Hatsumōde x 34

andy_w

Warming-Up
Feb 4, 2009
143
4
0
Tokyo
tri-japan.blogspot.com
#1
Warren, Steve, (Gunnar?) and myself will be trying an exploratory tour of the Chichibu area and a small sample of the 34 temple pilgrimage on Sunday.

We will meet at Kumagaya station 8.15am on Sunday 9th, it might even be a few degrees warmer that day.

The route will be something like this http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/26677670/

ie, a flat roll out from the station for several km, some small hills, temple 1 and 34 and roll back. We will visit as many or as few temples in between as we see necessary. The route still has 1000m of climbing, and as we aren't familiar with the area map reading will be essential.

Dont expect any spectacular temples, but if anyone knows of any particular temples we shouldnt miss, please let us know.
 

TOM

Maximum Pace
#2
No. 4 金昌寺

Very nice project...one fudasho I can strongly recommend is Kinshoji, Fudasho No. 4

Here is another nice temple in the neighborhood.

Warren, Steve, (Gunnar?) and myself will be trying an exploratory tour of the Chichibu area and a small sample of the 34 temple pilgrimage on Sunday.

We will meet at Kumagaya station 8.15am on Sunday 9th, it might even be a few degrees warmer that day.

The route will be something like this http://www.mapmyride.com/routes/view/26677670/

ie, a flat roll out from the station for several km, some small hills, temple 1 and 34 and roll back. We will visit as many or as few temples in between as we see necessary. The route still has 1000m of climbing, and as we aren't familiar with the area map reading will be essential.

Dont expect any spectacular temples, but if anyone knows of any particular temples we shouldnt miss, please let us know.
 

Gunjira

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2009
1,002
176
83
Tokyo
#3
That looks like a very nice tour. I am intrigued to make this my start of official 2011 training. I did some recon by car in the area once, you basically cannot get on a bad road. If you want to get some more nice climbing, I would recommend taking the slight detour going through the Nihongi pass. Beautiful view, when I was there you could even see the sky tree:eek:

BUT, there is a bike polo tournament all day down in Shonan with my team on Saturday and some work stuff to be done, so I am afraid going out all day Sunday as well would be too much. I have to politely decline.
Have fun!
 

andy_w

Warming-Up
Feb 4, 2009
143
4
0
Tokyo
tri-japan.blogspot.com
#4
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Being new year and Hatsumode time, I thought it was a good chance to try out a ride I'd wanted to do all of last year, but due mainly to training for events and the weather, it never happened.

So we managed to gather 3 henro who have completed the 88 temple pilgrimage of Shikoku, ready to sample the 34 kannon temple tour of Chichibu. Both Steve and Warren completed the Shikoku tour as their first bike tours, Steve several years ago whilst Warren was fresh from November 2010. Could have been 4 henro if Gunnar was available, but he was recovering from bike polo.

We gathered at Kumagaya station from 8:15. Quite a distance from Chichibu, but the alternative is another long and expensive train journey which would reduce cycling time so we started with a nice roll out along the Arakawa river. Could be the best section of cycle path around, deserted, new, and with views to Chichibu mountains, the southern Alps and Mount Fuji straight ahead as we cycled west.

We had to leave the Arakawa after a few km, but route 81 was very quiet and was a decent route out. The original idea was to keep on the 82 close to the Arakawa around the ridge of mountains then down to temple 1. Nice and flat. But after 20km, the itchings to head up something hilly were too overpowering and we went for the 'shortcut'. Initially we found an amazing road, winding its way uphill past frozen rice fields before ending at a quarry - clearly we had made a wrong turn, so we checked the maps before heading back down the hill and on to the correct 'shortcut'. The climb up to 361 was much steeper than expected, a great rindo but open to traffic - not that there was any traffic. We had made it up to the highest point on the ridgeline road which passes over Nihongi pass, and we were rewarded with great views to the west. It took another steep descent to get back to the 82, a nice diversion but the climb was worthwhile for the views and the exploration.

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Finally we reached the Chichibu town sign at the top of a small toge, and from here it was a roll down to temple 1, Shimabuji. Funny thing was the first thing we saw was the familiar face of the small wooden boy holding the name of the temple and temple number. The same little guy who was at every one of the Shikoku temples - he must have the monopoly on temple pilgrimage information boards in Japan.The temple was well presented, and had a shop selling everything the pilgrim would require, from the white clothing and hats to candles, incense and books to collect the stamps of each temple. I bought one as a souvenir, even though I dont expect to complete this meguri.
The 34 temples are spread out over a distance of 100km, but to visit them all by bike would take at least 2 days, longer depending on how long you wish to stop at each temple.

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We were getting hungry, but decided to make the short 2km journey up a small valley to temple 2, Shinpukuji, before lunch. The hunger probably added to the pain of this short journey, the climb was very steep (18%?) and sustained right up to the path the to the temple. The temple sits by itself, with no office or shop, the nokyocho is down the equally steep descent back towards route 11.

After a larger than expected lunch, (but polished off without difficulty) time was getting on and we agreed to make a stop at temple 4, Kinshouji before heading for the train. Up and over Sadamine toge was a gentle climb but a very long and fast descent all the (43km) back to Kumagaya, so a recommended end of ride before getting the speedy Shonan Shinjuku line all the way home.

In the end, and as expected more time was spent on toges than at temples, the final route ended up looking like this
so we missed the intriguing northern loop with temple 34

I reckon temple 28 and 31 look the most picturesque from the guide book we were kindly given at temple #4. Interesting to know how easy it is to descend to Kumagaya from the hills, so a ride from Oume, Arima toge, a couple of temples and more exploring of the Chichibu area could be arranged soon.
 
#5
Thanks for putting this together Andy, and the post ride report. It was a perfect "back in the saddle" ride for me. And the quality of the winter light sifting through the temple complexes was amazing.

Still, I think only three temples won't atone for the various sins I've built up over the years since my Shikoku pilgrimage so we've really got to finish it off properly some time... ;)

-- Steve
 

WhiteGiant

Maximum Pace
Nov 4, 2006
1,192
240
93
Kita-Ueno
#7
Very nice!

It looks like a great ride!
Thanks for the write-up too, Andy.
Actually, I was quite tempted to join you, but for the start-time - Any ride beginning in Kumagaya should have a start-time at least in the double digits.
"8:15" is a scary number, that far away. Way too early!
Anyway, an enjoyable read. Thanks! T