Every now and then, I go on an adventure that pushes me just a bit farther than what I am capable of safely enjoying. That is, of course, just part of the nature of getting out there. Similar to around this time last year, I recently injured my left knee a few weeks ago in almost the same way during a walk around Mount Nokogiri (or Nokogiriyama). The bad news is, just like last year, I was unable to take stairs or even walk correctly for a while. The good news, though, is since I knew exactly what was wrong (compared to a bunch of trouble getting a diagnosis previously…), I could quickly start treatment to recover and move on. With that, and about a month of recovery, I am almost back in business fully! Plus, I managed to get some great photographs and video on my α6500 to boot!
Speaking of which, the day started off fast and furious after a speedy bicycle ride from base to catch the Kurihama-Kanaya ferry. Arriving with just minutes to spare, a friend and I set off on the lumbering transport across the Uraga Channel towards Chiba.
After a quick bite of sushi (present me wishes past me ate a lot more…), we walked along the coast on the way to the ropeway, catching some nice sights in the sunny but chilly weather.
With a quick 500¥ we made our way up the mountain easily.
Right outside the ropeway station is a great viewing platform with 100¥ telescopes and panoramic views. The wind was blowing at a constant 40-50 mph though, so with my high center of gravity I often got pushed around!
Nokogiriyama has multiple branching paths that cover a lot of elevation. In fact, it was the myriad stairs that constantly wove up and down the mountain that likely contributed to my knee injury! Some were pretty standard and geometrical, while others were quite rough and difficult to climb…
First up we stopped by the relief “Hundred-Shaku Kannon”, a 30-meter high carving right in the side of the mountain.
Immediately above us sits Ruriko Observatory, complete with a rocky overhang popular for group photos with many tourists. And you guessed it, it involved a lot of stairs to get there.
By this point in the day, the weather was quickly turning ugly, but it was too cold for a thunderstorm. And at 35 degrees Fahrenheit, was too warm for snow to stick. However, as we made our way to the main attraction of Nokogiriyama, the stone Daibutsu, the high altitude eventually provided opportunities for some pretty heavy snow (seen mostly in the video further below)!
The towering 31 meter-high stone Daibutsu absolutely dwarfs the bronze Daibutsu in Kamakura, and the sheer scale of it is hard to capture in a still image. However, in the bonus clip at the end of the video below, you might get a sense of how big this statue really is!
With the snow spitting down the mountain every now and then, we started to head down through the paths covering the 1500 stone figures of Tokai Arhats. Jingoro Eirei Ono and 27 apprentices devoted their lives to chiseling these stone figures from 1779-1798. They were carefully placed inside shapes, crags, and caves of the mountain formed naturally by erosion. The irony of this sacred placement is that over the past couple centuries, many of the figures themselves have degraded from the same erosion, often missing heads or other parts of the figure that could not stand up to the test of time. In addition, there are just so many collections that I only wanted to share a few photos and video from it. It’s really something you need to experience in person on a peaceful, high-altitude walk.
With the sun setting early in the winter sky, we finished up on the mountain and trekked the whole way down to Nihon-ji temple. Unfortunately, the entire complex was under renovation contstruction, and much of the surrounding gardens were still caught in the grip of winter. However, there were still a few pleasant views even in the cold and snow, most notably a few early-blossoming trees (unsure if they are Sakura) and a smooth black-sand beach.
As a chilling, but beautiful farewell treat, the sky started pouring snow on the way back to a warm meal and the ferry at Hota station. This was actually my first experience of snow in Japan, and I could not have thought of a better place to see it (well…perhaps somewhere in Shirakawa…).
That’s all for this post, guys and gals, thanks for dropping by! Though I ended up hurting my knee pretty badly again, I am happy I got to experience another one of the many small mountains Japan has to offer, just like my time last summer at Yamadera. Thankfully I should be back to 100% by the time CP+ rolls around in a couple weeks. And unlike CP+ 2016, I will be extra-careful not to mess my knees up…again! 🙂 As always, have a great day!