Natalie Goes to Japan

40 year old very married blonde woman having a midlife crisis who heads to Japan alone to follow her dreams. Be careful what you wish for ... you just may get it.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Retread 2 - Horaijisan

Well, it was Monday. And I had only done the little trip to Tenryu the day before. And I wanted to try and do something bigger. So I decided to try and go to Horai again. I had planned to go several weeks ago, but got sidetracked with the temple at Okuyama. So I got myself in the car and drove. I took the wrong map. Not that it really mattered, as my map doesn't show how to get to the temple. So I retraced my steps to Okuyama and headed up in the direction I believed Horai to be. I drove and looked at the scenery and drove and drove. Well, I took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in Shinshiro. Which isn't worth the time it took to get there. I ended up eating lunch in the parking lot of a drug store. I went back the way I came, and tried to correct that left turn at Alburquerque that Buggs is always talking about. I eventually ended up at the town I believed was Horai, but there weren't any signs to the mountain. And I was pretty fed up. But as I neared a gas station I got the brilliant idea to see if they had any maps for sale. Better than that, they gave me a free tourist map of the area and explained where I was and where I needed to go. I knew I didn't have enough time now to hike the mountain, but thought I could go visit the fairly famous temple and shrine there. So I turned around and followed the map. Half an hour later I pulled up to the parking area, and was quite surprised to find I had to pay 500 yen to pay to park. I've never paid parking at a temple before. Oh, well, I was here. It had started to sprinkle, and the clouds were moving in. Well, I somehow got engulfed by a tourbus full of tourists. We first came to the shrine. Their tour guide told them a few sentences about the shrine, and then everybody spread out to either pray, or purify themselves at the well, or buy a fortune. My camera batteries gave up the ghost at this point, so I tried to coax it and trick it, but no such luck. I was trying to wait out the tour group, but there really was nothing to look at at this shrine. It was very small, and terribly uninteresting. So I ended up walking to the temple with some of the stragglers. One chatty woman decided to strike up a conversation with me. As my Japanese is so extremely limited we only able to talk about the fact that I was there alone and that the weather made looking at the fall colors hard, but that the clouds were pretty. Then we came up to the famous shrine. What a disappointment. It's tiny. You can't go inside. And there is nothing interesting outside. It was nearly time for me to turn around anyway, as I needed to get back to see some clients. And I spotted the 2 hour hiking trail to the top of the mountain. The major accomplishment was that I found it and I got a map. I guess I just have to consider this trip as reconnaissance.


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