Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Saga to Takeo Onsen Day 57 Kyushu Pilgrimage


A Walk Around Kyushu

Day 57 Saga to Takeo Onsen

Saturday February 15th 2014

Back in Saga to begin the next leg of my pilgrimage walk around Kyushu I am happy to find it warmer and sunnier than the Sanin Coast where I live. As I head west out of Saga I follow the rail line rather than the main road.  

To the north I see the mountains with a dusting of snow on the higher elevations. I soon leave the city behind and am among the paddies and fields. Many have the stubble of last years rice crop but there is also plenty of fresh, green winter wheat. I pass the temporary station of Saga Balloon, only operating, I guess, when one of the Hot Air Balloon festivals is taking place. I head towards a shrine marked on my map but when I get there find a crowd of people outside with banners and megaphone. Some sort of local election going on.

By now I reach the main road, a busy strip of asphalt lined with commercial properties. There are a lot of car dealerships, one sporting a Statue of Liberty. Lots of national chain electronics stores.

More than a few pachinko parlors. One named “Zero” with the slogan “it's so cool to enjoy life frankly”. Frankly I have no idea what that means. There are national chain family restaurants, Karaoke bars, a smattering of love hotels, and of course the ubiquitous “Konbini”. I avoid convenience stores if I have a choice, but increasingly the choice is not there. 100 yen fresh coffee and public toilets are what they excel at providing.

I stop in at shrines along the road. Many of them have the local style of Torii. Made of stone, the pillars are much wider than in the normal style and they taper quite dramatically. The cross piece is much thinner than normal. The overall effect seems to be to create the illusion of them being taller than they are.

A smile comes and my eyes widen as I spot an old Morris Minor rusting in a piece of waste land. Don't see many of those here, though you do see lots of the old Minis. A small detour off the main road takes me to the first pilgrimage temple of the day, Koya-ji.  

The previous post in the series was Saga Shrine.


Post a Comment