There’s a lot going on in this manhole cover but I guess that’s fitting, since there’s a lot going on in Nichinan.
You wouldn’t think it, from a quick glance at the map. This sprawling city lies on the coast at the southern end of Miyazaki Prefecture. There’s not much of note around it and the guidebooks don’t really have much to say. But on the outskirts of town, you’ll find the old castle district of Obi, the seaside shrine of Udo Jingu and – a bit farther afield but still technically “in town” – the terraced rice paddies of Sakamoto Tanada. Not bad for a city I’m betting few of you had ever heard of (myself included, before this trip!)
Here’s the cover itself:
It’s perhaps fitting that I noticed it on the road right after we packed up from an hour’s fun at the Futo Beach, north of the main part of town. Miyazaki has plenty of coastline but not all of it is good for swimmers. At Futo, we found a quiet cove with few waves and tons of families out enjoying the Umi no Hi holiday weekend. Rain and a strict schedule chased us away from the water long before we were truly ready but the drive to Miyazaki was surprisingly reasonable from Kumamoto and I see ourselves coming back in the future.
I’m not sure about the specific flowers in this design, but I did notice that Miyazaki is a whole lot like Okinawa. Thanks to the trade winds there, the climate is fairly subtropical and there are tons of bright flowers reminiscent of those we’d see in the Ryukyu Islands.