2014 SPHSS Diary – 26

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Day 26/35 – Monday July 28th

asuke1Another hot day. We headed north to Asuke village and the beautiful Kourankei Gorge (香嵐渓). It is a popular place in Aichi, especially for enjoying the red and orange colors of the leaves during the fall (autumn), but it is beautiful all year round, and during the summer, a great place for cooling off.

asuke2aFirst stop was a Shinto Shrine (in this case, Asuke Hachimangu) which apart from the interesting architecture was the first chance for the new arrivals to buy amulets, ask questions etc.

It is an interesting shrine in many respects, but we more or less had the place to ourselves. This made things easier to explain. A good place to show the constant overlap (in Japan) of Buddhism and Shinto on the same location.

From the Hachimangu we entered Kourankei Gorge.

asuke7This valley is gorgeous. Beautiful in any season, today it was providing shade and cool waters. Our first destination was Koujaku-ji (香積寺), a small but wonderful zen temple. We had the chance to meet the chief priest and conduct prayers for family and friends.

Lunch was in an old thatched roof cottage nearby. Very few of the students have allergies, but one has “an aversion” to fish. Whether seafood or freshwater.

This will need to be fixed. Cunning plans are being devised.

After exploring Korankei, it was time to cool off a bit with a swim, and some talking with locals. Good conversation practice. Entry to this valley is free, so it is popular with the young, and for those with way too much time on their hands.

Due to less rainfall this summer than usual, the river level was low today, and jumping off the suspension bridge was actively discouraged (come to think of it, it always is, and there is a sign banning the practice – see the last photo in the album below).

As an inevitable result the only people jumping off the bridge were various company presidents and senior management types. They really should know better, but most of them were drunk. Look out for those rocks!

 

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