 5, 2008

On Saturday, January 5, four of us set off to try to find the latte stone site near the Tinian Shinto Shrine. One of the first problems we had was getting a vehicle to get to the starting point. My truck was in the repair shop, so someone else needed to provide a ride. Judy had walked to the meeting place at Grace Christian School, and she does not own a car. Mitch and Erica showed up walking, but I asked them if they could provide a ride. They said yes, and we had to wait while they went home to get their car. After Mitch got her car, we loaded up and headed off to the Tinian Shrine.

The Tinian Shinto Shrine is the best preserved shrine on Tinian. It is just above the Carolinas Heights subdivision, but if you go the normal way to this subdivision, it is a little hard to find. Below, in the picture, is the sign at the shrine. Just behind the sign is the torii gate for the shrine.
There is a Japanese name post for the shrine near the torii gate, but according to Mitch, the sign is most likely not from this shrine. She thinks it is from a shrine that was in the old Tinian Town, which is now the current San Jose Village. I can't remember the name Mitch used for this shrine, but she was certain it was not named the Tinian Shinto Shrine.

(Just got a comment from Mitch, see the comment section to this posting, that says that the name of this shrine on an old Japanese map is Sumiyoshi Shinto Shrine. The Tinian Shinto Shrine is near the current church in San Jose Village. The base of the torii gate can be seen near the road that runs on the south side of the church.)

In the picture below are Erica, Mitch and Judy about halfway from the torii gate to the house at the top. The current house is made of cement, but when I first came to Tinian, in the early 1990's, the house was made of wood with a beautiful copper roof. Termites slowly ate the earlier house until it collasped.

While I was at the shrine, I marked its location on my GPS unit, just in case I happened to get a little confused in the jungle, which is easy to do. In the picture below, I am typing in the name for the shrine waypoint into my GPS unit. As for getting confused, when I first came to the island of Tinian, I happened to visit this shrine. I was fascinated by the jungle and decided to just walk a little ways into it to see what it was like. It took me over an hour to find my way out again!

As we headed off into the jungle, we followed a coconut crab hunting trail. It went through a lot of coconut palms with coconuts all over the ground, which you can see in the picture below. The trail was fairly easy to follow, but it soon ended in an area that was overgrown with vines and weeds, which I really did not want to travel through. So we turned around and headed back towards the shrine.

As we followed the coconut crab hunting trail, before turning back, we came upon the vine flowers we had seen on the Mt. Lasu trip. In the picture below, you can see two of the flower bunches and part of the vine they are growing from.
As we left the trail, we headed up the slope, which was fairly steep. There was one place that was really slippery and I had to help the other hikers up it. Below is a picture of me, Judy and Erica heading up the slope. It was not too bad of a hike up, except that it was steep.

In the picture below, you can see Judy and Erica climbing up the slope near the top of the cliff line.
The next thing I knew, we were at the top of the cliff. Below is a picture of the top of the Carolinas Plateau from a spot near were we had climbed cliff (not a real climb, more sort of a very steep walk up).
On the way to the cliff, we came across the saprophytic plants that we had seen on the hike to Mt. Lasu. In the picture below, you can see that these plants come in two color varieties, a red and white variety. While at Mt. Lasu, we only saw the white variety.
We followed the cliff line to the north. As we began to follow the cliff, we came upon several openings that allowed us to get great views of the village or Marpo Heights. Below is a picture of one of the openings with the village in the far distance. Below this picture is a zoomed picture of the village from the same location.

As we hiked along the cliff line we found a lot of stone walls, caves and defensive shelters that the Japanese had built during World War II. In the picture below is Erica helping Judy down one of the rocky areas near one of these WWII Japanese shelters.

In one of the shelters, we found the soles of shoes, as can be seen in the picture below. I have seen shoes in other shelters and caves on Tinian before. I really don't know why shoes were left in these areas. They might have been left behind when bodies were dragged out of these shelters or caves during World War II, but I really don't know.

In another shelter/cave we found what look like two electrical motors or generators and a hitch of some sort. They are visible in the picture below.

Here, in the picture below, is Judy climbing over a downed tree's roots that led into another shelter area. As you can see from Judy's appearance the hike was very strenuous with a lot of ups and downs. There were a few times where we had to turn around because the vines got too thick or the cliff was too steep.

We came upon an area where there was a huge overhang about 30 or 40 feet above us (see the picture below). At the base overhang were a lot of Japanese shelters. We followed the cliff line which led into a flat area with more shelters and caves.

Below is a picture of a six-inch shell that we found on the way to the shelters mentioned above, past the overhang. Someone had set it upon its base and it was also covered with vines and weeds until I removed them to walk past shell.
Once we got up into the shelter area above the overhang, I thought we would have to turn around, since I didn't see any other way down the cliff. I did a little exploring just to the north of the shelters and saw a small stone wall. Behind the stone wall was a tunnel that dropped down below the cliff. In the picture below you can see Judy entering the tunnel.

Beside the steep slopes, cliffs and loose rocks, the hike was also fairly hard because of the vines and pandanus plants. In the picture below, along with some of the other pictures in the hike posting, you can see some of the vines we had to work our way through.

In the picture below I am working my way around a pandanus plant. They have saw edged leaves and spines on their roots. I still have a small cut on the bridge of my nose from one of the leaves. I really did get tried of the pandanus leaves on this hike.
After the tunnel, we decided that it was time to head down to the road that I had spotted below the cliff we were on. The hike down was fairly hard and we had to climb down a few cliffs to get out. But, we also did find a few more interesting Japanese shelters on the way down.

As we neared the bottom, just after climbing down a fairly difficult cliff, we met someone that lived nearby. He had been out working on his farm and heard voices out in the jungle. He went to investigate and found us. Judy and I are talking to him in the picture below.
A short walk from where we met our guide out, we were out of the jungle and near his family's house. We asked him to take a picture of us as we ended this hike. In the picture below are the very tried hikers, Erica, Mitch, me, and Judy.

We didn't find the latte stone site on this hike. The best guess for its location is in the middle of our hike. I belive that we ended up circling it. According to the person that we met just before getting out of the jungle, the latte site is back toward the shrine. I will have to come up to this area by myself and see if I can find it. I can usually travel faster and easier through the jungle by myself.

As for the boonie bee count, it was only one, me. I got stung a total of six or seven times on two different occasions. I happened to have gotten stung below my left eye and had to put some Sting-Eze on it real fast. The Sting-Eze got rid of the pain and I think it even helped to stop the eye from swelling up too much. I did get stung once, a long time ago, on my upper lid on my left eye and it swelled the eye shut for a few days.

As always, I would like to thank Judy and Mitch for some of the additional pictures in this posting.

The next hike will be to the south end of Tachonga to visit the latte site there. We will also look at some Japanese bunkers and maybe explore a little bit more south from the bunkers. This is a fairly easy hike. The most difficult part is when we walk near the shoreline. For more information about this hike see October 13, 1007, hike. This hike will be on Saturday, January 12th. We will meet at 8 AM at Grace Christian School.

Everyone is welcome to join us on these hikes.


1 comment:

michi said...

As I know it was “ Sumiyoshi Shinto Shrine” during Japanese time.
(According old Japanese Map.)
“Tinian Shinto Shrine” was located where San Jose church.
You can find one of the torii gate(Bottom of the torii)
near the road going down to Mobil.