My latest Post.

This view,this beauty
A tear unbidden
Creeps into my eye.

My stay is short
But I shall return to this place
If only my life is long enough.

Such beauty
Gazing upon it
I hope my years are many.

Bokusui Wakayama.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Return to Fudo no Taki.

   I was here back in November 2012, In Search of Fudo no Taki, in what turned-out to be a great days hiking. The waterfalls weren't just the only experience that made my hike so memorable that day - the rural environment was abound plus the isolated villages I passed through. But, as I left the falls, and the weeks that followed, I have had this nagging feeling that there was more to see & experience in this area. It was the stream, that fed the falls, that was of interest to me so, after carefully studying my maps, I put-together a plan. 
Map Location.Video.
My route there was the same, as on my first trip, - depart from Kasagi Station, mountain track to Dosenbo Town then onto the 'Falls - through my kinda' environment. As the weather conditions were bleak - overcast, cold with flakes of snow - I was keen to keep on the move. Two-and-a-half hours and 13-kilometers later I arrived with my stomach making overtures to be fed. 
 The ice about the 'Falls prompted me to make a coffee along with a bite-to-eat. Fudo no Taki was as impressive as ever as I soaked-in the surrounding scenery. I was conscience that I was here on my own (I did leave instructions with my wife when departing home) and didn't want to do anything too foolish, like slipping on the rocks or getting wet. This location couldn't be more isolated.
About 100-meters back, before I made the short descent to the 'Falls, I spotted a sign that I am sure wasn't there the first time I visited. Now I knew I was onto something and my prediction was right - there is more to see & experience here. The track, after a short climb & descent through dense forest, emerged at the stream, not far from the top of the 'Falls. 
 All along the track I could hear the sound of the stream below, which was a very comforting, but it was the many logs, used for the growing of Shiitake, that caught my immediate attention. One can stumble across these (quite literally) in some of the most isolated of places, this being no exception. From this point the track became a narrow-muddy track, wide enough to drive a small vehicle on. Also in the vicinity, there was what I can deduce to be a camping/picnic facility. 
Map Location.
About a kilometer later I emerged from the forest into a rural environment and this small-isolated shed. Compared to many of these structures I have happened across, this one was in reasonably good condition. It overlooks rice fields about the size of three Rugby Fields and is surrounded by a tall electric fence. Who are they trying to keep out - deer,bears? Time to move on.
   My next destination was the village of Nodono, about 3km down the road, and Rokusho-jinja Shrine (Map Location).
   From the first Torii that greets you, one walks in quietness along a pebbled-path through a forest of tall Cedars, until the second Torii, some 100-meters away. Once through you enter a serenity that I found difficult to leave. Evidence of the recent Shogatsu celebrations were still in place. As I mentioned in the Video, I have no information to include but, I suspect, this complex would have been frequented by those who were passing-by along the Tokaido Road, which skirts the village.
Benten-eke (Pond).
Map Location.
    About now I was becoming wary of the time, and I still had two more stops before my descent into the village of Tsukigaseguchi. The first being Benten-eke Pond. The small shrine, seen in the middle of the pond (in the image on the right) is dedicated to Benten-sama (Benzaiten), one of the Seven Gods of Fortune. As you can see in the video, the pond still has a thin coating of ice atop the surface. The track, on the right of the pond, led into the forest and, I hope, the last of my stops (according to my map) but, after nearly an hour of fruitless searching, I returned to the sealed road, and my descent.
Map Location.
About 2km into my journey I stopped for a break and spotted a sign partly obscured in the bush. Although my grasp of Kanji isn't anything to be proud of, some of the characters on the sign looked familiar. Upon closer inspection, with the aid of my map, the sign was giving directions to the object I searched for earlier. With time on my side, I entered the forest in search of........
Map Location.
   Roku-jizo Maigaibutsu. Now you can see why I was so obsessed in finding this carving. Let me explain; in Japanese, Roku means six. So, this is a carving of Six Jizo. But it's not just a carving, it's a Maigaibutsu. The Jizo are commonly found, in the shape of small statues, on the side of the road (as seen in the attached link) but, what intrigued me, was the location of this carving. If you look at the map location you will see what I mean. The only conclusion I came to was that this track was once part of the Tokaido Road and wary travellers paused here to offer prayers.
Yours Truly
Rokujizo Maigaibutsu.

With yours truly standing beside the rock, you get an idea of the size of the carving and it's height above the ground. Unless, since the carving was created, the ground has eroded, I get the impression the creator would have required some form of scaffolding to stand on. 
   Time to exit the forest and back to the sealed road. I estimated I had the best part of 5-km to walk, before my arrival at Tsukigaseguchi Station.
Abandoned Dwelling.
   After crossing the busy Route-163, I re-entered the bush and another abandoned building. As you will see in this video this, whatever it was, has some appeal and I couldn't help but stop and admire it. Some parts of it looked old - the mud & straw exterior cladding - but the electric door-bell made me think it wasn't all that old or that long-ago when someone resided there.
J.R. Tsukigaseguchi Station.
About seven-and-a-half hours after alighting the train at Kasagi, I finally reached my destination. This is an unusual station. The platform is elevated which allows panoramic views of the village and surrounding hills. From here I was able to look back from where I had just come from and reminisce about my day, but, unfortunately, with my train about to arrive, I couldn't do it while enjoying a drink of Sake to toast my accomplishment ( all was not lost, I did partake of a sip while on the train). Kanpai.

   Course Map.

No comments:

Post a Comment