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Statue of an ama woman diver sitting on a rock on the Onjuku Station train platform. These women dived deep in the ocean (without scuba gear) from small boats to harvest shellfish and other seafood.
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Inside Onjuku Station.
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JR Onjuku Station on the Sotobo Line. From Tokyo Station, catch the Yokosuka or Sobu Line to Chiba Station, then switch to the Sotobo Line. Takes about 2 hours by local train. Faster by express train. There are no coin-operated lockers.
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Next to Onjuku Station is this tourist information office.
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The road in front of Onjuku Station goes toward the beach. Follow the palm trees. A short walk to the beach.
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This was Feb. and cherry blossoms appeared.
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Entrance to Onjuku Beach. Onjuku has various Spanish touches.
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Beach volleyball courts. Should come back in summer.
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Onjuku Beach is a wide, expansive beach. 御宿海岸
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When it's windy, the sand flies.
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Onjuku Beach
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Windsurfing at Onjuku
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The beach sand is very fine.
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A few hotels overlook the beach.
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Monument for "Desert of the Moon," a famous children's song created on Onjuku Beach in 1923 by Kato Masao (加藤まさを). (Tsuki no Sabaku) 月の沙漠
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Looks like a sand dune, but it's solid concrete looking like sand.
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A prince and princess on camels. This monument was built in 1969. 月の沙漠
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Princess on camel
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Onjuku Beach
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A bridge leads to the Desert of the Moon Museum that shows works by songwriter and artist Kato Masao. Admission charged. Open 9 am to 5 pm. Closed Wed.
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Onjuku Museum of History and Folklore. Free admission. Open 9 am to 5 pm. Closed Mon. 御宿歴史民俗資料館
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Inside Onjuku Museum of History and Folklore. This room shows noted people of Onjuku.
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Picture of Iwase Yoshiyuki (1904-2001) who photographed many topless ama women divers in Onjuku during the 1930s to 1960s. He even organized photo shoots featuring the divers.
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Iwase took many precious photos of these young and old hardworking women. He put them in a book called Groups of Women Ama Divers. They were topless because it felt more comfortable.
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Some photos taken by Iwase. There are still ama divers in Onjuku, but they now wear wetsuits. No topless women.
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Negatives of photos taken by Iwase who was a sake brewer in Onjuku. He was an avid amateur shutterbug who tended to ignore his sake-brewing duties and went after the ama divers instead. (Can't blame him.)
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Another room in the museum describes how the Spanish galleon "San Francisco" was shipwrecked on Onjuku Beach in 1609. Over 300 of the crew were rescued by local residents.
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Model of the shipwrecked Spanish galleon. The ama women divers even used their bodies to warm the bodies of the weak Spanish crewmen. This has led to friendly relations between Onjuku and Spain.
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Poster for a local festival.
 
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