Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Mt. Haguro

On Sunday one of my newer English class students Mr. Iwaya and his wife took me sightseeing in the Shonai area. The Iwayas are a retired couple who are invovled in many volunteer activities and it seems that last week was their 'volunteer as tour guides' week. The Shonai plain is an area of Yamagata Prefecture just south of the border. The cities Sakata and Tsuruoka are located on the Shonai plain.

Unfortunately the weather on Sunday was cold and rainy which meant I had to do most of my sightseeing whie carrying an umbrella. Also my camera doesn't like dim weather. Many of the photos that I took came out blurry. Too bad. I did get a few good photos though.

Our first stop was Haguro-san, one of the 'Dewa Sanzan' (three mountains of Dewa). I will let you read the official English explanation:

By Cryptomeria trees they mean Japanese cedar. Anyway, I climbed up the 1.7 km, 2,446 step path to the top of Mt. Haguro. It was not an easy climb. I got a certificate commemorating my effort.

I think this bridge is awesome. I've only ever seen bridges like this before in Inuyasha cartoons.

This is Jijisugi (Grandpa Cedar). He is about 1,400 years old. There used to be a Babasugi (Grandma Cedar) but she got hit by lightning and burned down.

This is the five storey pagoda. Apparently it was originally made over 1,000 years ago and then got rebuilt about 700 years ago. There is not one single nail used in this pagoda; it is tied together with vines. There were a lot of people hanging around (as you can see) and I could not get a good picture.

These (priests?) were walking about and praying for peace at the front of each individual shrine within the shrine complex on the top of the hill.

The ghostly apparition in the background is the three god combined shrine.

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