January 2007 - June 2007
SjSaturday, June 16, 2007
Pilgrimage in Bando Fudasho (Part XXI)Weather: Fine
- The twenty-third Fudasho : Kanzeonji Temple (1056 Kasama, Kasama-City, Ibaraki Pref.)
- The weatherman said that the Kanto District entered the rainy season three days ago, six-day delay
compared with usual year.
- The weather forecast for the weekend had been rainy and thus I almost gave up my pilgrim plan of the weekend.
- However, the forecast drastically changed from "Rainy" to "Fine" on Friday. I decided to carry out my plan.
- It was fine in the early morning on Saturday. The humidity was low and I felt brisk.
- I took on the first train from Higashi-kurume Station as usual. It was already bright outside.
- I took on the train of Joban Line from Nippori Station and changed the train of Mito Line at Tomobe Station.
The train reached at Kasama Station at 8:00 AM.
- I found a Sightseeing Information office very close to the station, but it was not open as yet.
- Anyway, I started to walk to the Fudasho on the straight road extended from the station.
- It was still early in the morning and no one except me was walking on the road.
- Kasama City is famous for Kasama pottery and Kasama Inari Shrine and there exist many guide plates and maps in the city. I could easily
reach Kasama Inari Shrine, but I had to visit 23rd Fudasho first and I passed the Inari Shrine.
- Within a five-minute walk, I arrived in the entrance of the Fudasho. It was 8:30 AM.
- I climbed the stone stairs to reach the precinct of the Fudasho. Then I could see the small main temple in the narrow precinct. I was surprised to find that the main temple was so small.
- It was still early in the morning and there was no one in the Fudasho except me.
It was possible to enter into the main temple. I entered and saw the gorgeous golden substitute Kannon in front of the small shrine (The eleven-face Kannon was in the shrine.).
There existed Fudomyooh and Bishamonten on either side of the substitute Kannon.
- I tried to get red stamp for my Nokyocho book, but no one was in the main temple. I shouted several times, but no response.
I could hear someone talking inner room. I knocked the door and finally the priest appeared.
- I could have my Nokyocho book red-stamped. He served me cold delicious tea. Then the priest started to chat with me. He was so talkative and we enjoyed chattering about 20 minutes.
He said he always traveled throughout Japan and that he visited Kyoto/Nara more than 50 times.
- After leaving the Fudasho, I visited Kasama Inari Shrine. The shrine was not so large as I expected. There were only several worshippers there.
- On the way to the station, I found an old-fashioned liquor shop. I entered the shop and asked the mistress if she had a delicious locally-brewed Japanese Sake.
She recommended "Shoryoku" (720 ml Yen 1,000). It was surely delicious Jaapnase Sake.
- Then I took on the train for next 24th Fudasho at 10:06 AM.
Gate of Kasama Inari
- The twenty-fourth Fudasho : Rakuhoji Temple (1 motogi,Sakuragawa City, Ibaraki Pref.)
- I arrived in Iwase Station at 10:22 AM.
- I found a guide plate of the "Hiking course of Kanto District" just in front of the station.
I found it was possible to reach the Fudasho via hiking course.
Thus I decided to hike on the course.
- I crossed the railroad of the Mito Line and walk on the road to the terminal.
Then the hiking road started.
- I could hear Japanese nightingale and little cuckoo loudly singing.
- I felt hard to climb owing to lack of sleep of last night and hotness.
- I could finally reach the peak of Mt. Amabiki (409m) after several up and downs.
I could enjoy clear view of Mt. Tsukuba and Kanto Plain from the peak.
- On the way I met only a few hikers and enjoyed quiet hiking.
I felt it was good to hike from time to time instead of running.
- When descending from Mt. Amabiki, I reached the diverging point
between Mt. Kaba and Amabiki Kannon.
I continued to descend to Amabiki Kannon.
I found a shortcut to the Kannon and I descended the sharp slope.
- When decended, I found that the precinct of the Fudasho was very close.
I arrived in the 24th Fudasho. I found that the atmosphere was quite a contrast to that of 23rd Fudasho.
- The temple was large-scaled and gorgeous and lots of worshippers were there.
- I was suddenly returned to the real world.
I could say it would not be a sacred place but a sightseeing spot.
It was popularized too much.
- Anyway, I started to worship. I could enter into the main temple. I could not see the main Kannon (Life extension Kannon), but I could see
small substitute Kannon in the dim light. Then the exercises of devotion by priest started.
- In the precinct, there is a big building of souvenir goods. I found a "Amabiki cookies", etc.
They even sold Japanese Sake branded "Amabiki Kannon"! I felt they fully exposed commercialism.
- The Fudasho was located in the middle of Mt. Amabiki and I could see Mt. Tsukuba from the precinct.
The hydrangea were in full bloom.
- A lot of visitors by cars were coming one after another when I leaving. Only I was walking.
When I reached the foot, I found the display saying "4 km to Iwase Station".
- I patiently continued to walk to the station.
- I arrived in the station at 13:20. I checked the timetable and found the next train would leave at 14:15.
Only one train was available per hour!
- I felt hungry, but there were no shops around the station. I had to walk to find out the shop. Finally I found a convenience store.
I bought rice balls and canned beer. I took them at the waiting room of the station.
- Finally I took on the train at 14: 15. I changed the train at Oyama Station.
I could get home around 17:00.
- This time, I could visit two Fudashos after a long interval.
Today's steps were approx. 30,000.
- It was fine all day. I could not believe that it was rainy season.
- Now the number of Bando Fudasho to be visited is 6!
Ceiling of main temple
3)Sunday, April 29, 2007
Pilgrimage in Chugoku Kannon Fudasho (Part III) Weather: Fine
- The twelfth Fudasho : Buttuji Temple (22 Kyozan, Takasaka-cho, Mihara City, Hiroshima Pref.
- I had planned to make a pilgrimage in Chugoku Kannon Fudasho when I came back to Okayama.
- I took on the local train from Niwase Station of JR Sanyo Line
bound for Mihara Station. The guidebook says that only three buses are available per day from Mihara Station to the Fudasho.
Therefore, I made connections to Hongo Station from Mihara Station.
- I started to walk from the station to the Fudasho. It was fine and the sky was blue!
The contrast between green leaves and blue sky was marvelous. It was cool in the morning, but little by little, the temperature was rising while walking.
- I was patiently walking alongside the Buttuji River. I thought the distance might be around 3 km judging from the rough map of the guidebook.
However, I could not reach the Fudasho although I walked more than 3 km.
- After walking one and half an hour, I finally arrived in the approach of the Fudasho. The distance was almost 6 km!
- The tall cedar trees and green maple trees surrounded the approach.
The scenery in autumn must be wonderful.
- The temple gate appeared when passing through the bridge with roof over the Buttuji River.
- You will see the Buddhist temple where three Buddhas were enshrined after passing the temple gate.
- There exists the eleven-faced Kannon in the gorgeous main temple. To my regret, it was impossible to enter into the main temple.
However, I could see the eleven-faced Kannon illuminated with dim light at the inner part of the main temple.
- I got red stamp at Nokyo-sho. The priest was so kind.
- Then I visited Kaizan-do located in the hill across the river by climbing the stone stairs.
- There were many stone statues on the hill.
- The temple is located deep in the mountains. Although the temple is large-scaledAvisitors are not so many and thus
it is not unspoiled and possible to enjoy piece and quiet.
- As might be expected, I did not feel to walk back to the station. I waited the bus to Mihara Station for almost one hour.
It took 45 minutes to reach Mihara Station. Only three passengers were there.
The fee was Yen 620. It's too expensive.
- I didn't know that Mihara City was famous for Octopus dishes.
I visited tourist information center in the station building and was introduced the restaurant served octopus dishes.
I ordered the set menu of octopus dishes (Yen 1,800). I fully enjoyed octopus dishes there.
- Finally I bought " dried octopus" and locally-brewed Japanese Sake named "Suishin" at kiosk for souvenir.
The both souvenirs were very delicious.
Bridge over Buttuji River
2)Saturday, April 28, 2007
Pilgrmage in Saigoku Fudasho (Part VI)Weather: Sunny then cloudy
- The sixth Fudasho: Tsubosaka-dera Temple (3 Tsubosaka, Takatori-cho, Takaichi-gun, Nara Pref.)
- I took on the night bus at 22:00 on April 27, 2007 bound for JR Nara Station from Tokyo Station.
The bus was two-storied, but fully occupied.
The bus terminal was crowded with passengers for night buses.
- The bus reached JR Nara Station at 7:00 AM. It was earlier than scheduled.
I took on the local train of JR Sakurai Line at 7:38.
It was an interval of more than 30 years since I took on the train of Sakurai Line.
There exist unique names of station such as "Kyobate", "Obitoke", etc.
- I changed to three trains of Kintetsu Lines from Sakurai Station.
I finally arrived in Tsubosakayama Station past 9:00 AM.
- I tried to take on the bus to the Fudasho this time only to save time. However, I found I had to wait more than half an hour.
- I was forced to walk. I got a walking map prepared by Kintetsu at the station.
According to the map, the round-trip course from the station to the Fudasho is approx. 11 km.
- I walked old approach course to the Fudasho. The course was covered with weed and I was worrying that viper might appear.
- Anyway, the upward slope continued. No one was there while I was walking.
After 45-minute walk, I arrived in front of the parking lot of the Fudasho.
- I could see the whole buildings of the temple from the entrance.
The huge and magnificent temple!
- I was surprised to learn that the entrance fee was Yen 600!! Too expensive!!
- I got a red stamp at the Nokyosho, and then I entered into the main temple to worship the eleven-faced and one thousand-handed Kannon.
The Kannon was large-scaled and splendid.
- The temple is believed to be miracle-working for eye disease from ancient times. Special eye drops are sold there.
I bought one of them (Yen 1,500). The salesman said if you run out of it, call us, then the delivery would be immediately done. How commercially-minded!!
- There exist a tall white Kannon (20 m high) and nirvana on the hill.
- Then I left the temple and went into the hiking course in the back of the temple.
- Shortly I could see five hundred luohans curved on the rock, which were already weathered.
- I continued to climb the sharp slope and reached to the ruins of Takatori castle.
There were several large stonewallings. It must have been a large-scaled castle.
The ruin of the battle of Samurai!
- I could see the "Saruishi, Monkey Stone" on the way of the hiking course. The face was humorous.
- I could not meet anyone until I arrived in the ruin of the castle and enjoy quiet hiking. However, I met several middle-aged and older hiker groups while I went down to the town.
- A sharp downward slope continued until I reached to the town.
- On the way to the station in the town, I found a direct sales shop of
Kongoriki Shuzo Co. Ltd. (Famous locally-brewed Japanese sake manufacturer in Nara Pref.
I bought a bottle of "Kongoriki" sake for souvenir. (720 ml, Yen 1,000) The sake was dry and so tasty.
- I took on the train from Tsubosakayama to Okadera.
five hundred luohans
ruins of Takatori castle
- The seventh Fudasho: Okadera Temple (806 Oka, Asuka-mura, Takaichi-gun, Nara Pref.)
- I arrived in the Okadera Station of Kintetsu Line around 12:30.
I got the walking map at the station and started to walk to the Fudasho again.
- On the way, I first visited "Kame Ishi", Turtle Stone.
I could understand the naming of the stone judging from the shape.
- Secondly I visited "Tachibana-dera Temple". To my disappointment, the main temple was covered with sheet
owing to re-furbishment.
- I was much impressed by the Nyoirin Kannon and Amitabha Buddha.
Especially, I felt at piece while quietly facing with large Nyoirin Kannon by myself.
- I could see famous "Two-face stone", which indicates both ideas of good and evil.
- I felt that the scenery of "Asuka" district was very similar to that of "Kibiji" district. I wonder if the cultures are the same.
- Then I finally headed "Okadera Temple". However, somehow, I lost my way and reached to the
"Ishibutai", Stone Stage.
- I found that only large stones were there, but I had to pay Yen 250 to enter into the Ishibutai. Many tourists were visiting there.
- After making a detour, I finally arrived in the approach of the Okadera Temple.
The sharp slope continued to the Deva Gate of the temple.
- After passing the Deva Gate, you can see the main temple. The largest (approx. 4.5 m high) and oldest molding Nyoirin Kannon in Japan was enshrined in the
- Alpine roses were in full bloom in the precinct.
A lot of tourists were enjoying the flowers of alpines roses.
- I had a plan to visit "Asukadera Temple", however, I was exhausted owing to night bus tour and finishing
hiking course of Tsubosaka-yama. Therefore, I decided to go back to Osaka by Kintetsu Line.
- My Saigoku Pilgrimage finished when I got on the Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka Station to Okayama.
Deva Gate of Okadera Temple
1)Saturday, April 7, 2007
Pilgrimage in Bando Fudasho (Part XX) Weather : Sunny
- The twenty-second Fudasho : Satake Dera Temple (2404 Tenjinhayashi Machi, Hitachi Ohta City, Ibaraki Pref.)
- This is my first pilgrimage in 2007 since last November after an interval of 5 months.
- I took on the first train from Higashi-kurume Station and changed the train of Joban Line bound for Mito at 6:07 AN from Nippori Station.
- I arrived in Mito Station before 8:00 AM. The cherry blossoms had gone in metropolitan area, however, the cherry flowers were in full bloom in Mito area.
- I took on the one-man operated two-car train of Suigun Line (connecting Mito and Koriyama).
The Suigun Line is a single-track local line, but the train was bran-new.
- The train reached Hitachi-Ohta Station at 8:52 AM. It was a tiny station.
- I checked timetable for the train going uptown and was surprised to learn that
only one train every one or two hours was available.
- I found small sightseeing information office very close to the station and visited there.
One lady was there and I asked how to go to Stake-dera Temple. She gave me a copy of city map.
- Then I started to walk to the temple around 9:00 AM.
- It was sunny and warm. I could hear a Japanese nightingale singing.
- I could reach the temple within half an hour.
- When passing through the temple gate, you can see the main temple roofing with thatch.
- The precinct was not so spacious. No one was there and it was so quiet when I arrived.
- The main temple was not flamboyant. It reminded me of the rustic ancient temple of Kamakura City of Kanagawa
- I looked into the interior of the main temple, but it was so dark inside that I could
only see small substitute Kannon in front of the shrine. Of course, the main eleven-faced Kannon was in the shrine.
- Anyway, I would say that the temple is one of the unspoiled temples out of Bando Fudasho.
- I got a red stamp at Nokyo-sho. An old man with long, white beard took care of me.
He was surprised to hear that I came here from the station on foot.
- The attractions of the temple were only temple gate and main temple there. I stayed there only half an hour.
- I left the temple to walk the hiking course written in the guidebook.
- There were several up-and-downs among the forest. I usually run on the flat ground and thus I felt a little bit hard to walk up the slope.
- I could enjoy quiet hiking course, however, when I arrived in the residence named "Nishiyama-so", where Mito Komon, a famous Deputy Shogun of Edo era, lead a retired life,
I met lots of tourists and was forced to come back to the real world.
- I found he really lived in a simple house, but it was surrounded by nature and very nice circumstances.
I wish I could lead a retired life like him.
- At the "Nishiyama Park" on the hill in the vicinity of Nishiyama-so, the cherry blossom festival was held and a lot of people
were there for cherry blossom viewing. But only the halves of the cherry floweres were blossom.
- I came back to the station via Kusho-ji Temple, where the mother of Mito Komon was buried.
- I could catch up with the train to be left at 12:00. The train was crowded than I expected.
- I bought a bottle of locally brewed Japanese sake Named
"Ippin" and steamed bean-jam bun as souvenir at the kiosk of Mito Station.
- I came home around 4:00 PM.
Main Temple thru Temple Gate