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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 46 Matsubase to Kumamoto City

A Walk Around Kyushu
Day 46, Matsubase to Kumamoto City
Saturday November 30th, 2013

Another fine day for this last day of this leg of my walk. Like yesterday this one will also be a relatively short one giving me ample time to explore tourist sites in Kumamoto city itself.

From here the road and rail and shinkansen lines all follow the same route towards the city. For the first hour or so its is still mostly rural but it soon becomes more urban. I pass by a huge marshaling yard for shinkansen.

Matsubase to Kumamoto City, Kyushu, Japan.

They are certainly convenient and fast for getting from point to point in a hurry, if you can afford them! I figure they travel just about 100 times faster than me.

Now the traffic, buildings, and noise increases as I am into the sprawl of Kumamoto. The first pilgrimage temple, Honzo-in, is a small urban temple, not any bigger than a large house, but behind its walls are a few statues.

From here I head almost directly east towards Suizenji Garden. There are quite a few golden-leaved trees along the roads but urban walking is not so much fun so I just put my head down and cover the ground as fast as possible.

I had been to the garden before, but that time I was there early in the morning and the best views of the garden were back lit and so not so good. This time it was afternoon and the sun illuminated the garden views better.

There was plenty of splashes of color around the edges, but the main view is rolling “hills” of grass with a few trees, including the famous view of Fujisan.

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 46 Matsubase to Kumamoto City.

This time of the year the grass had died and the ochre was in some ways more dramatic than when it was green. From here I head north east to the next pilgrimage temple, Kongoji. It's a concrete structure, but unlike the previous temple it has no grounds at all, being in fact up in the air on pillars so that the underneath can be used for parking.

Not much here to see so I head to the major temple of Kumamoto, Honmyoji. Compared to the smaller temples I've been visiting on the pilgrimage, it's impressive, being built to memorialize the great samurai lord Kato Kiyomasa, the man who built Kumamoto Castle.

Honmyoji is built on a hill looking at Kumamoto Castle over the city and so is approached up a long wide avenue flanked with temples and then a long series of steps.

There is still color in the trees and the sky is now clear and blue. So I now head back to the station area where I have my room for the night. A quick look around some of the Artpolis Projects in the neighborhood and then time for a bath and beer.

So that's the end of this ten day leg of my journey, and a thoroughly enjoyable ten days it has been. I will be back in a few weeks for another longish leg over the Christmas and New Year Period. I have now walked around 1,260 kilometers, probably more.

Jake Davies

A Walk Around Kyushu Day 45

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