There is an old railway line that runs into the mountains form Hankyu Kawanishi Noseguchi Station 川西能勢口駅, which is opposite my school Smith’s School of English, Kawanishi. This is the Hankyu Nose Line 能勢電鉄妙見線 which runs approximately 12 kilometers into the mountains north of Kawanishi, coming to an end at Myokenguchi 妙見口.
As you travel north you notice that all the stations, apart from Myokenguchi, are surrounded by large developments of new housing, so what a surprise and delight it is to arrive at the final station and discover a tiny village which still retains the character of a Japan of many decades ago. The village centre is tiny, with a Ryokan/Restaurant, a smaller restaurant which doubles as a store selling local fresh produce (local farmers were bringing in vegetables while we ate our lunch) and a small, hand painted souvenir shop . There are also a few traditionally built (bamboo and mud and straw) houses, some with beautiful gardens.
As you leave the village there are signs on either side of the road directing you to walks to temples in the area. We decided to take the path on the left, which led first among some lovely old farmhouses and rice fields, and then through bamboo groves where locals were picking bamboo shoots. On the way up were several Ojizosan, some of them hundreds of years old, and at the top are two old temples. The views on the way up are very beautiful. The climb was quite strenuous, and by the time we got back to the village, we decided that we would visit the temple on the other side of the valley during a future trip. The temple on that side is a modern structure, and is famous as the place where Kabuki actors and other entertainers from Osaka and Kyoto go to pray for success in their work.
I really am looking forward to our next visit to such a beautiful rural destination that is so accessible from my school, and this, I am sure will be a good subject for a future soapbox blog, and some more photos.
Smith’s School of English, Kawanishi