Showing posts with label bamboo. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bamboo. Show all posts

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Sasaguri 88 Temple Pilgrimage

Sasaguri, in the mountains just north of the sprawling metropolis of Fukuoka, is home to a miniature version of the famous 88 temple Shikoku Pilgrimage. It is less than 50 kilometers in length, but took me 4 tough days to walk because it is up and down, up and down.

Some of the temples are quite large complexes, in fact the pilgrimage stops at Nanzoin, home to the largest reclining Buddha in Japan. Many of the temples are small, wayside chapels, unmanned but usually with quite a lot of statuary. Surprisingly, in such a small area, the route also passes by many other temples that are not included in the pilgrimage.

Being in the mountains there is a high percentage of temples with waterfalls that are used for ascetic training, consequently there are many, many statues of Fudo Myo,..... literally hundreds of them.
The highest point reached is 680 meters above sea level, to a cave on top of Mount Wakasugi where Kobo Daishi spent time after he returned from China.

A few kilometers are along busy main roads, but most of the route is either well marked walking trails or narrow mountain roads with no traffic. You pass through a lot of bamboo forest including one on the 3rd day that was the most enchanting bamboo forest I've ever been in....

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Over Umadachi Pass

For the first day of my walk along the Shodoshima Pilgrimage I chose to walk the small peninsula that jutted out into Sakate Bay. My guesthouse was there and temples 4,5,& 6 were all on it.

From number 5, Horikoshi-an, my plan was to walk a narrow road that went round the south side of the peninsula. A couple of years ago it had been closed by a landslide but I figured it would be open by now. However at Horokoshi-an the signs pointed to a trail that headed up the hillside and over a pass. The most direct route, but involving a 160 meter climb. I am glad I took it as as I reached the pass the woods were filled with golden shafts of sunlight piercing the last of the morning mist.

At the pass was a small wayside Jizo, and then the path descended quickly. Part way down and right next to the bubbling stream was a small structure containing two small statues of Fudo.

The trail carried on down through some thick stands of bamboo before coming out of the forest above the fishing village of Tanoura.

Sunday, January 23, 2011



This is the draincover for the city of Nagaoka, the place that was briefly the capital of Japan before it moved to Kyoto. The design shows bamboo and bamboo shoots (takenoko) a major product of the area.


The hills behind the town are covered almost exclusively in bamboo and there are plenty of trails and small roads that let you walk through the area.


I have an earlier post on takenoko here


Whereas we don't maintain the bamboo in any way, other than harvesting the root and the poles, here the bamboo is cultivated.


One method seems to be layering rice straw with soft earth. In places this has built up to a depth of 2 meters with narrow paths between.


The bamboo sculptures at Komorikate Shrine were popular with you, so here is a close-up of the tiger, made completely out of bamboo save for the glass eyes....

Sunday, April 26, 2009

April harvest. Takenoko, bamboo shoots


It's takenoko season!! The shoots of new Giant Bamboo are now poking up from the ground and free food is to be had for the taking.

The best time to harvest is early morning following a rain. Look for shoots no more than a few centimetres in height. Any bigger and they are too tough.


Dig out the soil around the shoots down about 10 cms and cut. Most Japanese use a Japanese pick which has a sharp blade on one side, but I used a small hatchet with no trouble. The above photo is about 20 minutes worth of work.


Strip away the outer layers and trim the base and tips.


Preparation should be done as soon after harvesting as possible as the shoots quickly become tough and bitter. Before cooking the shoots need some preparation. Most people boil the shoots in water with nuka (rice bran) and a few red peppers, though if you can't easily get rice bran then boiling the shoots and changing the water twice works as well to remove the acridity.


Once drained and washed the shoot can now be cooked. Takenoko can be made into pickles, takenoko gohan, rice cooked with bamboo shoots, is also popular, but a good way is to boil the shoots in a mixture of water, soy sauce, sake, and fish stock.


My favorite way to use them is in Thai curry,.... a little to spicy for most japanese. Tonights supper.... made with eggplants, tomatoes and peppers out of the freezer from last years garden. There is no doubt that the tastiest food is free food!!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bamboo forest


There is something quite magical in bamboo groves. I've been trying to capture some of it for years in the camera.


You can't catch the swaying in the wind,....


... and you can't catch the clacking as they bang into each other,....


.. but I am fairly pleased with some of the color and light that I did manage to catch on a trip up in to the mountains around Yasaka last year.