The year 2004 was the 50th anniversary of the Yakuri cable cars. I think I’ve seen this “face” somewhere…
Actually, the retro-style features of this cable car were modeled on the Tokaido Shinkansen 0 series (bullet train) that started operations the same year, 1964.
Leaving the similarity or non-similarity aside, it’s… so cute! The cable car stopping at Tozanguchi station is worth a look. There are two types of cars.
An orange car that shines among the new greens, and a calm green colored car; they move along connected by a wire rope.
As you board the car, the steep slope leading towards Mt. Goken (known locally as Mt. Yakuri) stretches out ahead… Most of the passengers are pilgrims.
Our destination is Mt. Goken’s Yakuriji Temple.
Kobo Daishi (Kukai), who was born in Sanuki, chose 88 of Shikoku’s temples, and this, the 85th, was opened before the year 1200.
After reaching the station at the top of the mountain, I head towards the sound of the pilgrims’ chants; let’s go to Yakuriji Temple.
In front of Taishi-do Hall, near the pagoda, you can see pilgrims dedicating their sutras. Some chant in groups and as families, and some pray quietly alone.
The wooden staffs that the pilgrims carry are apparently the same as that of Kobo Daishi.
Carrying one is a symbol of being with Kobo Daishi during the whole pilgrimage.
Enshrined inside the main temple, the front of which is visible in the photograph, you’ll find the Shokanjizai Bosatsu (Bodhisattva) made by Daishi.
During the first three days of New Year the area is filled with people on their first temple visit of the year.
A must-see highlight is the observation deck with the “Odemukae Daishi” (‘the welcoming Daishi’). It’s a little separated from the main temple, but you mustn’t miss the view!
You can see far over the cityscapes of Yashima and Takamatsu, and if you turn around you’ll see the overwhelming sight of by Mt. Goken towering over the landscape at the end of Kobo Daishi’s gaze.
On the way back, I recommend descending through the forest. If you walk along the path that leads to the temple, you can catch a side glimpse of the Yakuri cable cars with sunlight filtering through the tree.
After exchanging greetings and standing around chatting with the pilgrims, you might just want to visit some more or all of the other 88 temples, as well.
Near Tozanguchi station, there is quite a popular udon noodle restaurant. It’s an ideal spot for those who want walk a little further from Takamatsu city center.
Address: 3416 Mure, Mure-cho, Takamatsu city, Kagawa prefecture
Fare: Adult round trip JPY930 (JPY560 to climb, JPY460 to descend), Children round trip JPY460 (JPY280 to climb, JPY230 to descend), Group discounts available
Website: http://www.shikoku-cable.co.jp/yakuri/index.htm (Japanese)
Access to Yakuriji Tozanguchi Station:
Train: 1.5km from Kotoden Yakuri station, 3 minutes by taxi, walking also possible
Car: Around 15 minutes from Takamatsu expressway Chuo interchange or Shido interchange, free parking area available in front of Tozanguchi station (400 spaces, large vehicles okay)
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Madoka Hori
Madoka Hori / Photo-writer Entrepreneurial translator/writer living in Hyogo. As a licensed English tour guide, she occasionally takes tourists to beautiful destinations such as Kobe, Himeji, Okayama, Kyoto, and Osaka and her clients have never got lost so far. On Setouchi Finder, as one of the original team members, she enjoys taking photos and sharing her favorite hidden gems. Private Photo Blog http://riderv328.tumblr.com Twitter https://twitter.com/Riderv328
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