Tofukuji Temple - Uh, Sort Of

Sorry to mislead you, but that's what happened to me. Some of you who have visited Kyoto will think of the Tofukuji Temple there which is the head temple for the Tofukuji School of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism. This post is definitely NOT about that.

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Tofukuji - Kyoto

Sunday's weather was cool and clear. We had some errands in town and then K had things to do with her mother and brother (Pandabonium bows and exits stage right). I decided not to waste such a beautiful day with "WERK" and instead go exploring via bicycle (what else?).

I noted on my map of Kashima City a temple which I had never seen before. "Tofukuji". Auspicious name. Of course, being a rural area I was prepared for a much more modest edifice but of interest none the less. After all, I have already found and posted about three interesting temples within walking distance of our house. For those stories, see The Time Capsule In My Backyard (my very first post by the way), Further Back In Time, and Yet Another Time Capsule.

This "Tofukuji" is shown on my map to be in what was known as Aso Town, now part of Namegata City. I still use the old names (so do many road signs) as they are more precise. For you Californians, imagine asking how to get to "Tarzana" and being told, "Oh, it isn't called that anymore, it's now part of 'Los Angeles'. " This is the realm of the Moody Minstrel, so I had to be on the look out for his notorious BLUE RAV 4 careening down the highway.

It was mid afternoon by the time I left and about ten minutes later, K (with her mother and brother in the car) and I passed going opposite directions. She would soon be home to read the note I left saying where I was going.

The ride was not terribly long for me, but good exercise at about 6.5 kilometers each way. It did cross Lake Kitaura via the Kitaura Bridge. I like the bridge for the views it offers and the wide walkway I can ride on separated from traffic. It is also a good little workout going uphill for half a kilometer (especially against the wind).

Once in Aso I began to look for the temple, which is just one or two streets off the main road. I missed it somehow and so turned down one block to circle back. On the way back I saw an old cemetery. Up ahead, some large old roofs looked promising but turned out to be a large farmhouse, out buildings and an impressive gatehouse. I soon found myself back at the main road. Hmmm.. I rode back to the cemetery and noticed a small building - about 3 meters on a side and not very old - next to it. Might have been a storage shed, maybe the temple. I consulted the map. Oh my. What a let down. I didn't even feel up to taking a picture. I am sure there is history of interest here, but there is nothing like an old building to help convey that history to those of us in the present. How jaded I have become, expecting ancient treasures to reveal themselves at my whim. Ah well, it was a beautiful day anyway, and a nice ride. I turned toward the levy and the way home.

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Looking back toward home from the "far side" (west shore) of Lake Kitaura

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Kitaura Bridge

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Long shadow - time to head home across the bridge before the sun gets low and the temperature drops.

With the wind at my back, most of the way home seemed to be almost down hill. Tomorrow (Monday) would be a local holiday - Ibaraki Prefecture Citizen's Day. We were hoping for another day of good weather as K had the day off and we were planning another, much longer, excursion.


The Moody Minstrel said...

I'm surprised I didn't see you. I was back and forth across that bridge a couple of times today and yesterday.

Someday you may want to check out Sobataka Shrine, also here in (former) Aso. It's not really so big but, among other things, it's dedicated to sake (rice wine). They have a sake festival every year where the shrine keepers make their own brew and offer it for free. (It's good stuff, believe me...but bring a designated driver...)

Pandabonium said...

Thanks, I'll definitely check out Sobataka.

agus said...

Gosh, the picture of Tokufuji Temple is awesome. It sure would be nice to actually be there and soak in the beauty.

Reena said...

Lovely pictures Panda, so fresh....

Pandabonium said...

Augus, The Tokufuji of Kyoto is famous for its autumn colors. I've never been there at the right time of year to see that - always in spring time. Tune it soon for my next post which will have some colorful trees.

Reena, thanks. I love to get outdoors when the weather is like this and enjoy the scenery.

YD said...


hey, how did you take your own shadow in your last picture? from the shadow, both of your hands seem to be ON the handle!

Pandabonium said...

YD - "Werk" - just my wierd way of emphasizing the word.

To take that picture I set the timer and when it got down to two seconds I threw the camera in the air, put my hand back down, the camera clicked, and I grabbed it before it could fall to the ground. Pretty amazing huh?

Actually, the shadow is just deceiving.

YD said...

panda go "Matrix"! Do that stunt again under alcohol influence (within 8 hours) and see what happens. ;-P

Perhaps you wanna try cycling with the "foldable" bicycle like the one you showed me in the video too. It would be quite interesting. hehe.

Pandabonium said...

YD - I suppose if I lived in a city, the larger folding bike might make sense. That one with the tiny wheels doesn't impress me at all.

On Maui, I looked for folding bikes that would fit in the back of the airplane, but decided they would take up too much room. Could have used the one in the clip I emailed - would have saved me a lot of taxi fares or waiting for car rental companies to pick me up.

YD said...

The small one which has uncomfortable seat with potential health risk to certain human body part? Balance carefully the convenience and health consequences. ;-P

Happysurfer said...

Did I mention before I always enjoy reading about your bicycle outings? ;)
Thanks for sharing. Love that colourful picture.

Pandabonium said...

YD - That bike really is only good for carrying on a bus - not for riding. Some tour trains in Japan have section for full sized bicycles!

Happysurfer - thanks so much. I am late with my posting, but will have long one with lots of pictures up soon - not a bike trip though.

Lrong said...

Looks like you had a pretty good time eh...

Pandabonium said...

Lrong, I usually do when I'm on two wheels.