京都 2005.03.27 () - Hiking in the Hills

Today was the day of Takao. This was fortuitous timing; I needed a break after the prior day. I left the guesthouse at 9:30. It took a bit of walking to find my bus stop; I dropped in on a Starbucks along the way, since I hadn't gotten coffee at the guesthouse. The bus ride took awhile to go through town and up the hill; it cost 500. At the top is a small community on steep hillsides, with a river in the ravine. After a bit of walking, I arrived at 高山寺, which does have a steep (600) entrance fee for such few attractions. But the serenity is wonderful, and I felt it was worth it to me. Inside is the 鳥獣戯画, among other a few other things. The view of the surrounding area is wonderful, marred only by the occasional sounds from the road below. I spent a couple of hours just relaxing.

Next I bought some items from the gift shop, managing to whack my head pretty hard against one of the ceiling beams in the process. I moved on to the smaller 西明寺 temple (with no charge) and it had a good view of the river.

After that I began the long staircase climb up to じんごじ. Part way up I stopped at a noodle shop that had great うどん. They had cola floats as well, and I figured I'd get one on the way down, but by that point they had closed...

Entrance to じんごじ was 400, and definitely worth it. Lots of pretty scenery. Behind the temple are some trails up the mountain, and these are what consumed the rest of my day.

Map of explored trails

The trail is rough and steep most of the time. The first branch took me to a couple of gravestones. But more impressive to me was the fact that from that area, you can see down on 京都! I spent a long time up there. Then back at the branch, I figured I'd try for the second set of gravestones (from how the map showed two figures on the map). After going a ways, there was a marker for the top of the mountain. Of course I followed that side trail too, and it had even better views of the city. Then I went back to the main trail.

I still continued up and on, loving the quiet and scenery. The trail started going through logged areas (now replanted), and then paralleled a gravel logging road. After awhile, it hit a clearing where some garbage had been dumped, and the road became paved. At this point I figured that the two gravestones on the map represented the two gravestones in the same location I'd seen earlier, and not two seperate locations. By that point I was more interested in the trail than the gravestones anyway. So I proceeded to follow the road, but I was getting worried about the time, so I gave myself a count to 300 as a limit. Before the end, however, I came upon a branch in the road. The new fork went up and around, while it seemed like the other direction started to head down the hill. I gave myself five minutes to explore the new branch, but it was closer to ten before I actually turned back (``OK, just one more curve...''). It took 40 minutes or so to descend back to the temple -- I arrived at about 6pm.

By this point the temple had closed, including the gate, and no one was left inside. I started looking around for an alternative exit. Off to one side of the entrance was a road leading to a less traditional gate. That gate was closed too, but it looked like I might be able to go around anyway. I started to investigate, but in the process, I tripped some sort of motion detecting alarm! WOORT WOORT WOORT!! I went back to the middle of the entrance road and waited a minute or so; a monk came in from a small door on the opposite side of the entrance to investigate. I apologized the best I could and explained why I was behind the gate so long after closing. He didn't seem to troubled, and let me out of the temple. On the way through the small side gate, I bumped my head again... we both had a chuckle over that.

On the way down, anything cheap was closed; I'd have to get dinner elsewhere. I vended some tea to rehydrate, and went back up the hill to catch the bus -- it was dark at this point. Except for tripping the alarm, perfectly timed.

On the way back from the bus stop to the guesthouse, I bought some laundry soap, or so I thought... Back at the guesthouse, I took the bottle with me to dinner so I could ask the staff how much I should use. Before I even got around to asking, みちる noticed the bottle; she let me know that I had actually bought some sort of bleach gel. Oops... fortunately, the guesthouse provides a box of detergent for the guests, which I hadn't realized before, obviously. Oh well!

The rest of the night was food, laundry, shower, and sleep.