Sunday 23 June 2019

Shioji 四王寺: More ruins, a Waterfall and a new route 2019/6/16

Shioji 四王寺: More ruins, a Waterfall and a new route 2019/6/16

This is an area very close to my home that I have hiked many times in the past. This is a new route that takes in a lot more of the historic sites and even a nice waterfall. 

Access: Take the 100 Yen community Madoka bus from Onojo station to the Onojo sports park. The bus stop is just before a tunnel that goes under a road. More info on this past hike after getting of the bus head under the road and turn left. When you get to the entrance walk past the running track and to the right of the main building. Keep walking up and eventually you will see the "Onojo trail" mark on the ground. Start hiking up the mountain following the stairs and enjoying the view points. Once at the top check out the summit of Ooguskuyama 大城山 and Bishamondo 毘沙門堂. Then after walking past the shrine turn left and walk through a clearing with some benches which heads to an outdoor music area. 

Walk through this clearing. The route from here to the outdoor music area 野外音楽堂 is pretty straightforward


大野城跡 百間石垣
This is the first main feature on this route. A long and impressive part of the original castle wall 大野城跡 百間石垣. Much of the original construction is still intact. There is a steep path that allows you to walk around it and get up close to it. It is amazing to think that the area was once a bustling castle with many buildings. 

 From here we walked down the steps to the river. There are more Jizo statues to find and a small waterfall 鮎返りの滝. The main waterfall can be found by walk down the road and turning right up a small road to the side. 


After walking a short way up the track the waterfall can be seen on the right side. There is a small shrine and many statues. The waterfall 鮎返りの滝 is not overly large but pretty and atmospheric. I also liked the red fox statue. 


After taking in the waterfall we continued up and found another area of original castle wall. Not as long as the previous piece but still very impressive that it has endured this long. 
大原山 Oharayama

We continued on the trail spotting many of the 33 stone Jizo statue that a all over Shioji. It was not long before we reached another mountain summit 大原山 Oharayama another of the four that make up Shioji. It made me wonder how they knew in ancient times where the summits were? 

 The trail carried on with even more Jizo statues! It would be a good challenge to take a checklist and try to find them all. 

Eventually we came to a very familiar area which overlooks Dazaifu with the national museum clearly visible. From here the route was the same as previous hikes with plenty more ruins and even the Samurai grave to see. 

We came down in Dazaifu and talked back past the old govermnet offices 大宰府政庁跡  to   Tofuro-Mae Station  都府楼前駅. This will now be the main route I use for hiking and trail running Shioji as it takes it so much more of the history and nature on the mountain. 

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