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.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Mount Kunimiyama, Tou-no Mori Forest and The Nanamagari Path.

Summit of Mt Kunimiyama.

   I was in this area in early November, In Search of Tsubakio-jo Castle, when, during my research for that post, I discovered more hiking tracks that appealed to my sense-of-adventure - I had seen some images via my Panoramio page and was keen to check more of this area out.
Map Location.
   Getting to the start of the track I needed to take the same route I took to Tsubakio-jo and, from there, to connect with route-186, which wasn't easy. My sealed mountain lane suddenly stopped, and I had to descend down a muddy bank, cross a stream, then bush-bash up the other side. Route-186 was just below me but, before I could access the road, I had to beat my way through some very dense shrubbery first. My track junction was a further 1.5km along the road. The sign suggested my ascent would take me 45-minutes so, as I wasn't in any particular hurry, I casually began my climb.
   A few minutes in, emerging from the forest, I found myself amongst a tea plantation and these interesting icons at the base of a tree. From here I was beginning to get my first views from where I had just come from - Mt Shiroyama to the northwest and the settlement of Yadawaracho to the northeast, with Mt Kunimiyama in front of me. During my ascent I experienced many junctions, with tracks branching-off in different directions. But, all credit to the wardens of the track, my track was well signposted.
Map Location.

Then, about 30-minutes later, I suddenly (and unexpectedly) arrived at the summit of Kunimiyama (680m). Perfect timing - it was about midday, I was hungry, the sun emerged. Unpacking my gear, I set about to have a bite-to-eat (the opening image is the picnic table at the summit) while checking-out the view. I was now above Mt Shiroyama and could see over the Nara City plains and Mt Ikoma in the far distance.
   After departing the summit I now entered the Tou-no Mori Forest, and my next destination - Hiyoshi-jinja Shrine ( I had seen images on my Panoramio page and was keen to check the complex out). 
Map Location.
   The forest track, like the approach to Mt Kunimiyama, was well signposted, like in the image on the right. Here I am at the junction of the track to Hiyoshi-jinja, behind me, and the descent into the settlement of Bessho (I return to this point, after visiting the shrine, as it takes me to the next segment of my hike - The Nanamagari Path).
Map Location.
   About 15-minutes from the junction I arrive at a clearing, with a dilapidated shed and, as I look down the track, I spy the unmistakable sight of a vermilion-colored Torii. I have arrived at Hiyoshi-jinja. This is an Inari Jinja and, typical of this type of shrine, the approach is marked by one or more Torii with two Kitsune standing guard.I spend the best part of 20-minutes taking-in the serenity & isolation of this complex, as-well-as taking photos, but I shall let this video do the talking.
Map Location.
   After returning to the junction, I descend into the settlement of Bessho and back onto route-186, albeit for a few-hundred meters, and the third and final segment of the day - The Nanamagari Path. Unfortunately, I don't have any details regarding the path to share with you, just that it's only about 700-meters long. A hundred or so meters in, I reach this set of Stone Pagodas, with a path leading to the....
                                 ....Shimonobo Eisho-ji Temple.
   The temple was founded in the year 712A.D. by the Japanese Buddhist Monk,  Roben, who was also clerical founder of the Todai-ji Temple in Nara. It is not a very large complex but, what makes it even more spectacular, is the 800-year old Japanese Cedar overhanging the grounds. As I did with Hiyoshi-jinja, I shall let this video do the talking.
   A bit  further down the path from the temple, nestled in amongst the forest, is this interesting collection of Buddhist Icons, maybe with some connection to Shimonobo Eisho-ji.

   From the icons, the path zigzag's down and connects with a stream and, after treading cautiously over a set of logs, resembling a bridge (image on the right), I come closer to the terminus of the path, and my return to civilization or, in this instance, route-24. Route-24 is a National Highway that commences it's journey in Osaka City, passes-through Nara, on it's way to Mie Prefecture. It's a very busy road, to say the least, and a rude awakening, after the past several hours of peace-and-quite and solitude of the forest.
   From here my return to the J.R.Obitoke Station commences, and along the way I pass through the settlements of Nakahatacho, Koryujicho and Takahicho, taking-in some of the local sights. Like this dilapidated old house on the left.
   As I had just missed my train, I had 40-minutes to wait for the next so, what better way to while-away my time, than with a hot cup of cafe au- lait. Just what the doctor ordered.
   Well, it's been another great outing, and a pleasure to have shared it with you. I am already planning my return to the area. Maybe on that occasion I will be on two wheels. Maybe I will extend or find new tracks to explore. Who knows. So, until next time, Sayonara.

   The links, to the "Map Location" throughout this post, may not be very accurate. I apologise for that. I am yet to master the updated "New Google Maps" 'site.

   Full video of the today's hike.

   Today's route, with images -