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Birds in Chichibu

Hello! I was going to blog about the Chichibu Kannon Pilgrimage, but got sidetracked with all my bird photos. These are just the tip of the iceberg, the birds I managed to photograph mainly from my window or in the garden.

Narcissus flycatcher flies in from April to September each year

Gabi-cho or Garrulax Canoros who is indeed as noisy as his name suggests

Mejiro or Japanese white-eye

Jobitaki or Daurian Redstart

Egret spotted in the Arakawa near Kuna, as we explored the Chichibu Kannon Pilgrimage

Shijugara or Parus Minor

Kiji or Pheasant were every where the year before last, including on the Pilgrimage route, but I didn’t see one last year.
Kogera or woodpecker, I can hear them a lot this year, and even saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker (Akagera) but couldn’t get a picture, but it is seared on my memory as it wa sos

Don’t know this bird’s name. Let me know if you know!

 
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Posted by on February 26, 2022 in fun stuff

 

Temple 8 Saizenji

I can’t believe a whole year and a half passed since I updated the blog. We have been exploring the temples on the 34 Kannon Temple Circuit in Chichibu two at a time all this time (albeit very slowly!), and are up to temple 24. These pictures are from Saizenji (the 8th temple) in June 2020. The maple tree is six hundred years old and we couldn’t believe we have been living here all this time and hadn’t been. It is stunning. So beautiful and peaceful. We wished we had noticed earlier so we could have taken our visitors to see it. I haven’t seen it in Autumn yet, but it was awe inspiring in Spring and early Summer with the hydrangeas and lilies on the route too.

Saizenji temple in the Rinzai sect was founded in 1449 and enshrines the Eleven Faced Kannon. The main building was burnt down in 1810 and 1824, rebuilt in 1845, and refurbished in recent decades. It is in a beautiful location at the foot of Mt. Buko, and a lovely walk around Yokoze town.

 
 

Pilgrimage Temples 5 to 7

Gokado, the fifth temple on the 34 Kannon temple Pilgrimage route in Chichibu is an easy flat walk 1.3km from Temple 4, with views of Mt Buko all the way. The current temple hall was rebuilt between 1804-1815. It is connected with the Rinzai Sect’s Chokoji Temple 250m to the east, which was established in the 15th century. We were mainly looking out for the signs in Japanese (such as in the picture below) which are often next to the stone markers that Edo period pilgrims would have followed. We have a thing about signs.

From Temple 5 it is about a 30 minute walk to Hochoji, or temple 7, which appears on the route before temple 6. It was a lovely walk but I am afraid we must have been tired, because we even though it is beautiful, we were not inspired. The most exciting thing for us was that temple 7 is next to a convenience store (7-11). A further 10 minute walk brings us to Temple 6, called Bokuunji, which is in a lovely location.

Bokuunji (temple 6) is nestled in the hillside with a great view of Mt. Buko. It has a cosy atmosphere. It is said the the Kannon statue enshrined in the temple was originally placed at the top of Mt. Buko (1336m) before being brought down to a place called Togaike in 1488. The building that first enshrined the Kannon statue was then moved to the current location in 1760. The building burned down in 1876 and was reconstructed in 1908.

I’m always excited to find Callistemon red bottlebrush flowers around Chichibu! Walking between the temples and seeing people’s gardens and houses is really fun.

 
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Posted by on August 14, 2020 in Chichibu Pilgrimage

 

Temples 3 (Josenji) and 4 (Kinshoji) on the Chichibu Kannon Pilgrimage Route

Construction of Josenji temple began in 1520 and was completed twelve years later. The original building was burnt to the ground in 1847, and subsequently the main building was rebuilt in 1858. The stone Nio guardians guarding the entrance are impressive as are the carvings on the Kannon hall, and the lotus in early summer.

In 1783 Mt Asama on the border of Gunma and Nagano Prefectures erupted, spewing volcanic ash over the Kanto plain, causing severe damage to crops and exacerbating the Great Tenmei Famine. The priest of Kinshoji at the time requested a thousand little stone Buddha statues to be placed in the temple grounds and received donations of 3800 statues from around Japan. Since then some have been damaged and the number has fallen to around 1300 statues, however it is a lovely walk in the shady woods behind the temple to see the statues. The hiking trail over the mountain to Ashigakubo also starts here.

 
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Posted by on June 11, 2020 in Chichibu Pilgrimage

 

Chichibu Pilgrimage 1

Temples 1 to 2 in Spring.

Rediscovering the pilgrimage route in Chichibu; tranquil, peaceful and friendly.

Or go where your fancy takes you
 

Red Spider Lilies! In Chichibu

Red Spider Lilies at the Miyama Flower Park in HIno, Arakawa, Chichibu.

Red Spider Lilies, known by the nickname of “autumn equinox flowers” in Japanese are flowering everywhere along the sides of the roads here at the moment, and also in this lovely flower park. I got sidetracked trying to photograph the pussycats playing!

Red Spider Lilies Chichibu

 

 

What is pussy looking at?

playing together!

Little puddytat likes to knock over the flowers!

 

 

Playful pussycat

Lovely Lilies!!

 

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2017 in seasonal harvests and flowers

 

Chichibu Red Buttercups, Ryokami, Ogano

Another favourite place! The “fukujuso” or yellow buttercups are flowering at Mt. Azumaya, Ryokami, Ogano, just behind Ryokami Michinoeki, also called “yakushi-no-yu onsen”. The Robai (“wintersweet”) were also in flower and their fragrance was divine. There are also a a few “Chichibu-beni” red buttercups which the local council is trying to propagate. Move over winter, spring is here. Yey!

Let’s start with yellow!

buttercups at Mt. Azumaya

buttercups at Mt. Azumaya

dear adorable buttercups

dear adorable buttercups

 

Chichibu-beni red buttercups I wonder why

Chichibu-beni red buttercups I wonder why

Chichibu-beni red buttercups at Mt. Azumaya. They flower a little later than the yellow buttercups. dsc00516

See Mt. Buko in the distance.

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In the buttercup season the local council opens up this old house as a resting spot.

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And just to brighten things up, more buttercups:

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Come and visit my instagram (neezie1608) for a short video clip.

 

Taiyoji Temple, Chichibu

This is one of the two most beautiful spots in Chichibu, Taiyoji temple in the middle of the mountains of Otaki. A little remote and so peaceful, and the priest so friendly, and his dog so naughty, or playful you could say. Watch out if you take your shoes off, the dog might run off with one and throw it over the cliff! People can come and stay overnight and he teaches meditation in the meditation hall, with its fabulous views of the mountains. He even made an outdoor rock bath for guests.

come and play!

come and play!

Taiyoji Temple main building

Taiyoji Temple main building

Enma-sama

Enma-sama

Enma sama

Enma sama

Apparently in Japan, if a child is naughty, their mother says that Enma-sama (scary God) will come and get them. One friend even showed me an app on their iPad where they could dial up Enma-sama in front of the child and tell him what the child had done, and Enma-sama would answer! I thought that was a bit over-doing it. Way too scary.

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History

History

It seems there has been a temple here since 1313, and it was at one time especially for women, who were banned from setting foot on some of the other sacred mountains and temples. It is amazing to imagine people walking all the way up here centuries ago, in such a mountainous and forested area. It is only a stone’s throw on to Mitsumine Shrine at the top of the mountain, another great spot, but the narrow mountain road is totally overcrowded on some weekends and the first of every month when people go to buy some special charms, as it is being marketed as a “power spot”.

the walk back to the main road

the walk back to the main road

A real power spot.

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2016 in walks and places to go

 

A walk in the neighborhood

It was only late afternoon but the grey sky made it seem later. The days are beginning to shorten.

These are from my neighborhood.

Soba (buckwheat) field in Autumn

Soba (buckwheat) field in Autumn

Chichibu Railway

Chichibu Railway

Kura (warehouse)

Kura (warehouse)

Well

Well (behind the wall)

Fabulous carport

Fabulous carport

"Streetview"

“Streetview”

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another streetview

another streetview

yep, another “streetview”..

There goes another rainy day.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2016 in Uncategorized

 

Red Spider Lily!!

We went for a drive today over the mountains to Higashi-Chichibu-mura, a village east of Chichibu, to buy vegetables at the farmer’s market  there as they always have a great variety of local vegetables. Figs were in season as well as many types of mushrooms. The Red Spider Lilies were in bloom along the river in front of the shop and an old guy was trying to pick walnuts from a very tall walnut tree.

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Red Spider Lilies

Red Spider Lilies

 

More Red Spider Lilies!

More Red Spider Lilies!

 

The Red Spider Lily!

The Red Spider Lily!

This is the brochure for the red spider lilies at Koma on the Seibu Chichibu train line. The flowers are called “higan-bana” in Japanese as they flower around the “higan” week (a Buddhist holiday or a special time to visit graves) around the autumn equinox.

On our way back from Higashi-Chichibu-mura we went past the wonderful “kogen bokujo” farm on the top of the mountain. Can you see the sign?

One last photograph……..

Chichibu Kogen Bokujo

Chichibu Kogen Bokujo

 

 

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2016 in walks and places to go