Monday, February 9, 2015

Sawtooth Mountain

Nokogiri-yama, or Sawtooth Mountain, is across the bay from Tokyo in Chiba. You can't get there by accident, it takes multiple train transfers, a ferry, and a ropeway.

There was nothing interesting enough on the train to take pictures of, but seeing this car in the ferry parking lot just about made the entire trip worth it.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is how you advertise with a car.

It was a poorly marked 10-minute walk from the ferry to the ropeway station, but all these people apparently found it just fine.

I would have taken some pictures in the cable car, but I was smashed in the middle and I'm trying to cut back on photos of the backs of peoples' heads.

The observatory, though, was quite spacious.

Note the crazy hairpin turn in the road at the bottom right.

We got a map and plotted a strategy. Husband is smart, so we went down most of the stairs instead of up.

So many stairs. The Sawtooth Mountain is hereby renamed the Kingdom of Stairs.

This is just from the observatory to the Hyaku-shaku Kannon.

The Hyakushaku Kannon is a relief carving of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy and a memorial to those who died in WWII.

Next stop: the cliff above, the Ruriko Observatory.

Several dozen stairs later, we arrived!

This park is thoughtful and provides benches.

But you know what? I don't need to take a photo from that specific bit of rock badly enough to wait in this queue.

Moving on!

The back of the tourist map says all the stone figures were one big art project, created by an artist devoting his life and those of his 27 apprentices to carving.

Also, hilariously, it states this:
"There is another famous collection of 800 Arhats at Dazhong Temple in Huaian, China, and [is] often referred [to] as being incomparable, yet [ours] surpasses it and is renowned even overseas as the world's holiest ground."
You learn something new every day, I guess.

Many statues, the map says, were destroyed by an anti-Buddhist movement in the Meiji era, and restoration efforts only started recently.

This video ends a bit abruptly. I've compressed more than 22 minutes of video into less than 8, and I figured I had made my point (Kingdom of Stairs).

Not documented is this part:

That part of the walk was dull in comparison, but the Daibutsu of Nihon-ji (giant Buddha) is impressive. The pedestal underneath the lotus blossom alone is 2.7 meters (almost 9 ft) tall. The full height is 31 meters (just over 100 ft).

The view isn't bad, either.

Having seen the daibutsu, it was time to work our way out. Rather than go back up all those stairs, we opted for what seemed like the sensible route to a train station, so we could take the train back to the ferry:

We walked along a stone walkway around a lovely pond

The little red building is a gate used at shrines and temples, complete with some rough-looking god statues (to scare evil spirits away).

Evil spirits, BE AFRAID!

As it turns out, that bit on the map from the grounds gate to the train station? Not to scale. Not even a little. It looks like a quick 5-10 minute walk, but it was closer to 30, through neighborhoods and farmland.

We're going the right way, aren't we?

Someone else is walking this way, we must be on track!
We found the station! (Not pictured) And we managed to get on the train in the right direction and got back to the ferry station later than we expected, but otherwise without incident.

From the ferry parking lot, if I zoom in, I can see the ghost of Mt. Fuji through the late afternoon haze.

Adventure complete!

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