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Posts tagged tengu

Kushida Tengu

kushida tengu

天狗 @ 櫛田神社 (Fukuoka, Japan)

Guess the Japanese train station

japan rail company train station

The first person to guess which train station in Japan I took today’s photo at wins a virtual pat on the back.


I’m not sure what the significance was of this character in an omikoshi procession, but he looked pretty cool in any event.

Hansobo in Kenchoji

My random wallpaper today was this one–Hansobo (半僧坊) in Kenchoji (建長寺) in Kamakura (鎌倉).

Getting to Kofu


Perhaps I should back up and present my day in Kofu chronologically. I took the Keio Line from Shinjuku to Takao Station for two reasons. The first is that it costs 190 yen less (each way) than JR, and the second is that the views are better. You can see Mt. Fuji on a clear day from Keio’s Kitano Station, but it wasn’t clear enough yet on this day. If you get on a semi-limited express train (like I did) the Keio Line is actually faster too.

I transfered at Takao Station onto the JR Chuo Line. On the JR platform is a giant Tengu head statue. Tengu is the symbol of Mt. Takao, which you can get to from this station but not as easily as from the Takaosanguchi Station on the Keio Line.

The train I took, pictured above, from Takao to Kofu is the exact same one I took 22 years ago according to my memory. Japan is full of improvements in the past few decades but JR doesn’t seem to have changed a thing to the regular trains on this line.

ootsuki station fujiyoshida fuji five lakes map directions

The views from the train were really nice–rivers, lakes, fishermen, sakura, mountains, older Japanese homes–things that are not so commonly viewed from trains in Tokyo. The train stations are also much smaller. Everything is a bit more charming.

The first decent sized station after Takao is Ootsuki. From Ootsuki you can head south to Fujiyoshida or to the Fuji Five Lakes Area. I stayed on the train though. The above photo is of a map of the area that I took from inside the train while we were stopped at the station.

jidohanbaiki cherry blossoms blue sky kai-yamato station

The blossoms along this route were really fantastic at times. Sometimes it seemed to be snowing as blossoms fluttered around the train as we speed through a tunnel of blooming trees. The sun came out, for one of the first times during the cherry blossom season, which made things look even better.

enzan higashiyamanashi station view cherry blossoms

I’m not sure if the above photo is from Enzan Station or Higashiyamanashi Station, but the view was great.

The City of Yamanashi in Yamanashi Prefecture had orchard after orchard of blossoming trees. I’m not sure if they were cherry blossoms as they were pink instead of the normal white. Yellow, ground flowers (rapeseed perhaps) bloomed beneath them. With the mountains, partially blue sky, and white fluffy clouds, it made for an impressive scene (and one somewhat different than the one pictured above).

The people in Yamanashi Ken have always been very good to me. I got up to let four, older Japanese ladies sit together when they got on in Yamanashi. That was enough to turn me into an instant friend in their eyes. They shared their candy with me, and we had a good time talking about the area and Kofu, which is where they were also going to experience the same festival.

Thanksgiving in Kamakura

engakuji fall foliage autumn colors

The weather was good and the fall colors (紅葉) were supposed to be great, so I jumped on the train to Kamakura (鎌倉) for Thanksgiving. This was my first time on the train between 8 and 9 a.m., and it was not pleasant. We were pushed in like sardines. I could breath since I’m taller than 99% of the Japanese by a good margin, but I can’t imagine being a foot or two shorter in that condition. My feet got locked in, and I couldn’t move them. I had three layers of clothes on and was sweating like crazy. The lady next to me no longer had her feet on the floor after the train shifted a few times. She was grabbing my arm to keep from falling. Of course, none of us could fall, but leaning heavily on those around you as you move through Tokyo at rapid speeds on the train is not fun.

I was able to sit on the final train (of three), from Yokohama to Kamakura, but it, too, was fairly crowded for a non-holiday weekday in Japan. Everyone without a job was going to see the autumn foliage.

This was my third time in Kamakura. Each time has been very different. At the last second, without a plan in mind, I got off at Kitakamakura instead of the Kamakura station. I visited only three temples and shrines (Engakuji 円覚寺, Kenchoji 建長寺, and Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine 鶴岡八幡宮), but those three still took up a whole day.

The above photo is of the Engakuji Sanmon taken under a Japanese Maple, one of the first of countless seen on this Thanksgiving day.

kamakura japan kenchoji 建長寺 tengu

The above photo was taken from where I had my Thanksgiving feast (of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, an apple, and a PowerBar). The statue in the picture is of Tengu and I think the place was called Hansobo in the Kenchoji complex. I will tell you more about it in a future entry. On a clear day you can see the ocean from here. The sun was too bright and there was a bit of haze on the horizon so I didn’t see the ocean on Thanksgiving.

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