Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A True Tale of Typhoon Talas postscript

Sunday morning I woke late and the sun was already up. The sun!.... havent seen it for a few days. In many ways its as if the typhoon was just a dream.
The way to the next temple is straight up the mountain, but as the trail is very steep and there is a good chance the trail is running with water, washed out, or in other ways damaged, I decide to take the longer way, along the river around the mountain and go up the other side where there is a ropeway.
I head out of Oi across the bridge. The river is still swollen,brown and turbulent, but the debris in the trees show that it was 4 or 5 meters higher yesterday at its most flooded.
Im in the shade of the mountain which im grateful for as its already starting to warm up. The main road is on the other side of the river and this road is narrow with few habitations. Every few hundred meters water comes pouring off the mountainside and its like walking along a Japanese city street in the summer with the store doors open and air-conditioned air blasting out on to the street. There are rocks and stones scattered across the road, but no landslides.
About 6k later I get to the ropeway station that goes up 600 meters to Tairyuji. The ropeway car attendant tells me that yesterday the paddies in the village below were all underwater. The views from the ropeway are stunning and from the top I can even see back to the pagoda of Kakurinji. At the temple they tell me that trees along the trail down fell during the typhoon so the trail is dangerous so I decide to go back down by ropeway and head off the 14k to the next temple.
Walking through the village I was confronted with a strange site...... piles of rice by the sides of the road. The villagers had been up since first light sweeping the roads clean of all the rice that had been washed out of the paddies. This shrine was nice, with 1,000 year old trees. I chatted with one of the men cleaning up there and he gave me a bottle of tea..... so far I have found more osettai (gifts to pilgrims) at shrines than at the temples.
The main street of the village gave further evidence of the destruction caused yesterday by the flooding..... every house had been emptied and all the furniture, tatami etc stacked on the street to dry...
A few hours later, over a pass and on my way down along another river towards Byodoji, a rescre helicopter slowly hovers and passes up and down the river. teams of people are also walking the riverbanks peering down into the riverbanks. Typhoon Talas has claimed 100 people, either dead or missing.
But its not all doom and gloom. Life goes on. Not far from Byodoji I spy shrine banners flying and the sound of people. Matsuri!! Its a small Yasaka Shrine and the people insist is stay awhile and eat some local delicacies and drink some cold beers. Drinking beer and walking in the hot sun do not go well together, but im only a few minutes from the last temple I can visit on this segment of the pilgrimage, and it would be rude to refuse such an invitation, so I join them. They showed me some nice old sarutahiko masks as well......


  1. Thank you for the good report of the typhoon. That must have been a hard work !!


  3. beautiful bridge picture, glad you made it in one, albeit soggy, piece