A Walk Around Kyushu
Day 77, Saturday March 29th, 2014
Imajuku to Fujisaki
I get up early and catch a train out to Imajuku so I can tick off the last two temples from the list of 108 that comprise the pilgrimage. It is only about ten kilometers so I should finish in plenty of time to catch a train back home. I actually had quite a bit of trouble finding the first temple, number 84, Hozoin in Meinohama. It's located in an area of narrow streets with small houses packed close together, and just looks like a regular house, though once entering the narrow front yard it is packed full of statues.
It has only just gotten light and it appears to be all locked up so I head off. The road I am on is the former Karatsu Kaido, the old road that ran from Hakata to Karatsu, and a historical marker and sign show what is used to be like, but all that's left is the narrowness of the road as everything else looks to have been constructed in the twentieth century, and the latter half of the the twentieth century at that.
Behind a wall I see a vermillion painted shrine, a Sumiyoshi Shrine, but curiously the gate is locked. I can't remember ever having found shrine grounds locked before. Certainly in towns and cities the shrine buildings will be locked up, unlike rural shrines which are often left open. Not too much further and I come to a hillside covered in blossoming cherry trees and a couple of torii leading up the steps. That is where I find the next and final temple, number 85, Kannonji. In front of the main hall is a wonderful old cherry tree in full blossom. Gnarly and with thick, creamy blossoms, quite unlike the trees on the approach, which, I believe, are are a fairly modern hybrid and now the commonest type. I much prefer these older variants. There is a nice, bright blue and red Fudo statue, and in its own little building a truly exquisite painted carving of a Thousand-Armed Kannon.
So now I have finished, 108 temples. Heading to the station I stop in next door to the temple at the Atago Shrine. Many Atago shrines, like this one, are located on the tops of hills or mountains. This one is quite popular for the views it offers over Fukuoka. The shrine has some interesting komainu, and the views are actually quite extensive.
Heading down the hill I pass through yet one more shrine, this time an Inari shrine. I reach the city below and by now it's busy and noisy, head across the bridge to the subway station and head home. I am elated to have completed my journey, but already I am busy planning my next one. I have so enjoyed this walk that I need to start another one. The next one will be a walk around Chugoku, which comprises the five prefectures of Okayama, Hiroshima, Yamaguchi, Shimane, and Tottori. A mere 1200 kilometers or so.
A Walk Around Kyushu Day 76 Part II
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