Bus to Enjoji-temple 圓成寺
We leave michi no eki Resti Karako Kagi early. We have to catch a bus to Ishiuchi from in front of Nara Kintetsu station at 9.15. This bus will take us to Ninnikusan bus stop. A fare of 660 yen. This stop is next to Enjoji Temple which has a splendid garden, a pond and a very famous statue by Unkei.
On this occasion, we do not visit the temple but cross the road in front of it and take the Yagyu Kaido Takisaka no Michi back to Nara where we have parked the car. This is a walk of about 12 kilometres. At this point the path is not particularly well signposted but we hit the right track.
Yagyu Kaido Takisaka no Michi
At first, the path is through Sugi or cypress forest, plantation is more accurate, so it is dark, shady and cool even though the day is sunny and unseasonably hot. The walking is easy and underfoot, surprisingly, sandy.
After 4 kilometres or so, the trail opens out into rice fields and then passes by a hamlet, a toilet and a toge no chaya. This tea house at the top of the pass is a remnant of when this route was the road from Nara to Yagyu. Yagyu, at that time being famous as a centre for swordsmanship. As in Yagyu Jyubei who was a very famous swordsman.
For the mid-section, the road follows a tarmac road (Nara Okuyama Driveway) that has a few cars, not many, but a definite presence. Later the route abandons the road and plunges along tracks of rough stones and ancient paving through more open, mixed woodland. Here the track follows a stream which improves things. There are a few more people about but really only a few.
There are occasional Buddhist statues and one large Ojizo-sama with a slightly diagonal crack through its neck and shoulders. The story goes that a famous swordsman tested a new blade on it and sliced off the head and shoulders. This is what is generally known as a – “likely story”.
There were also Buddhas carved in a flat rock face that, apparently, catches the sunrise.
Suddenly, to our surprise, we find ourselves on the edge of Nara park with the city before us. We have not even eaten lunch. Rectifying this oversight, we wander on through the herds of deer and hordes of people, it being a 3-day weekend.
The end the day brings another bath at Nara Kenko land, double the price, it being a weekend. Clean, we return to Resuty Karako・Kagi michi no eki for the night.
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.