Earlier this summer I wrote a post about a trip that I took to Myokenguchi 妙見口 see HERE. At the end of that article I promised a return visit, which I did last Sunday. This time we visited Myoken-san, the location of Nose Myoken-san Temple 能勢妙見山堂, headquarters of the Nichiren Buddhist sect.
One can climb to the temple, but this takes about two hours, and we didn’t fancy this on a humid day at about 35 degrees, so we took the “wimp’s” route by way of cable car and chair lift. This turned out to be a truly magical little journey.
The cable car station is about a one kilometer walk from Myokenguchi Station on the Nose Line 能勢電鉄妙見線. The cable cars are over 50 years old; one car is painted bright pink and the other orange. They really are museum pieces, but the ride is great fun. The cable cars stop at a plateau about half way up the mountain. Here there is a barbequeue area, but also some taps that give a free supply of delicious mineral water from a spring about 170 metres underground.
- Pink cable car
A short walk up brings you to the lower chair lift station. The ride on this is a sheer delight. The chair lift runs through a path cut in a forest, and at this time of year is lined with blooming hydrangeas: what an incredible scent. I understand that during sakura time this path is lined with cherry blossoms. With birds and insects singing in 3D surround sound this short journey was pure wonder. I was a little sad when we reached the upper station.
After a short walk up from the lift, you come to the temple complex. After passing some small buildings and statues, you see the Nose Myoken-san Worship Hall “ SEIREI ”. This is an imposing and (to me) very beautiful modern structure, designed by the architects Shin Takamatsu Architetect & Associates. The building inside is also very impressive. I spent quite a lot of time there taking photographs.
After this you arrive at the main, old temple complex. This is also a very special place, with lovely temple buildings (where we heard monks chanting), and also some very old, traditional buildings that may have once been an inn. There is a restaurant and some small shops selling souvenirs and lucky charms. This little street appeared to come straight out of the Meiji period.
- Old Inn and Restaurant
We returned to the village below, again experiencing the sensual delights of the chair lift. There we enjoyed some delicious (and very much needed on such a hot day) kakigori, before heading home.
What a wonderful day, and what luck to have such an amazing place only half an hour by train from my English school, Smith’s School of English, Kawanishi スミス英会話川西校. Enjoying teaching English at my own franchise school, and living in such a beautiful part of Japan; how lucky I am.