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, July 7, 2015

Mt Kibuneyama & Mt Mukoyama . .

. . . . or, more appropriately - "The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men" e.t.c. Yep, I thought I did all my homework when planning for this trip - check the map & course, the weather, food & drink ++++ but, one wrong turn, and I ended-up back about where I commenced my hike, adding an hour or more and a couple of extra kilometers to my outing.
   I was returning to the mountain hamlet of Kumogahata, after several weeks respite, in what was to be my fifth trip into the area; the first two hiking in the Sajikigatake area, the second two on my mountain-bike into the area where I was heading today.
   Japan is in the midst of the annual "Rainy Season" and, what makes it difficult, when planning any outdoor event, is the unpredictability of the weather; all week the forecast had been for cloudy weather but, come the morning of my hike, rain was predicted for later in the day. As I was all prepared and packed, I decided to go for it.
Map Location.
   I arrived at the Deaibashi Bridge, at the confluence of the Kamogawa and Nakatsugawa Rivers, after a 30-minute bus-ride from downtown Kyoto but, before I headed-off, I needed to set-up my G.P.S. device plus record the introduction for my video.

         Five minutes in and my first stop - Tokoku-ji Temple didn't rate very highly on my list of Buddhist Temples, actually, if it wasn't for the monument (pictured above and right) that I read about, I would most probably have walked straight passed it. In the rear of the cemetery, on top of a large rock, is a stone monument bearing a Haiku by the famous poet, Matsuo Basho.
"How I miss my Father and Mother - the cry of the Pheasant".
   Back on the road again and my lane soon becomes an unsealed and muddy track - great off-road cycling territory. Earlier in the week there had been some precipitation and I needed to be aware of the rivers and streams, as-well-as landslides.
Map Location.
   40-minutes after setting-off from the Deaibashi Bridge, I reached a junction and it was from here that I would commence my ascent to Mt Kibuneyama. The atmospheric conditions by now had become quite unbearable. My glasses kept on fogging-up, my body and clothing were damp and I was sweating profusely. On top of that, the temperature had dropped several degrees, a far cry from the conditions back at the start. I needed to stop and put on my hiking jacket to avoid becoming too chilled. The wooden bridge, pictured on the left, didn't inspire confidence but, if I didn't want to get my boots and feet wet, I had no other option to cross the stream. As I made my ascent I was never far from a stream, and the sound of running water.

   Then, without realizing it, it was very-very quiet. The local bird life being the only sound discernible. And my panting. As I stopped to take-in the serenity, I discovered I had arrived at the junction to Mt Kibuneyama.
Map Location.
    Mt Kibuneyama (map location), 699.4m, is not mentioned in the Nihon Hyaku-meizan list but, to me, after weeks of planning this hike, it was an accomplishment. There was no view to be had (if there was, it would have been shrouded in mist), just a concrete block signifying the summit and a sign with the altitude written on it. As I was conscience of the predicted rain, I didn't hang-around long, and returned to the junction and on to my next destination. It was at this point I made my error. The junction was the confluence of three tracks and, thinking my track led-away from where I had just came from, I proceeded. The track was well marked and defined, not allowing any suspicion that I was heading in the opposite direction to where I thought I was meant to be going. 
Somewhere out there is Kyoto City.
    Along the way I was rewarded with views overlooking Kyoto, albeit shrouded in mist. An hour-and-quarter after departing from the junction, I was reunited with civilization and the first sign that something wasn't quiet right. I think the gentleman, sitting in his car, thought I was crazy as I stood in the middle of the road laughing my head-off, when I discovered where I was. This allowed me the opportunity to stop for lunch and plan what to do from here; do I abort and return another day, or take another track that would put me back on course? I chose the latter. 
Tokaido Road.
   The track I was now on was part of the Tokaido Road, created some 500-600 years ago, for people to migrate between Naniwa (modern day Osaka) and Edo (modern day Tokyo). It was at this point the meteorologists got their prediction right, and the heavens opened-up. Luckily I packed a rain jacket. No sooner that it began pouring-down, it stopped. The gods must have been smiling on me. About a kilometer on (thanks to the signposts) I arrived at a junction with a track leading to Mt Mukoyama. I was now back on my original course. 

   The map said it was a 15-minute walk to the summit, which it was, but it was quite steep and, as my physical condition was deteriorating, this was the last thing I needed. Along the way I took note of the variety of growths on the trees. Mt Mukoyama (map location), 426m, did offer me a partial view of the northern suburbs of Kyoto. As I was in urgent need of a coffee intake, along with some sultana buns, I didn't stay long at the summit and made my way down into the settlement of Ninose. And it was a steep descent, with many hairpin bends to navigate. 
Map Location.
   Moriya-jinja shrine, and at last a dry sheltered spot to enjoy a hot cafe au-lait before my train back into Kyoto. It's amazing how a couple of cups of coffee can revitalize one, it was just the tonic, both physically and mentally. 
   From the shrine I strolled through the settlement of Ninose to the local railway station. The train I was about to take is part of the Eizan Line, which links Kyoto City with the village of Kurama, a popular tourist destination. Once back at Demachiyanagi, I boarded my train for home and, once safely ensconced in my comfortable seat, time for my hikers reward - One-Cup Sake. Kanpai. 

Video -

Course Details -     

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