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.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Seika Town.

      I have passed through Seika Town many times over the years, either on my way to my destination or returning from my days outing. I have cycled through here, walked and driven, but I've never stopped to take the time to check-out the area.

   It was this sign I recently espied that put the idea into my head that maybe I should spend some time seeing what is on offer in this area of Seika Town (more about the sign later).

Map Location.


                                                                                                     I took my usual shortcut route - route-71 - to reach the border of Hirakata City and Seika Town. I have got to know this section of road like the back-of-my-hand, and I know every bump, turn and hill along the 10km distance. As I was in 'touring mode' my plan was not to push myself but relax and take-in whatever I was to encounter.

   After passing through an avenue of bamboo, I emerged to be greeted by this sight - rice fields, about a third of the way through growth. No matter where one sees this, it's always a sight-to-behold. The sign I mentioned earlier, was now directing me up a concrete lane to the right rear in this image.

   A track, branching-off to my left, looked promising, so I decided to explore. This irrigation reservoir, probably used to supply water for the rice-fields below, was all there was here. So I did a u-turn, and headed back to my original destination.

    A short ways up the lane my attention was drawn to this set of steps. Being in an adventuress mood, I leaned my bike against the rail, and decided on seeing what was in store.
   Nothing much, as it turned-out. Just this monument with no notice or inscription. After giving my head a scratch I decided to descend and re-mount my bike, wondering what that was all about. Then . . . .

Map Location.

. . . . just across the road, this noticeboard was to reveal all. This area was the site of Inayazuma Castle, where part of the Yamashiro Riots of 1485 took place.

   The story goes that one group of Kokujin Samurai, that opposed the military governor Sadamichi Ise's rule, went even further after the uprising disbanded. They barricaded themselves inside Inayazuma castle and continued to resist. Consequently, on September 11th 1493, Chouin Furuichi, the man who was appointed by Sadamichi Ise to rule over the Soraku & Tsuzuki Territories, commanded his troops to attack the castle. Chouin Furuichi then defeated the opposing group of Kokujin Samurai, and thus welcomed the end of the Yamashiro Province Uprising, both in name and substance. It is a prominent theory that the last stronghold of this uprising - Inayazuma Castle - was here in the Kitainayzuma/Shiroyama area of Seika Town.

      Once my perusal of the noticeboard was completed, I took a stroll up a flight of steps to this outlook. I can see why castles are sited in such locations. This is quite a view.

    From here my course took me down a narrow lane, to emerge at the Amida-ji Temple nestled amongst the settlement of Kitainayazuma. Not a huge complex, but quiet and serene, allowing me the opportunity to stroll through the grounds.

Map Location.

   At the end of that lane, I joined another equally-narrow lane and, a few meters along, was the Takeuchi-jinja Shrine. Behind the Haiden (oratory or hall of worship) was the Tamagaki (a fence surrounding the Honden) but, as it was heavily forested, I wasn't able to get a good look inside. I returned to my bike via a path lined with wooden lanterns. Just below this path were several flouring plants and, seeing these, I couldn't pass-up the opportunity to photograph them. The above two images, at the commencement of this post, are the result. Very colorful if I say so myself.

   Leaving Takeuchi-jinja my lane took me past the Anraku-ji Temple - a very small and private complex - and returned me back into the bush. After passing another two irrigation reservoirs, and a derelict shed, I came-across this Jizo. One blink at the wrong time, and I would have missed this.

   As I made my way through the bush, the sounds of traffic became louder and, before long, I emerged at this Futsal  court close to the Keinawa Expressway, one of the oldest expressways in Japan. From here I took a lane that ran parallel to the expressway - many motorways, bypasses & expressways have these lanes running alongside them for emergency vehicles in case of large accidents - to where I connected with route-72. Passing-through the commercial and residential area of Seika Town, I made a beeline for the settlement of Higashibata.


                                                                   And the Higashibata-jinja Shrine (map location). This is very familiar territory to me as it is part of a 30km course I created through this area. Over the years I have spent many hours sitting on the Kagura-den, consuming a banana and water while reveling in the serenity that surrounds me.

   I depart Higashibata-jinja in search of a recently discovered track, not realizing I would be returning to the same shrine in the coming half-hour. On the past two occasions I have taken this lane, I have noted this small sign & track, and wondered where it went. Well, today was the day I was about to find out. The track leads to Mt Dakeyama (260m) the highest mountain in Seika Town. 

   After a quite steep ascent, beating my way through fallen branches and being covered in spider webs, I arrived at the summit. As it was surrounded by dense bush, there was no view of the surrounding area but . . . .

 . . . . a few meters from the summit, partly obscured by the trees, was this interesting collection of stone markers. This one (image on the right) was of particular interest to me. A close look revealed three characters carved on the face of the stone. I can see a visit to the town office for information regarding the identity of the character.

   Back at the summit I realize I am standing at the junction of three tracks, including the one I have just ascended. Not interested in returning via the same route, the track on my right gets the nod and I head-into a forest of bamboo. 

    As I have no idea where I am, and where I am likely to end-up, I push on. My only worry is that I am not wearing the appropriate footwear - my cycling shoes - for hiking. I soon emerge at this narrow lane and I erupt into laughter. This is part of the course I frequently cycle and, just around the corner . . . .

. . . . is Higashibata-jinja. Upon my return a party of foreigners  had arrived. It turned-out they are from New-Zealand and are in the area scouting-out a location to set-up a business. A small world.

   Returning to my bike, I mount-up and move on. I pass another sign giving directions to Dakeyama - the third track - before emerging back onto route-72 and realize my course is nearing it's end.

Map Location.

   I arrive at this nondescript junction where three roads converge. This is also the junction of three municipalities - Seika Town, Kyotanabe and Ikoma Cities. Unlike the Hirakata/Seika border, where I commenced this outing, there is no sign. Just a peg in the ground.

   I decide to take a rest, before returning home, and consume my remaining three bananas. As it's nearing midday, the hottest part of the day, I don't stay for too long. Heat exhaustion is something I am keen to avoid.



                                                  Before signing-off, I thought I would share a couple of images if Fungi I encountered during my travels. 

So, until next time - 


   Course details and images - 

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