Yakuo-in Temple, Mount Tsukuba
Today was a rainy, rainy day. It started bad and I thought it would get worse, but I had decided to go cycling come rain or shine. I didn’t quite expect quite so much rain though.
It wasn’t raining when I set off otherwise I might not have gone to be honest. I got down to checking the bike..the white one not yellow. There was no way I was attempting a trek, not a jaunt, on the bumblebike. The tyres seemed a little flat so I got down to pumping them up….
…and then the bike fell over and snapped off the valve ppppssssssssssss, flat.
Luckily I live in Japan and a 15 minute walk led me to a bike repair shop, a new back tyre, 2 new inner tubes..maybe I need brake pads? nah not now. And off I went..in search of a temple on a mountain.
It was a bit cloudy and rain had been forecast for later, I could see the mountain in the distance….and then I couldn’t, the heavens opened and didn’t stop much for the rest of the day. By this point I had already got my bike repaired, cycled 10km, so I though bugger it and carried on.
This is my white bike, a name??champion the wonder bike? snowy? I think after today it is “drippy”. Please meet drippy, I am not painting it yellow to keep in with the title of the blog.
I use this bike for longer rides and today was going to be about 50km and up a mountain. I usually take a GPS to guide me as there are many back roads around here and I easily get lost. It also works out routes for bikes based on speed, distance, or elevation. Today I chose elevation, can it get me up a mountain without the “UP” part. Plus it helps me geocache.
I think I am the drippy one!
I love my GPS and it is waterproof. By this point it was raining so much I couldn’t see through my sunglasses so I took them off and attached them by some velcro on my torch.
Another good thing about Japan is the frequent convenience stores, combinis, selling hot coffee and having conveniences. They are indeed very convenient…hey, where the hell are my sunglasses?? What the?? someone stole them!!! No this is Japan, one of the safest countries in the world, apart from earthquakes, typhoons, floods, tsunamis, nuclear accidents… but things general don’t get stolen or people get hurt. I refuse to believe it and I am proved right after backtracking a kilometre and there they were on the floor.
By now I am 4km-ish from the temple and GPS and geography fail me as the rest of the journey is uphill. I am happy to say I cycled in my lowest gear all the way up. I am happy to say it because I don’t have a problem with lying through my teeth. I did manage 200 metres, next time it might be more. Slowly does it.
Even though it was raining, it is summer and the rain was warm. It was refreshing and kept me cool. I was wearing gloves so my hands didn’t slip on the handles, but it did give me crinkled fingers..hate to think about my crinklebum.
I finally arrived at the temple and due to the weather it was completely empty. It is called Yakou-in Temple and was established in 782 AD. There isn’t much in English on the net, but what Google translated it has something to do with dried yam medicine. It is also the start of a walking trail up Mount Tsukuba. It has a three storey pagoda and lots of big chinquapin trees, some 400 years old…can you see them?
After a quick look around, and finding the cache, it was time for the fun part….GOING DOWN!!!!
I have to say cycling or freewheeling down a mountain in rain is truly exhilarating, should have got those new brake pads though. The roads really do get slippy, and for dippy’s sake do not brake on a rain grate!!
I only slipped 3 times and managed to stay upright every time.
It was a smashing day, despite the rain I really enjoyed myself. I didn’t feel tired at all..well not until I hit 50km and realised I still had 3km to go. It might have been the cycling pants though, cycling pants and no pants..revelation, much more comfy.
As for the temple I actually went there before on a drier day. Here are some pictures from that occasion.
There is also a fantastic gate that I didn’t take a picture of, something for next time.
Here is a map of the temple if you want to visit it yourself. I walked, pushed the bike up the wiggle bit on the left.
http://www.yamareco.com/modules/yamareco/detail-427025.html (this has a map for the walking route)