Wednesday, December 3, 2008

day 336 - Shuzenji

Shuzenji is a very pretty onsen village in the middle of the Izu Peninsula, bisected by the gorge of the Katsura-gawa. Unfortunately while we were there its famous public onsen, Tokko-no-yu which stands on a rocky island in the middle of that river, was itself being bisected by earthmoving equipment as the riverbank was being 'renovated'.
It was here that Kobo Daishi (who began the monastery we visited in Koyasan) was said to have thrust his instrument into the rock (sounds painful?) and an onsen gushed forth. This hot-water spring celebrated its 1200th anniversary just last year.

Since the riverbanks were being 'renovated', for once we preferred the 'man-made cave onsen' at the Yutorian Resort which had the choice of segregated hours or shared hours for those who desire communal naked bathing.

The return of a favourite theme - autumn maples - momiji - and bamboo...

Lateral branches are nurtured and propped to survive the weight of the coming winter snow.

Once again an obliging passer-by offers to take our photo at the mon (gateway) to Shuzenji, the temple founded by Kobo Daishi in 807 which gives the village its name. (This building dates from 1849.)

Shuzenji Temple.
The perfect pine does not happen by accident. There's general shaping and then there's the removal  of  individual needles...

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