Thursday, November 30, 2017

In search of Taichō (4)

29/30 October: But how to commemorate the 1,300th anniversary of Monk Taichō’s ascent of Hakusan? We still haven’t climbed anything higher than 613 metres, which seems a bit weak as a tribute to the great pioneer. Then, like a bubble of marsh-gas rising from a muddy sump, an idea pops up.

The summit shrine on Mt Atago: founded by Taicho
as Haku-unji, the Temple of the White Cloud

Tomorrow morning, I’ll leap on the first Kyoto-bound Thunderbird express, ride the local line up to Arashiyama, take a taxi to the roadhead, and zoom up Atago-yama, on the city’s western margin. I’m obliged to the excellent Green Shinto blog for pointing out that Atago too was “opened” by Taichō.

Kyoto's Mt Atago, as it was in better days
(Print courtesty of Ando Hiroshige)

And if the guidebook time can be halved, there’ll be minimal danger of being late for supper with the Sensei and her mother. Surely this is what financier types used to call a rinky-dink plan. And like so many such plans, it meets with a swift demise: the Sensei isn’t enthused. “You’re not going,” she says...

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