A spot on the coast of the inland sea, some distance from Kyoto, Suma is picturesquely cradled by mountains, but must have seemed unbelieveably isolated and claustrophobic to anyone used to the wide avenues and magnificent buildings of the capital city. In modern Japan, Suma has become a popular spot for young Japanese to visit the seaside (one exits the train station to be greeted by a cheerful sign in English saying ‘Welcome to Suma Beach!), and had quite lost any hint of its poetic associations of exile, misery and death.

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