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map of Ono Game

Ono Game

How to get

Get off the #4 bus (Uchikaifu-sen) at "Ono game" bus stop. Please do not walk out of the trails for your safety.

Photo.91.1 Ono Game with Kanzou Flower

Please do not pronounce "Game" as [geim] like a sports competition. It is [gAme], like chewing gum's "gum" plus any's "a". "Game" comes from "Kame", but the connection with preceding "Ono" causes change from [kAme] to [gAme]. Change to be voicing in the middle of a word is phenomenon that can be seen in Japanese language. Anyway "Kame" is a Japanese word that means 'turtle'. As indicated by Ono Game and nearby Futatsu Game, the word 'Kame' is used to describe a small island or peninsula that rises up from the sea. Probably it is because it looks like a turtle's back.

The explanation board at the site says the 'Kame' has to do with 'Kami' of the Japanese word for the god, and there might be a relationship with 'Kamui' of the word of Ainu language for the god, too. Ainu is the name for indigenous people in northern part of Japan, especially in Hokkaido. However, their language and culture has almost been lost by submersion into Yamato-Japanese. With overwhelming power of majority, Japanese have suppressed Ainu people in the history. That particular explanation board proudly brings up an Ainu word, but we need to know the history. Besides, the origin and relation of the words 'Kami1)' and 'Kamui' have not been proved yet.

Photo.91.2 Trail Closing as of 2018

The top is at 167 meter (550 ft) high from the sea level. The explanation board says that there is a stone pagoda of Zempo Temple at the top2). The creator of this website actually visited the top of Ono Game thirty years ago when the trail was not closed yet. But as Photo.91.2, the trail to the top is closed as of June 2018. Since it is a steep slope and there is nothing to prevent from falling, one should not try to go beyond this. Stay inside the trails and be careful for your safety. Cliff like Photo.91.3 are there.

Photo.91.3 Cautions are Needed for Your Safety at Cliff

Ono Game is a huge mass of basalt rock. The explanation board tells the process of its formation3). But the followings are interpretation of the creator of this web site. (1) Deep under the ground is there Magma that is liquid rock melted by the heat. Magma rose up to the ground surface in very old ages. (2) When magma got closer to the ground surface, it cooled down and formed a massive solid. (3) Over time, the massive solid of rock has been elevated. But let me intervene here, the explanation board says just "Changes in the earth's crust". Magma's rising up and "Sado island rose from the bottom of the sea" are both upward movements, however, they are different phenomena. Magma's rising up is a local motion, but uplift of earth's crust is much broader movement. If you go to Futatsu Game and look at the explanation board there, you will know the reason of uplift of earth's crust with the figure based on plate tectonics. Anyway, the step (3) includes other actions at the same time of uplift. The surrounding rocks and soils have got weathering and erosion because they are softer than the mass of rock. What is left is Ono game.

The explanation board also says that the outcrop of sediment formed by Tsunami can be seen. Those were the deposits of Tsunami(s) that hit this area twice in Edo Era (1603 - 1867). The following is important; if you feel a strong earthquake at the seashore, immediately go up to the higher place. As you know, a huge tsunami hit Japan in the East Japan earthquake in 2011. That left a strong impression about tsunami on Pacific Ocean side, but we also need to be careful about tsunami on the back side of Japan. In history, many tsunami(s) caused damage on the back side of Japan, too.

Let's look at tsunami damage on Ryotsu on June 16, 1964. It was caused by Niigata Earthquake whose Magnitude was 7.6 in the scale of moment magnitude4). Water tide of 3 meter high poured into the town. A book says that Tsunami repeated seven or eight times, and in each Tsunami, water pulled back from the port extraordinarily and then water swept toward the town5).

In a statistical sense, it is very rare for you to encounter an earthquake with Tsunami in Japan. In Sado, the probability of such incident is also extremely low. So please don't worry too much and please feel safe on your trip on Sado. However, just in case you feel a strong earthquake at seashore, run up to a higher ground and never go down. Even if you left something important at the sea level, do not go back to take them. Tsunami comes late.

Photo.91.4 Kanzou Flower of Yello Lily

The best season for visiting Ono Game is of course a month of June. It is the time when flowers of Tobishima-Kanzou are in full bloom. Tobishima-Kanzou is a kind of lily which can only inhabit this area of Sado, the island of Tobishima, and seashore of Sakata (The latter two are in Yamagata Prefecture). In the past, there was a period that the followers were decreasing by weeds and stealing. However, local people and the former Ryotsu City tried recovering. Now Tobishima-Kanzou grows well in Ono Game area. A festival of the flower is held in the second Sunday in June. A local performing art is played in the festival6). You can see Futatsu Game from Ono Game as shown in Photo.91.4. Distance from Ono Game through Negai village, Sai no Kawara, to Futasu Game is a little long, 3.3 kilometer (2 mile). But it can be a nice travel experience if you like walking.

Photo.91.4 View of Futatsu Game from Ono Game