A Road to the Sea

佐賀県唐津市 推薦者 : 柴田亜衣 (元水泳選手、スイミングアドバイザー)
Karatsu, Saga Prefecture Recommended by Ai Shibata (former professional swimmer, swimming advisor)






The Joy of Freely Walking as if Swimming

When I was in elementary school, I would go visit my grandfather’s house for summer vacation. From my grandfather’s place, we would pass through an avenue lined with pine trees called Nijinomatsubara and go swimming in the sea. At the time, I loved climbing trees and I climbed a lot with my older sister.
In recent years, it seems like swimming in the ocean is not as popular as it used to be, but I would always swim whenever I was at my grandfather’s house. I couldn’t go swimming in the winter, but I would always walk through the pine grove and go to the beach. I just liked going through the pine trees and to watch the seascape.
Competitive swimming entails repeatedly going back and forth in a designated lane (path). You must swim as fast as possible within your predetermined range. However, there are no lanes out in the ocean. There is no need to swim fast, and without any assigned route, I was able to swim freely. In the sea, things happen unexpectedly. You could get washed away by the waves, or get stung by jellyfish. Being surrounded by the pine trees and open water, I was able to feel nature naturally.
When I was a competitive swimmer, it was easier for my body to swim than to walk. Because I would be in water for the entirety of practice, my body would get really tired as soon as I felt gravity. I’ve also been told that swimming in a pool may be less fun since you just go back and forth and the scenery does not change. Back then, I did not question swimming the same route, because I had a clear objective of setting a new record. I still like to be in the water today, but without a goal of setting a new mark and without winning or losing, it has become difficult to swim laps. My life had been all about swimming, but as I’ve recently had more opportunities to enjoy walking, I’ve regained my ability to appreciate the charm of roads that are as free and natural as the pine groves and the sea.

柴田亜衣 (元水泳選手、スイミングアドバイザー)


Ai Shibata (former professional swimmer, swimming advisor)

Former professional swimmer and swimming advisor. Born 1982 in Fukuoka Prefecture. Shibata won the gold medal in the 800m freestyle event at the Athens Olympics, and is the Japanese record holder for the 400m and 1500m freestyle events. She participated in the Athens Olympics in 2004, when she was a senior at the National Institute of Fitness and Sports in Kanoya. With a last spurt at the finals, Shibata won a come-from-behind victory in the 800m freestyle event, becoming the first-ever Japanese Olympic gold medalist in women’s freestyle swimming history. Having retired in 2008, Shibata is currently a children’s swimming instructor hoping to decrease the number of water-fearing children and is actively involved in promoting sports through events and lectures nation-wide.


制定年 : 2015

Location: Karatsu, Saga Prefecture
Distance: approximately2.4 km
Road surface: asphalt
Recommended season: spring, summer, autumn
Nearby facilities: Karatsu Castle
Average temperature: 15 ℃
Greenery: abundant

Year : 2015

アクセス :

JR九州 筑肥線 虹ノ松原駅




Editor: Madoka Hattori
Translation:Yu Araki
Photographer: Karatsu city
Production: Runner’s Information Research Institute