Majestic Guardian Rock Formations: Ebisu & Daikoku in a Coastal Setting.
Majestic rock formations Ebisu and Daikoku rise from the tranquil coastal waters.

Ebisu Iwa & Daikoku Iwa

Turn your head to the right and there’s a surprise: the handsome rocks of Ebisu and Daikoku basking in the Sea of Japan.

To the west of the island of Hokkaido, after a beautiful tour of Shakotan Peninsula (subject of a future article), you’ll perhaps be thinking it’s time to head back to Otaru city. Think again, there’s a spot where I recommend losing yourself on the way.

Shakotan Kape

By taking a different route through the village you’ll eventually find yourself stuck in a creepy dead end street. But turn your head to the right and there’s a surprise: the handsome rocks of Ebisu and Daikoku basking in the Sea of Japan. Drawing a fine line between bucolic, romantic and baleful (you need at least that to balance the scale), look for the centre of gravity of the triangle so created, and there we are. Feet in the water.

Ebisu Iwa

These two deities seem to have been forgotten here. There are no combini, let alone shops or food stalls. With any luck, you’ll find two or three cats with fur flying scuffle over the remains of a fish.

Ebisu Iwa

These two rocks – iwa – are shintai: the physical entities harbour spiritual beings. They’re known as Ebisu Iwa (恵 比 寿 岩) and Daikoku Iwa (大 黒 岩) because of their striking resemblance to the gods of that name.

To the left, Ebisu, the god of fishermen. He’s chubby, holds a fishing rod in one hand and a rather hefty red seabass in the other. To the right, Daikoku, the god of wealth. He’s often depicted with a golden mallet. Both will bring you good fortune even if that doesn’t seem to be true of the nearby village.

Ebisu Iwa

It’s an ideal place to visit when the sun is highest in the sky (the rocks are often in the shade) or indeed at sunset. I also came across a magnificent picture showing the rocks covered with snow: here. So why not go there in winter?

[bs_notification type=”info”]

How to get there?

– By car, 30 minutes from Otaru.

Where to stay?

Dormy Inn Premium Otaru: Unprepossessing outside but there’s a very nice thermal bath (onsen) inside! Moreover, the breakfast is buffet-style with loads of choice and even seafood (if you love ikura as I do it’s a joy …). Right next to Otaru station.


And for more awesome content about Japan, follow Jordy Meow on Instagram ! 🎵


  • is it only possible to get there if you rent / own a car? I’m going to be up in Yoichi for the first time, and would like to see this. I’d take a taxi out, but don’t want to get stranded if there is nowhere nearby to catch a taxi back.

  • Hello Jordy,

    Omg. Your photos are breathtaking! You are very talented! I find it difficult to shoot landscapes here in Japan because it’s very hard to predict the golden hour or probably because I really haven’t been to anywhere outside Tokyo. Where are you based now? I’m always glad to see fellow foreign bloggers based in Japan.


    Ada of Travel in Boots

    • Thanks a lot Ada 🙂 You have a very cute website! Actually I think I came across it a few times before. Photography is my passion and I spend a lot of time… just waiting. Mmm, I am in Tokyo right now (and have been for the past 8 years) but I am moving to Nara after tomorrow, for one year! Where are you? 🙂

      • Nara! You’re lucky to move from time to time and get to explore places. It sucks that I’ve been living here for 2 years now but haven’t really been anywhere. I live in Kanagawa. I’ll keep visiting your blog for updates 😉

  • Hello, Jordy! I absolutely love your site and all the things you write about Japan. Hope that someday I’ll be able to visit this country too. Hokkaido is the place I want to visit first.

    • I hope you don’t mind my English, not native but I am trying my best. Hokkaido is great 🙂 But it doesn’t feel so Japan to me. Which places do you have in mind? I will try to cover more soon, I still have a lot of places to post about Hokkaido, and of course I really need to go back there (yes, I love it too!).

      • I’m not a native english-speaker to, I live in Russia, and I think your english is very good! I understand you without any problems 🙂

        As far as I know, Hokkaido is the coldest place in Japan with mountains, snow, etc. I like cold weather and want to travel around Hokkaido. I like it nature and landscapes and I’ll be happy to see more nature photos here. By the way, was it hard for you to learn japanese? I know several european languages such as english, norwegian and a little sweddish and dannish. I’m learning japanese for 1 year since january 2015, and it’s pretty hard to understand it’s logic and the way of constructing phrases, etc. Have you learned japanese in France or in Japan?

        Have a good day!

        • It is very hard, I am actually really learning right now and following classes for the first time. I thought I could learn naturally just by being in the country (I have never learned Japanese before) but it was a mistake. It actually takes a bit of time but after the logic is not a problem anymore (it’s not really an issue for me now, it became natural somehow), the only thing is to memorize all the different patterns and the vocabulary is difficult since it sounds all so similar.

          • Yeah! Agreed with you, that everything sounds so similar due to tons of kanji which has similar readings. It’s my problem too.

            Since our last talk here, I’ve remembered place I want to visit on Hokkaido. It’s city Sapporo. I heared, that there’s a famous winter festival take place, and I want to participate in it. Have you heared something about it, Jordy?

            Also I know, that this message contains a lot of mistakes, but I try to do my best. 🙂

          • What do you like more in various Japan events and living (not counting photography and exploring abandoned places)? I mean, what do you like to do, when you not exploring or photographing and working? Maybe you like to sit in your favourite kissaten or to visit specific place somewhere?