Tokyo Bay Aqua Line
Leaving Tokyo via the Aqua Line which we had fondly imagined to be some kind of bridge across Tokyo Bay. It turns out to be a 9.5 kilometre tunnel full of crawling Sunday traffic. After the Umihotaru S.A. it does become a bridge to Chiba side, but the magic has gone.
＊Tokyo Bay Aqua Line ; 3140 yen (car with ETC ; 800 yen)
Nokogiriyama Nihon-ji Temple
Once in Chiba, a prefecture we are visiting as we have neglected it so far, we head for Nokogiriyama. To climb from the bottom, take the ropeway or drive to the top? That is the question. It is hot. It is Sunday. The best option is to drive Nokogiriyama Tozan Driveway, which is steep but has scenic view.
We park in the top carpark and enter Nihon-ji temple. This temple founded in 725 but has suffered from various fires and neglect. In 1939, there was a big mountain fire caused by a careless climber. Since then the temple has been trying to rebuild but due to WW2 and many other reasons the temple hasn’t fully revived yet.
In hindsight, driving to the top seems to have been the best option as even as you wander around at the top, a great deal of climbing or descending steps is involved. There are also a number of people, not unpleasantly so but enough to ensure queues at a ropeway station.
There are spectacular viewing spots with precipitous drops ‘Jigoku-nozoki’ as this is a partly quarried area not a natural landscape. At various points in the more natural rock-faces there are niches adorned with collections of stone Buddhist statues. Many are badly eroded or decapitated and none of much note.
＊Nokogiriyama Tozan Driveway ; 1000 yen /car, 1200 yen / one-box car
＊Nihon-jitemple ; 700 yen
if you use Nokogiriyama ropeway it cost 950 yen / return over 12 years old.
The Great Buddha
After wandering around up and down for a while we decide it is best to drive down to Daibutsu-guchi car park to view the great Buddha rather than trek down and back up again. This works very well. The Great Buddha is carved into a cliffside with a flat grassy area in front. It is more of a tourist area than a religious site.
The Great Buddha was made 1783 but it had been badly eroded by the end of the Edo era. It was restored in 1969.
Michi no eki ‘Rosemary Park’
From the Buddha, we drive south down Boso peninsular. We check a few michi no eki, but none appeal particularly. Eventually we finish up at Rosemary Park. This michi no eki is a horticultural establishment that has already closed for the day and chained off part of the car park but, to the right, parking is available and there is a small but well-equipped toilet. We park in the dark.
The author is a long term resident of Japan who has and continues to travel the country extensively. Avoiding highways where possible, the author has driven from Kagoshima in Kyushu to Wakanai in Hokkaido covering 20,000 plus kilometres and counting.