Another Blog

As I am now back in the UK, I have updated an old blog and repurposed it. You can see more of my explorations here.

Exploring by Trundle

Podcast about the gods

Hello again after a long break. A little update as I just listened to a podcast, Stuff you missed in history class, and the Seven Gods were featured.

You can listen to it at this link.

Spotify podcast link

Or on any other podcast player.

New Blog

I have started a new walking book. This time is is based away from Tokyo, in Ibaraki.

Walking and Exploring Ibaraki

🙂

A great post about the seven gods of luck.

While sat on the train I read this great post about the seven gods. It has more detail than mine so would be a great addition to read.

Japan Navigator

Koga Seven Gods Walk

I found another seven gods walk. It is in Koga, not the Pokemon Koga, but the city in west Ibaraki. I was looking for something to keep me distracted this winter break and stumbled upon this webpost with a digital map.

I made my own map with the names of the 7 Gods represented in English, which you can find here. The few details I found said it was about 7,000 steps. As you can see by the map there are 10 sites. Mainly because there is an abundance of love and beauty…Benzaiten.

The first website says there was an organised tour at the beginning of the year. While I was walking this time there were posters around about another tour, so this must be an annual event. January is the traditional time to do one of these walks, but they are usually too busy for my patience. I prefer the solitude, or one speedy friend. Mr McSpeedy (not real name) walked with me today.

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This is the date and details of the 2016 walk.

So let’s get to the walk. It was a pretty easy walk with a few distractions. It is quite far from Tokyo, but we live further north so it wasn’t much trouble for us. I would say it is a good walk if you are here for a while, but not worth it if you are only in Japan for a short time. As I have said the starting station is Koga in Ibaraki, an industrial town. While looking for information I found this website that has a cool video. Koga folk really want you to visit. I guess you could make it an overnight trip and visit the park…or cycle around Watarase Retarding Basin, which I already have. It is in the shape of a heart people!

Ok, back to the walk. Most of the stops are small shrines, some are attached to larger complexes.

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1. Close to the station, home of Bishamonten.

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Grrrr…at each stop there is a small statue.

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Some of the shrines are open, but not all.

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2. Benzaiten’s home..or one of them as there are an abundance. A party of lute playing gods live in Koga.

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Benzaiten number 1

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This is the complex to which shrine 2 is attached.

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Between stops keep a look out for other godly appearances.

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3. The first appearance of  Daikoku

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What a happy chappy.

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4. Home of Ebisu, told you most were small.

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Slightly happy chappy, which is odd as he does have a fish and Daikoku only has a hammer….maybe he is not happy but manic?

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5. Jurojin was hiding behind where we were looking.

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This shop opposite had the stamp, so we thought it was around the back. But no, lots of chicken coops, no god.

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Here he is though, having a little giggle.

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5. The actual shrine is over a wall with a locked gate 😦

On our journey to stop six we passed through a lovely area with an open gateway. It was a memorial museum in honour of Takami Senseki. There isn’t much in English on the net about him, but there is this in Japanese.

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If you get to this moat, you are close.

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Drying persimmons.

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What is this?

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It is very well maintained and beautiful.

So back with the walk and the best shrine on the walk. Shojo-ji Temple, while not spectacular it is rather nice.

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Entrance and Bell

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You can see all the gods inside the small shrine.

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6. The second appearance of Benzaiten

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Over to the right is the next stop.

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7. Hello Fukurokujin

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It was a lovely day 🙂

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Sun and kitsune galore.

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On our way to the next stop we saw this weird poster with a shrine made of old smartphones and a tablet. There is even a pair of skis…WHAT is this???

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OK stop 8 and the only one without a stamp or stamp box present. There are stamps all over Koga, but not here??

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The third Benzaiten is looking a little smug about it all.

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She has a lovely complex to hide the stamp, but we couldn’t find it anywhere.

So onwards to the shrine furthest to the north. Actually we nearly missed it altogether, but I saw this building made of breeze blocks or cement and wanted a closer look. Mr McSpeedy was wary as it looked like someone’s home. But I pointed out the welcoming flag and went to take a look.

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And there was Daikokuten, hiding in the sunshine around the back.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABe careful, he has a happy/manic hammer.

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Then it was time to head back to the station for the final stop for Hotei.

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Happy Hotei

A lovely day thanks to global warming and a friend.

Suwa Taisha

I cycled around Suwa today and wrote a bit about in on my other site. I visited Suwa Taisha, which is an entry in the Shrine book I mentioned.

I have now visited all the entries in the Kanto section.

You can read a little about it here, but beware I don’t mention the shrine much as there is already a lot about it on the net.

A New Book

I recently read about this book on another blog I follow.

Cali-rev01-1024x696The ISBN is 978-0-8248-3713-6

It has lots of information on shrines all over Japan and is written in English. As it is still in print and in English I am not going to make a blog about it. I have made a map though which you can find here:

Shinto Shrines Map

As you can see the map has different coloured markers. If it is green it means I have been there recently or in the past and can remember it well, red means I haven’t visited it yet, and blue means I have visited it but can’t remember a thing.

A New Blog

Just to let anyone following me know…this blog is finished as I did every walk in the book. Yeah me!

So I have started a new blog, which you can find here:

Exploring by Trundle

22 Seven Gods Walk – Ichikawa

This was the final walk for me from the book. At over 19km it was also the longest. I would suggest that unless you want to spend the day walking for health or earn your 30,000 steps badge from Fitbit that you skip this walk. It is long and the ratio of effort to great stops is very low, even I thought about giving up….especially as you couldn’t get close to a couple of statues. Certainly, if you do decide to go through with it then don’t try to collect the stamps, you might be disappointed.

So for those brave or crazy souls whole do want to try it then the map for this walk is here:

…with corrected place marks ….Bishamonten, grrr, was a bit of a pain to find. I also had trouble finding any information online about the area or temples.

Talking of Bishamonten, who has become my favourite temple dweller, he is the God at the first stop. This wasn’t a great start to the walk. It took 2km to get there and when I did the dot was in the wrong place. Getting there I did see some interesting sights.

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I thought these garden and window decorations were awesome! I was distracted by the red gate at a temple next door to Godzilla house, but it wasn’t where my dot was and I didn’t check the book. Turns out my dot was in the wrong place and this red gate was the right stop. I asked an old gentleman to confirm my thoughts and he walked me back to the red gate, he chatted for ages and wished me luck on my walk…plus told me to get a bike.

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Each stop is about 2km from each other, one is 3km. The next stop is dedicated to Ebisu and is sooooo not worth the walk. I took 3 photographs while there. Here they are.

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So I quickly moved along to the next stop dedicated to Daikokuten. It felt like such a long walk, along a straight monotonous road.

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I sat here a while and ate some doughnuts I had bought earlier. So glad I did because the next stop was another for Bishamonten and he was a being tricky to find today. Along the way I had some more distractions including Google leading me down a very small path..well done Google, it was the right way. Passed this lovely gate.

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Then I saw this path up a small hill.

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And this solar powered temple, well done..it also had a shrine for dogs.

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But where oh where is the other Bishamonten?

The book gives a rough location, but I couldn’t find it on Google Maps at all. I walked up and down the street then spotted this kindergarten with the same name as the temple in the book.

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And there in the playground was the temple and statue…but with no access, all gates were locked as school was in session.

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This was the only view I got, so if I were you I would skip this stop altogether as you have already seen a lovely Bishamonten home.

So let’s continue and find Jurojin and Fukurokuju who share a place, cohabiting, but they are the same god in different bodies.

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This was a lovely little temple, well looked after and with blooming wisteria. (just change the word..it is fun)

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Then another 2km walk to the home of Benzaiten.

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Again a lovely temple, but again the main statues were behind a gate and hard to get access to. Good job I had my zoom lens.

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The book says the final stop is over 5km away, but Google said it was 3km…I’ll take that as by this point I was feeling a little weary.

Once I finally got there it was another well kempt temple in honour of Hotei.

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…and of course…wisteria!

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and that is it!!!!!

The final walk of the book is done, though I want to revisit one temple on Enoshima to get a photo. I am glad I left this walk for the last as I might not have done them all otherwise. I am also glad I did this one alone as I was so weary at the end I don’t think I would have been good company.

Now, what project next??

29 Seven Gods Walk – Keikyu Tomioka

This walk is just over 10km which mostly follows the seaside line past Kamakura. The books says that the temples have all been refurbished in order to attract more tourists. I have to say all the temples are beautiful and you can see they are well kept. For that reason it is a great walk, none of the other walks has so many beautiful stops. Unfortunately, the walks between the stops are not very interesting, no little coffee shops or quaint areas. The temples/shrines almost make up for it…almost. If you are in the area and are wanting something to do this is a worthwhile walk. The map is here:

And on to the first stop dedicated to Hotei. I had a companion on this walk who could read Japanese and she helpfully added little comments to my book. For this stop, she wrote “Potato, look, sound”, not quite sure what that means. Apparently, it says that on the gate..the little racoon holds the name of the temple.

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The grounds of the site have a few things to see including this gnarly tree. There is a Hotei inside and outside the temple. This site was established in 1574.

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On the walk to stop two we passed a lovely garden with lots of Tanuki. I could tell you all about them, but there is this great website that explains him/her very well.

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The spot on the map for the next stop seemed a little off, but we saw this torii gate and that led up to the actual shrine.

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There were also a couple of guardians outside that looked a little bald, it gave them a curious appearance. This site was established in 1191 and seemed a little sparse compared to all the other stops on the walk. It is difficult to find any information about it as it bares the same name as a famous shrine in Tokyo which you can see on walk number 4, both of these shrines are dedicated to Ebisu. There are even Ebisu Daruma Dolls here. IMG_1908IMG_1909IMG_1910IMG_1911IMG_1912

The walk to stop number three is the longest of the day 3.3km in between the two places. It was good that I had a companion as there wasn’t much to see or do but walk. Finally, we arrived at the home of Jurojin who wisely told us to not give up at the sight of a few steps because he was having a party with some friends.

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This site was burnt down in the past so there is little recorded history about the place. I have to say it is one of my favourite stops in the whole book just because it has lots of little statues around the grounds. Some had fallen over so I took the time to stand them up, please do that if you go there.

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The walk to the next stop takes you along the bay and past Umi No Koen. This would be a great place to spend part of the day or to have a picnic.

IMG_1927IMG_1928 Stop number four is the home of Bishamonten. His statue looked a little different from the others, but he was holding his lucky pagoda so I knew it was him. This stop was established in 1247 and people come here for good luck in sports and for their entrance exams. (Thank you companion).

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The next stop, for Daikoku, is very close by. We still made a small mistake and turned right too soon into another temple’s grounds so take care as Daikoku’s home is awesome. We saw the statue of Daikoku right at the entrance, but there were a few more around the grounds.

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This temple has the only bell tower with a thatched roof that I remember seeing. And the cherry blossom was blooming as you can see. I went in the middle of March if you decide to do the walk at the same time. The main building you can see with the green roof is slimly/thinly built to look like Daikoku..I think he may have put on a few pounds over the years though 😉

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There is a Daikoku hiding under this pagoda.

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And another inside the reception building. They had a table with a map and a paper to collect stamps…but on the whole walk we only found 2 stamps, that is a little annoying.

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The next stop for Benzaiten was a little tricky and annoying. It seems like the grounds of this site used to be a lot bigger and has been split by a busy road. We crossed over to the main part as marked on the map in the book.

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This is a nice temple with a few things to see…but not a Benzaiten in sight so we asked a friendly monk. She said it was actually over the road. So we had to cross three crossways to get there. So you can avoid that I have marked both sections on the map.

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So you can’t just cross to the other side, it is too busy.

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The statue is by the gate, but there is a shrine a bit further along jutting out into the sea.

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The walk to the final stop is a train spotter’s delight. At one point we were surrounded by train tracks and almost got stuck on a level crossing.

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This final stop, the home of Fukurokuju was a treasure trove of sights. There were even Hello Kitty guardians.

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I really like this casual figure enjoying the sun.

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What is nice about this walk is that there are lots of statues of the actual gods, plus a few of them together.

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..and Arigatou to you too! A nice way to end the walk.

JUST ONE MORE TO GO FOR ME!!!!!!!!!

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