We’ve been getting so tired recently, so we slept in a little and had an extra slow start to the day (and watched some TV from bed).

We’re planning on going to a big festival in Osaka on Saturday/Sunday, so we’ve been trying to make our way down there on time.  So, today was mostly a travelling day (with sightseeing thrown in along the way).

tojimbo cliffs tojimbo cliffsFirst sightseeing stop of the day was Tojinbo, a set of cliffs with curious geometric properties.  The cliffs are (roughly) hexagonal columns, kind of like ‘Giant’s Causeway’ in Ireland/Scotland, but smaller/less impressive.  That being said, it was still pretty neat.  As always, there were dozens of souvenir shops and boat tour operators set up there.  We wandered around for a little while, walking down to look in the little pools to see what was living in there (not much besides millions of weird cockroaches).  The non-uniform height of the columns made it quite easy to climb, as each was like a step in a bizarre three-dimensional staircase.  Weather wasn’t great so we didn’t stick around.


Tojinbo was slightly out of our way, so we had to head back towards Fukui City on our way to see what Risa described as Japan’s Vatican, Eihei-ji.  On the way, in a small nowhere town we grabbed some lunch from a convenience store (Circle-K) and ordinarily it wouldn’t be of any interest, BUT as I was paying for my onigiri (rice ball) I was reading the different flavours of man (steamed bun) in the cabinet, when I read パクまん(Pacman!!).  It was even in the shape/colour of Pacman.  Of course I bought one to try (It was only ¥105).  Not sure what flavour to expect, but was pleasantly surprised that it was something sweet (custard/cookie/anko).  Apparently it’s the 30th anniversary of the power-pill chompin’ little fellow.  Kinda makes you feel old…

Anyway, back to Eihei-ji.  It was especially interesting for Risa because one of her high school friends came here for two years to train to be a priest.  Of all the places that we have been to in Japan, it was the most clearly signed.  From more than 30km away, there were frequent signs helping us to get there!  It’s the small things that make me happy, like not having to try and turn this boat of a car around on some small country road with blind corners and speeding drivers.

Even temples aren’t exempt from the tourist town annoyances (souvenir shops, paid car parking), but unable to avoid it, we had to accept that we were going to have to pay for parking (¥400 to a grumpy old bitch, that was just sitting on a milk crate all day being a bitch).

Eihei-jiEihei-jiThe area (once past all the tourist crap) was amazing.  Ancient and giant pines reaching far up into the sky, bright green momoji leaves, moss, old stones, fresh air and small flowing streams.  Entrance to the temple also had a price (¥500), which I’ve decided to just start accepting, it’s unavoidable.  As we entered, we had to remove our outdoor footwear (and put them into a bag to carry until we left) and wear indoor slippers.  We also had to join a ‘briefing’ like introduction to the temple by a priest in training.  Information on the temple, as well as what not to do while here (which was also handily written in English on the guidebook that I was given).  After this we were free to enjoy the public areas of the temple.  We walked through all the buildings, slowly taking it in, starting from the new buildings and their giant lecture halls, eventually going outside to the older actual temples.  There were students there carefully cleaning the temple and its grounds, sweeping dust/dirt of stairs, picking up leaves, removing incense ash, all with military-like dedication/devotion.

Eihei-ji Eihei-jiIt would be an amazing place to live, but without their lifestyle.

And then as we were leaving (though, it may have started before that) the skies opened up and were raining like it was personal.  It wasn’t just heavy, but it was also prolonged.  I’ve been watching the giant white clouds (with awe) everyday wondering when they were finally going to burst.  Guess I found out.  It rained the rest of the drive, all night and all morning.  I was hoping to drive a lot further than I did after Eihei-ji, to make the drive to Osaka a little easier, but I was tired, the weather was bad and we were hungry, so we stopped in at a michi-no-eki at Kono where Risa made a quick (and delicious) stir-fry to catch up on vegetables/meat.  All that was left was an episode of Dexter before bed.


お天気は、くもり。今日は、東尋坊と永平寺見学。 連日のちょいハードスケジュールからロス君は、少々お疲れ気味なので朝は、少しのんびりすることに。朝デクスター鑑賞。シーズン2!!

10時すぎに出発し、東尋坊を目指す。東尋坊とは、めずらしい柱状節理の岩体で六角系などの形をした岩のこと。北海道では、層雲峡の岩の壁も柱状節理。東尋坊は、それが海岸にある世界的にもめずらしいものらしい。 鶴来からは意外と時間がかかって、2時間くらいだった。

ツノが昨日ここは自殺の名所だなんていってたから、かなり高さがあるのかと思いきや、高さは思ったよりも高くなかったけど、規模は、けっこう広かった。柵などが一切ないので、一歩足を踏み外せばかなり危ない。 思ったよりも高くはないとはいえ、下を覗き込むとけっこう怖かった!ツアーガイドの研修なのか、ツアーガイドの制服みないなのを着て、帽子をかぶっているきゃぴきゃぴ女子集団が、ヒールで崖をキャーキャー言いながら歩き回っているのが、強烈だった。クロックス履いてても怖いのに。すごい。 崖に階段があって、海まで行けるので行ってみると、ものすごい数の小さい海ゴキブリみたいのが、まっくろくろすけの集団のように、ザーッとあちこちで移動していてちょっと気持ち悪かった。でも上から岩を見上げるのもなかなかでした。

東尋坊のあとは、永平寺! ここは、私の友達の隆見が2年間、アメリカ海軍並みにキビシい禅の修行をして来た所で、曹洞宗の道元様が開山した700年以上の歴史のある由緒正しい禅寺。 お寺の前は、お土産やそばや、ごま豆腐やが立ち並ぶ観光地で、駐車料金も取られたけど、一歩お寺に足を踏み入れると何か下界とは、ちがうピンとした空気が流れ、背筋がピンとなった。杉などの木々は、40m位の大きさで、幹の太さもとても大きかった。

まずお寺に入ると、修行僧の方が、見学の心得や歴史、境内の説明などをしてくれる。ここは、200名以上のお坊さん達が修行をされてるらしい。境内は、一般の人が入れない箇所はたくさんあるけれど、それにしても想像以上に広く、階段が無数にあった。 お線香の心地よい香りが漂っていて、なんだか緊張するけれど、安心する場所だと思った。 最近、お線香のにおいがいい香りに感じるのは、年のせいでしょうか、、?





それでは、今日もおやすみ前のデクスター。 ぐっな〜い☆☆