Sunday, February 05, 2006

京都 2005 - 23 Atago-kaido - Kiyotaki - Hozukyo

[231105] Labour Thanksgiving public holiday = time to escape from e massive crowds thronging Kyoto city. hence another day in e northwest of Kyoto again - this time a walk from Arashiyama to JR Hozukyo station, along e 愛宕街道 Atago-kaido 'ancient road' & route #50, a highway overlooking e 保津川 Hozu-gawa (river) & 保津峡 Hozu-kyo (gorge), with a sidetrip to e village of Kiyotaki:


started somewhere below e '4.7km', & followed e red line to 化野念仏寺 Adashino Nenbutsuji temple & up 六丁峠 Rokucho(?)-toge (pass). continued on to e confluence of e Kiyotaki-gawa & Hozu-gawa at e big red dot that is 落合 (anyone knows e name in romaji?), & then took e red line along e Kiyotaki-gawa to 清滝 Kiyotaki. returned e same way back to 落合, & walked along e yellow line from 落合 to e blue dot that is JR 保津峡駅 Hozukyo station.

it was an obvious choice between getting on e first 07:14AM Kyoto Bus #72 to e 鳥居本 Saga Toriimoto bus stop, arriving at Adashino Nenbutsuji temple almost a full hour before e 09:00AM opening time, & not being able to fight for space on any of e subsequent buses! hence e cat ended up freezing in e morning chill (two weeks from now this place was to be blanketed in thick snow) along e road leading to 試峠 Kokoromi-toge & Kiyotaki.

& then it had to find a loo....& had to backtrack all e way through Arashiyama past Gio-ji & Nison-in temples to e nearest public WC, adding 1.5km to e day's walk before even starting on it....but this solved e problem of how to pass e one hour before Adashino Nenbutsuji opened =P



[1] blood red maples in full autumn glory [2] one of e most beautiful longkang covers that e straycat (what else would take notice of such things =P) has ever seen [3] cute fruits [4] one of e cat's favourite plants of this trip [5] a burst of sweet little chrysanthemums fighting for e morning sunshine [6] different shades of orange & vermillion on another maple

along e way, stumbled upon a little rock garden with a rather poetic name, 心庭園, hidden behind a wooden gate:


not sure if it is part of e restaurant beside it? creating a garden like this is painstaking work. e gravel just seems to cascade past rocks & stone bridges towards you (above right), & there is even a rock shaped like e 'treasure ship' one in Daisen-in.


carved in e wooden doors were irises, chrysanthemums, bamboo (below left) & sakura (below right):

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Adashino Nenbutsuji, a temple dedicated to e forgotten dead:


Adashino was a place where e dead were buried in ancient times, & about 100 years ago, ~8000 gravestones scattered in e bamboo groves in e area were collected & arranged in neat lines in this temple, surrounding e Buddha statue (above) & a stupa.


[1] '....& at e grave's portals, may young life play, & indifferent nature shine with everlasting beauty' - from one of e cat's favourite Russian poems [2] looking across e 'modern graves' to e mountains of northwest Kyoto in e uphill section of e temple [3] e main section with e thousands of ancient gravestones [4] on e nights of every August 23rd & 24th, more than a thousand candles are lit among e gravestones in a Buddhist memorial ceremony [5] lanterns at e jizo that is e guardian of unborn children's souls [6] a little shrine near e exit where vegetables are e main offerings


[1, 2, 4, 6-8, 11] e ancient dead among e 'newly dead' - gravestones standing deep in fallen maple leaves [3, 5] e jizo surrounded by offerings of Hello Kitty, Stitch (from Lilo & Stitch), baby Jack-jack (from The Incredibles), Snoopy, toy giraffes, milk bottles, kusudama origami ornaments, paper cranes, flowers, bibs, cards & incense for e children that were never born [9] e living among e dead - tourists standing knee-deep in gravestones [12] sunshine flitering through e thick bamboo grove surrounding e temple

Atago-kaido, an ancient road lined with conserved buildings:


[1] part of e miniature model of Atago-kaido outside Adashino Cocoon Village, with monks made from silkworm cocoons walking past traditional thatched-roof farmhouses [2] disaster evacuation map for e Arashiyama area: yellow = temporary places of refuge, green = evacuation area - e Japanese never fail to amaze with their detailed plans for civil defence, which are displayed in every neighbourhood so that even non-residents will have some idea of where to go in an emergency [3, 4] e thatched-roof farmhouses that serve as teahouses for tourists to rest their tired feet [5, 7] it's hard to look fierce & menacing when garlanded by bright red berries =P [6] e red & yellow maples overhead on e windscreen [8] e cat picked up many many yellow maple leaves from this little corner of a carpark [9] e houses lining e Atago-kaido


[1] a traditional storehouse built from stone, used to protect valuable stuff from fire [2] e famous Atago-jinja torii (left) beside e 平野屋 Hira-no-ya teahouse (right) [3] Ebisu with his fishing rod & big fat sea bream under his arm [4] e Atago-jinja torii & Hira-no-ya at e junction where route #50 branches off to e left [5] photographers standing in e longkang to avoid e Kiyotaki-bound traffic while trying to capture e perfect shot of torii + thatched-roof teahouse + maples [6] wares outside a ceramics shop [7] e layer of moss makes e thatched roofing even more beautiful =) [8] big fat faded fish!

route 50:


[1] cat no understand warning....but at least it didn't have e characters 落石 (falling rocks/rock avalanche) [2] e empty road started out flat but began to climb & remind e cat of e infamous Jalan Kuala slope in e old RGS, & it went up, up & up.... [3] but it was steep downhill all e way after Rokucho-toge pass, with super-sharp hairpin turns.... [4] hugging e mountainside, forcing cars to slow down, which was good for e few cyclists in full racing gear training on e slopes that e cat met along e way

first came across Kiyotaki & Hozukyo on this webpage by e owner of a backpacker's hostel in Kyoto. e usual travel guidebooks (LP, DK Eyewitness, Rough Guide etc) have scarce info on this area, mentioning only e touristy boat trips & Torokko scenic tram that run through e Hozukyo between Kameoka & Arashiyama, while e more specialised LP's Hiking in Japan did have a bit more on Kiyotaki-gawa. many searches using both romaji & kanji names on & online maps at Mapion, Yahoo! Japan & Google Japan later, more info was put together on e black hole between Arashiyama & Hozukyo, & route #50 was identified =)


[1] Rokucho-toge, where there was.... [2] a little trail branching off e road (e dotted line leading to e dead end marked with a cross) into e woods, that e cat followed up to a point where e descent down e mountain slopes towards e river below got far too steep for its bad knee [3] some warning sign at e start of e trail - once again, cat no understand warning

view of e Hozu-gawa below:


[1, 2] e view of tourist boats navigating e rocky gorge from e trail off Rokucho-toge - beyond here e scaredy cat was starting to hang off trees & decided to turn back [3] interlocking spurs of e beautiful gorge from a vantage point further along route #50

落合, where e Kiyotaki & Hozu rivers meet:


from e red dot e cat took e right fork towards Kiyotaki, stopping by e bridge on e right for lunch, where it met a big fat group of middle-aged hikers guided by two young guys (below left):


& a few more of such groups picnicking further upriver (above right). e crystal clear, icy cold waters of e Kiyotaki-gawa full of catfood:


e cat's third time in Kiyotaki village:

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one of Japan's coldest winters (snow in Tokyo!!) was on its way, & e autumn colours were starting to fade, & leaves starting to fall - fortunately e cat was here e previous week =P nevertheless this place is still beautiful.


while surfing for info on Kiyotaki, e cat came across photos of this place in its former glory - to see it empty & abandoned in this derelict state was a little sad:


time to head back downriver:


sketching on e river bank:

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where e cat sat down for its tempura-don bento lunch:




[1, 11] Hozu river gorge [2, 4, 8] tourists in e boats from Kameoka to Arashiyama [3] suspension bridge at e Torokko scenic tram Hozukyo station [5] Hozukyo bridge [6] confluence of Hozu-gawa & Mizuo-gawa below JR Hozukyo station [7] e line of tanuki statues greeting tourists on e Torokko Hozukyo station platform [9] Torokko scenic tram [10] paddlers bringing their boat ashore below JR Hozukyo station [11] JR Hozukyo station - e bridge itself serves as e platform!


[1, 12] Hozu river gorge [2] suspension bridge across e Hozugawa at Torokko Hozukyo station [3] Mizuo-gawa, leading to e villages of Mizuo & Koshihata that e cat wanted but didn't have e time to visit [4] e Hozu-gawa continues upstream beyond JR Hozukyo station to Kameoka [5] confluence of Hozu-gawa & Mizuo-gawa [6, 14] e more adventurous tourists who prefer to do their own paddling [7] Kiyotaki-gawa just before it meets e Hozu-gawa [8, 13] JR Hozukyo station [9] boat full of less adventurous tourists who leave e paddling to e skilful boatmen [10] JR Hozukyo station carpark, with e red Mizuo-gawa bridge in e background [11] Torokko Hozukyo station platform tanuki [15] Torokko tram running alongside e river [16] e kuro neko of JR Hozukyo station that every Japanese tourist referred to as 'Jiji', e black cat in Majo no takyubin (Kiki's Delivery Service, one of Hayao Miyazaki's anime films)

from JR Hozukyo station to JR Nijo station, where e cat tried out e Kyoto subway system on its way to Sanjo to check out Kyouen in daytime:



cat love blue gravel =)



so wonderful to have a river running right through e heart of a city, where people & waterfowl can enjoy themselves by e banks (without ugly green railings spoiling e view). Sanjo-ohashi bridge:


buskers by e river:


big fat 10-Q to KK for telling e cat to spare some time to walk along this river when in Kyoto =) he was here in winter & got to enjoy Christmas carolling by e Kamogawa. e Kamogawa at dusk:



Kyoto city is beautiful =)

back to e Sanjo shopping area to pick up more omiyage & for more window-shopping:


e crab that looks delighted to be cooked (below left), & one of e two hyakyu yen (100 yen) shops found along Teramachi shopping arcade (below right):

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one of e items e cat got here was a badly needed scarf =P

Shijo-Kawaramachi bus stop queue:


another way in which Japanese never fail to amaze - e way they form perfect queues of twos for buses & trains, no matter how long e queue. there were probably a hundred people in this S-shaped queue along Kawaramachi-dori that snaked way beyond e cat towards & along Shijo-dori (e photo shows slightly less than half e length of e queue). & when e bus arrived e queue pressed forward but remained intact!

chatting in K's House that night, Miho & Megumi were shocked to hear that there are no such queues in Singapore - how on earth do people get onto buses & trains then? had fun comparing notes about Japan vs Singapore high school life & school rules - they may have strict rules on uniform that officially ban dyed hair & make-up, but no penalties for breaking them....e cat's JC's punishment for recalcitrant latecomers (washing e toilets) left them aghast =P

10th night in K's House, & e cat was getting used to sharing bathrooms with guys again (after a break of almost 5 years) - having to duck in time to avoid getting whacked in e face by elbows (cos e cat is too short to be seen), e shock you get when you look up & suddenly see an extra face above you in e mirror, e deafeningly loud barfing noise they make when gargling after brushing their teeth, e huge amount of elbow space they need at e sink, & e leftover whiskers they leave around e washbasin after shaving.

still, it was unnerving when an Asian-American girl came around hunting for her underwear that had gone missing from e washing machine just as e cat was going to do its laundry (none of rest of her clothes were pinched). some things about hostel life just stay e same no matter where you are - what more in a country where used ladies underwear is sold from vending machines....


Kat said...

Hello, was reading this post and came across the picture you took of Atago-jinja torii. I was wondering if its the same as 'Saga Toriimoto'?

I read there are lesser people there during Sakura season as compared to Adashino. Looks interesting, I would really love to go there.

Kat said...

I really enjoy reading your blog. You sure are adventurous! I find your itinerary really interesting, but not sure if my friends are up for it. Looks like I have to do A LOT more research to do!

straycat said...

Saga Toriimoto-cho (嵯峨鳥居本町) is the name of this 'town', which was named after the torii (鳥居) of Atago-jinja (愛宕神社) here. There's another Atago-jinja torii in Kiyotaki, marking the start of the climb up to Atago-jinja proper. But this one is in a more 'photogenic' setting beside the thatched roof houses & teahouse.

Most visitors spend 2-4 days in Kyoto. I stayed there for 2 weeks so had the time to explore more of the outskirts.

Hope this helps! & thank you for reading :)