Date: 19th November 2018
I try to stay away from very touristy or crowded places as much as I can but sometimes this led me to some of the most remote places possible. In these situations, I sometimes ask myself – “how did you even find out about this place?”. Well, this trip to Nishinotakiryusui Temple (西の滝龍水寺) was one of those.
It didn’t occur to me how the condition of the road would have been since it would only take a 20-30 minutes drive from Angel Road. I should have learned from the drive to Kasaneiwa that it probably could have ended up as bad and it did. Even worse was the fact that the untouched fallen autumn leaves meant lack of people. I don’t even remember passing by any cars during my drive up here which is in a way a blessing since most part of the road only allowed one car to pass.
Reaching the parking lot, I was even more surprised that there were no cars at all!
Well, at least the views of Ikeda Bay from here was stunning.
I soon reach a flight of stairs and happily borrowed a walking stick to assist the climb up.
Probably due to the higher elevation, the leaves here have started falling.
The Goma-do as I have read was clearly visible once I reached the top, attached to a cliff making this a peculiar sight. I was hoping that some temple staffs would be around to ease my anxiety of being up here all alone, but no one was in sight.
I remembered reading about a rock cave behind the main hall which has a spring water and was intrigued to see it for myself. It was said that a long time ago the crops around the villages here were destroyed and the villagers were at loss. Kobo Daishi or Kukai, the founder of Shingon Buddhism was passing by this area and found that the adversity was caused by a dragon on Ousayama. He climbed the mountain and somehow managed to confine the dragon in the cave. The dragon was named Hachi-Dai-Ryu and legend has it that the spring water was from his tears(?). Well, it is also said that this spring water will never cease and that’s how the crops began to grow again. This site is also one of the temples among the 88 Shodoshima Temples Pilgrimage.
So back to my experience, I couldn’t find the entrance to this cave and as time passed, I was getting more and more anxious about the atmosphere at the temple and so I hurriedly left the place.
In case you are interested of reading more and seeing pictures of successful adventures here, I have left some links below to some Japanese sites and blogs since I could not find one in English!
Nishinotakiryusui Temple is a 9km, 25-30 minutes drive from Tonosho Port.
There are multiple ways to access Shodoshima, I suggest reading its official website or Japan Guide’s page to understand better. To note, my method of access was via the Shin-Okayama Port – Tonosho Port ferry route, which took 70 minutes @ 1,050 yen. This ferry departs rather frequently at every one hour or so. There is a bus from Okayama Station (Boarding No. 1, Bus no. 91/92) to Shin-Okayama Port (新岡山港), which takes 35 minutes @ 490 yen (buses departs every one hour or so, timetable is available in Google Maps). A combination ticket for both the bus and ferry is available @ 1,300 yen, which can be purchased at Okayama’s Bus Terminal or Tonosho Port.