Thursday, 30 May 2013

The Princess and the Mountain ; A Day Trip to Mount Fuji


Mount Fuji. It's pretty magnificent. I guess I went expecting it to be green and lush. And to some extent it was (I mean..we did see a monkey on the side of the road on the way there) but having experienced more volcanic landscape than many other people I should have probably guessed that Fuji would be covered in black volcanic rubble. That said, it's pretty incredible and we were blessed with good enough weather to have a clear view of the top for most of the day. 




There are many Shrines on Fuji, this is the Komitake Shrine. Most of the shrines(if not all but I'm hesitant to say) on Mount Fuji are dedicated to Konohanasukaya-hime (phewf!) otherwise known as Kono-hime or Princess Kono in English. She is the symbol of delicate earthly life , so something worth worshipping and you can understand why she would be linked to a volcano Mount Fuji. She is also the daughter of a mountain god. I'm actually really enjoying reading about Kono-hime, she's an interesting part of Japanese mythology, so she is actually a belief formed outside of Shinto and Buddhism, and then absorbed into the religions. 




I'm still trying to find out what the huge geta sandals mean.





So we ended up hitchhiking down the mountain as our original route we had planned on still had snow across it. We got picked up by a guy who told us we should go and see this shrine. The shrine turned out to be the very beautiful Fujiyoshida Sengen Shrine. It features one of the highest Tori gates in Japan, it's apparently 18 metres high and gets and extra bit added every 60 years. Apparently the board at the top says "Sangoko Daiichizan" meaning "the highest mountain among the three countries China, Japan and India."















Really love these two pictures of the shrine attendants coming out to change the rice and other offerings at each of the small shrines that line the main buildings. 




  

It was a long walk down from the shrine but the weather was so beautiful at the bottom when we stopped for a breather I sat and sketched this boat. The colours reminded me of a Studio Ghibli movie. (Sit tight for a blog on my visit to the Ghibli museum!)


xxx

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