Jun 13, 2009

Walkway from Station to Brewery (3)

Hello everyone, this is the third article of "Walkway from Station to Brewery" series. This time, I will introduce a route that starts at the Higashimurayama Station on the Seibu Sinjuku Line. We walk to the Kumano Shrine along the Ancient Kamakura Kaido Street, and then visit the Baigan-ji Temple to finally reach Toshimaya Syuzou. See the map I provide at the end of this post for photos and details of the course.

It was last Sunday when my friends and I walked this route. It was an only fair hot day among the consecutive rainy days. In front of the east exit of the Higashimurayama Station, at the center of the rotary, there was a fountain pond, where fledglings with their mother duck were enjoying cold water, while we traced the walkway with frequently wiping sweat with a hand towels.

After leaving the station behind, proceed eastward for about 100 meters to reach the Higashimurayama Station East Exit crossing, and then take the left. Now, you are on the Fuchu Kaido Street. Go northward for about 200 meters along the street and find the narrow alley leaving the street at a sharp angle (see the photo). This is the Ancient Kamakura Kaido Street.

You will find someone's house enclosed with walls and a decent front gate. The garden trees on the premises seem to be well maintained. In front of the gate is the wooden marker post telling you are on the "Historic Site: Ancient Kamakura Kaido Street." You may expect that you will find a good old Japan on this street ahead. Sorry, this is just an ordinary community road. Not finding anything to be noted, you are to walk for a while along the quiet back alley that runs in parallel with the Seibu Sinjuku Line.

After about an 800-meter walk, or about 15 minutes, from the point leaving the Fuchu Kaido Street, you will come to a T-junction. An old gatehouse faces you across the street. If you take the right, you will walk across the Fuchu Kaido Street and reach Toshimaya Syuzou in several minutes. However, this "Walkway from Station to Brewery" will not be so attractive if you do so. Therefore, take the left here and then take the right very soon at the point just before the billboard of a stone dealer shown in the picture on the right below.

After turning around the corner, you will see shelter trees on your right side. The land surrounded by the gatehouse, the corner your just turned around, and these trees seems to belong to a single household. Since it was a hot day when I walked here, the shelter trees provided a pleasant shade over the alley. You will bump into a road lying east and west after proceeding on this alley for a while. The road is just in front of the Kumano Shrine.

The gods enshrined in this shrine are Izanagi no Kami, Izanami no Kami, and Amaterasu Okami, who are very famous as major players in the Japan's mythology. A shrine building stands facing the Torii gate, and there is another building as big as this one behind it. The front building is the haiden, and the rear is the honden, which are translated as the worship hall and main hall, respectively.

There is a small pond beside the shrine, and beyond the pond is the Kumano Koen Park, which seems to be a good playground for children.

Next, let's leave the Kumano Shrine for the Baiganji Temple, which is in the east-northeast direction of the shrine. Trace the road in front of the shrine eastward to reach a crossing on the Fuchu Kaido Street. Form here, take the way on the left side of the gas station (the Fuchu Kaido Street is the way on the right side of the gas station). Go straight on this way and take the right at the second crossing, and you will see the front gate of the Baiganji Temple.

There is a gigantic Zelkova tree on your left behind the gate. Designated as a natural monument of Tokyo, it measures 7.1 meters in its circumference and 32.5 meters in its height. On your right side is also a huge kaya tree, which has been designated as a natural monument of Higashimurayama City. It measures 5 meters in its circumference and 30 meters in its height. I think it is rare that such magnificent trees stand at one place.

Well, after feeling overwhelmed by the marvelous trees, let's see the precincts of the temple. The architecture of buildings including the front gate is magnificent and the well-maintained garden makes you feel purified.

Then, how should you get to Toshimaya Syuzou from the Baiganji Temple? You may get to the Fuchu Kaido Street and walk along the street until you reach the Kumegawa-tsuji Crossing, and then turn to the left. However, there is a shorter way. Leave the front gate of the temple to walk southward until you bump into a T-junction, and take the left to proceed to the Fuchu Kaido Street. Walk across the street and proceed further to another T-junction and take the right. Go straight from here south-south-westward. Around here, you see a school on your left. After about a 300-meter walk, you will reach a three-forked crossing. Take the left at this point, and walk for a while to reach Toshimaya Syuzou.

On the day when we visited this brewery, they were holding a Nomikiri event. At the entrance, each of us paid 500 yen as an admission fee or handed over a previously obtained invitation ticket to a clerk and was given a porcelain sake cup for tasting. Visitors could taste any of various sakes of the brewery and buy what they liked.

As to the places of interest in the walkway at this time, setting the brewery aside, I can name the Kumano Shrine and Baiganji Temple. The Ancient Kamakura Kaido Street sounds attractive from its name, but actually it is a mere community alley and there isn't anything special to see. The Toshimaya Syuzou seems to accept visitors who want to have a study tour into the brewery, but prior booking is required.


より大きな地図で 酒蔵のある散歩道(豊島屋酒造) を表示


the soul of japan said...

I forget to get a picture of the old Kamakura road. Very nice layout on the map.

いちべー said...

Thank you for your comment.
Please wait for the next post of the Walkway from Station to Brewery series in the near future.