Nov 15, 2010

Drinking "Tenranzan" on Mt. Tenranzan

Last week, I went for a hike in the vicinity of Han-no City, Saitama Prefecture. I walked along the following course:

Higashi-han-no Station on JR Hachiko Line -- Igarashi Shuzo Sake Brewery -- Mt. Tenranzan -- -- Koma Pass -- Kinchakuda Paddy -- Koma Station on Seibu Line

I started walking at around 10 o'clock at Higashi-han-no Station, and ended the walking of this day at Koma Station at about 2:30. If I had not taken the detour for visiting Igarashi Shuzo for sake, my walk would have been shorter by about one hour. However, in that case, I can't write an article for this blog, which deals with sake, so I walked the longer way.

An easier way to get to Igarashi Shuzo is to walk from Han-no Station on Seibu Line, but the map showed me that walking from JR Higashi-han-no Station to the brewery did not make a big difference in terms of distance, so I decided to walk from Higashi-han-no Station. However, I was not very sure whether I was on a right track, and I walked approximately southward by making a guess. And, finally I reached the street that runs along the Koma River. I was sure that the Igarashi Shuzo was located on this street. Actually, I have a good sense of geography, and I can usually manage to find a right way to the destination in such a case. However, it was a bit long way.

Igarashi Syuzo (arrival at 11:20)
Anyway, I could get to Igarashi Shuzo, and the shop there was selling their sake. When I entered the shop, the salesclerk was busy with some paperwork at her desk. She confirmed that I was not driving, took out some bottles of sake from the refrigerator, arranged them on the table, offered me sample sips of sake, and then went back to her desk to resume her work.

After sampling all types of the presented sake, I purchased a bottle of aged sake Koten and a 300-ml bottle of namazake and put them in my rucksack. According to the salesclerk, it takes about 20 minute on foot to Han-no Station, and the starting point of the trail to Mt. Tenranzan is farter beyond the station. Well, I had known that since I looked the map, and I thought she told me roughly correct time to the station. However, I don't like a 30-minute or longer walk on a paved road very much. I hoped that I could walk on unpaved trails soon and I tended to be at a trot.

The starting point to climb Mt. Tenranzan was near the Noninji Temple, and I walked the trail that passes beside the temple. It was a very short way to the summit, and actually it took only about 10 minutes for me to reach the summit. The part of the trail just below the summit was somewhat steep, but I think even kindergarten children can walk to get to the summit.

Tenranzan summit (arrival at 12:30)
Mt. Tenranzan stands 195 meters high. There is a robust concrete structure on the summit. This is a viewing platform, from which you can look down the town of Han-no City. Also, you can have a panoramic view of Okutama mountain area. In the past, Emperor Meiji watched his warriors hold military exercises from this point ("Tenranzan" means "a mountain from which Emperor watched something").

I drank some of Tenranzan namazake on the summit as I planned, had lunch there, and then started walking again for Koma Pass. I took about one hour to the pass, and the trail was broad and comfortable.

Koma Pass (arrival at 1:40)
It was somewhat dim on Koma Pass. I could not have a good view from there. From this point, I walked for about 30 minutes to reach the Kinchakuda Paddy.

Do-re-mi-fa Bridge (arrival at 2:00)
The Do-re-mi-fa Bridge is a small submerging bridge spanning the Koma River that runs meanderingly around the Kinchaku Paddy. I walked across this bridge and reached the Kinchakuda Paddy.

The photo above on the right was taken from the Do-re-mi-fa Bridge. I tried to take picture of swimming fish in the water, but can you see them?

Kinchakuda Paddy (arrival at 2:10)
I think the best season to visit the Kinchakuda Paddy is late Sempember, when flowers of the cluster-amaryllis are in full bloom. The photo below on the right was taken in late September, 2008.

Views from the Shikanodai Bridge
I left the Kinchakuda Paddy for Koma Station. On the way to the station, I walked across the Shikanodai Bridge over the Koma River. The photos below were taken from this bridge.

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