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map of Kisaki Peninsula in Kamo Lake

Kisaki Peninsula in Kamo Lake

How to get

Do not think you can walk around the lake shore. It is too long because the lake is not as small as you think, besides it has a complicated shore line. Visiting this Kisaki Peninsula is also a long distance walk. Unless you like walking, this website does not recommend you visiting Kisaki Peninsula. Get off bus #1 (Hon-sen) at either of "Akitsu Higashi" and "Akitsu" bus stops. At the tip of the Kisaki Peninsula, there is Kisaki Shrine as shown in Photo.82.1. On the way, there is Sado Museum, though, the museum is usually closed. It says a reservation is necessary, however, this website does not confirm if the museum functions or not.

Photo.82.1 Kisaki Shrine

Kisaki Shrine's Annual festival is on April 18, and Harvest festival is on October 18. Kisaki shrine was used to be a Benten shrine. It was on June 11, 1915 when the old Benten shrine turned to be Kisaki Shrine. This shrine's god is Ichikishimahime1). Ichikishimahime of Shintoism and Benten of Buddhism are regarded as the same because of the mixture of Shintoism and Buddhism.

Kisaki Penisula is not of the sea but of the Kamo Lake. The following is an overview of Kamo Lake. The area is approximately 4.85 square kilometers (1.87sq.miles). It doesn't seem so large, however, this is the biggest lake in Niigata Prefecture. Roughly, the lake's north-south length is 10 kilometer (6mile), and east-west in maximum is 2 kilometer (1 mile). Depth is actually shallow; 9 meter (30ft) at the deepest, 5 meter (16 ft) on average2). The lake had been a fresh water lake since 2,000 years ago. But after the flood in 1897, the watercourse was opened in order to lower the water level. This made the lake water salty3). The width of watercourse is 30 meter (98 ft). When seawater comes in, the maximum volume of seawater in 6 hours can reach one tenth of total volume of the lake water4).

As shown in Photo.82.2, Oyster shells are mounded up around the lake. Oyster farming started in the early years of Showa Era (1926-1989). Although data is a little old, production in weight is in average 250 to 300 metric ton5). According to a Niigata prefectural government's report, oyster productions in recent years are as follows: 878 ton in 2014, 1072 ton in 2015, and 636 ton in 2016. In comparison to 250-300 ton of the reference 5), Prefectural data would probably include oyster farming not only in Kamo Lake but also in Mano Bay. It is also likely that Prefectural's data 6) might have included weight of the shells, but the web creator of this site is not sure for this. Not the production, but on consumption side, the best season of farmed oyster of Kamo Lake and Mano Bay is from December to February. As for natural oyster, the best months are September through April7).

Photo.82.2 Mounted Oyster Shells at the Lakeshore

As mentioned above, water comes in and goes out through watercourse. However lake's water environment is relatively closed because of limited water flow. One concern would be eutrophication of lake water. When the lake water got a little bit of eutrophication in 1960s and 70s, the works for refreshing water were done by pouring sea water into the lake8). A book says that Kamo Lake is not in bad condition of eutrophication although the book also insists that conservation and regeneration of natural environment are needed. Lakes like Kamo have high biota productivity because of shallow depth and influx of nutrients. Deterioration of water quality takes a process like; Increase of nitrogen and phosphate, outbreak of phytoplankton, and then formation of water mass with poor oxygen. Since oyster harvesting is the biggest removal of nitrogen and phosphate from the lake water, the book says, it can be said that oyster farming is preventing from eutrophication9). Probably it would be better to discuss this kind of issue quantitatively with numerical data.

Photo.82.3 Oyster Farming Rafts Floating on Kamo Lake

Another episode of Kamo Lake is that the Japan's first steam-powered steel vessel was assembled at the lake side. In 1870, Japanese government asked one engineer to come from England for the shipbuilding. A workshop was made at the lakeside of Ebisu-cho beneath the Shogaku Temple. The ship "Niigata-Maru" was launched on June 1871. The ship was of 26 meter (85 ft) length, 6 meter (20 ft) width, and displacement of 50 ton with one mast and one funnel. Niigata-Maru was completed in Sado one and half year earlier than Kosan-Maru built in Osaka, which had long been thought as the Japan's first steel ship10).