Torioi Kannon at Nishiaizu Town, July 24, 2016 (西会津町の鳥追観音 2016年7月24日)

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On my way home from Nozawa, I stopped at Torioi Kannon which is located on a hill of Nozawa district, 2.6km from JR Nozawa Station. Torioi Kannon is one of three extra members of Aizu 33-Kannon pilgrimage tour, which is designated as Japan Heritage. It is also one of three Aizu Korori-Kannon series together with Tachiki Kannon and Nakata Kannon, where if one visits all three Kannon Temples then he or she can live in good health until sudden death comes. Torioi Kannon belongs to Nyohoji Temple. I also got Goshuin stamp on my Aizu 33-Kannon stamp book today. The real wooden Kannon statue is unveiled during special days and weeks in a year.

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
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Tracing Isabella Bird's tracks in Fukushima (Day 4), July 23, 2016 (イザベラ・バードの福島の足跡を追って(4日目) 2016年7月23日)

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This is the final day, and I started from Aizubange and headed to Kuruma Pass of Nishiaizu Town, near the border to Niigata Pref. Kuruma Pass was Isabella's last stay in Fukushima, before leaving to Niigata. She wrote, 'this house (=yadoya) is magnificently situated, almost hanging over the edge of the knife-edge ridge of the pass of Kuruma, ---'. As I visited Kuruma Pass today, there was nothing but a description board that said Isabella stayed two nights here, as shown above. More details are shown in this article later.

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Leaving the center of Aizubange Town, I pedaled along the old Echigo Kaido (=Highway) all the way to Kuruma Pass. Soon I came to a bridge over the Tadami River at 'the hamlet of Katakado' as she referred to in her book. This is a bridge that Isabella praised such that '---so good a bridge as that by which we crossed the broad river Agano ----'. The name of the bridge is Katakado Bridge and the river was actually the Tadami River not Agano, as shown above.

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From Katakado of Aizubange Town to Nozawa, which is the center of Nishiaizu Town, Isabella took an old mountain route of Echigo Kaido passing over Tabanematsu Pass. The route barely remains today only for walk. The entrance of this route was grass mowed road as shown above.

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Going forward on this path, I found a map board of this old Echigo Kaido route to Tabanematsu Pass as shown above. This map board was created by a local preservation group.

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Photo above shows a view along the road. This reminds me how the actual path looked like in those days. But there were many other narrower and steep up and down mountain paths on the way, especially beyond the Tabanematsu Pass until getting to a regular road. I barely walked this path carrying by bike.

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I finally reached Tabanematsu Pass and found a description board as shown above. It says that there were two tea-houses here and they served some specialty foods.

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Along the path beyond the pass, I could overlook mountainsides and winding Ban-etsu Express way as shown above.

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Also I found a small pretty orange flower of lily (Lilium medeoloide A. Gray) as shown above.

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Then I pedaled along a paved Echigo Kaido, choosing old Echigo Kaido paths if there remained any, until I reached 'village of Nojiri', Nishiaizu Town. Photo above shows an entrance to the old pass of Kuruma. The old Echigo Kaido path remained unpaved and grassy. The current Echigo kaido is Kuruma Tunnel of National Route 49 running just beside this old path.

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Photo above shows a view at Kuruma Pass in wilderness today. There was nothing but a description board for Isabella Bird's track here. The old Echigo Kaido path beyond this pass continued for a while but finally it came to a dead end.
車峠に着くと、そこは草がはびこり何もありませんが、ただ一つ、イザベラ・バードの足跡の看板が立っていました。その先も進みましたが、終に新越後街道に(あと少しでしたが)出ることなく、行き止まりになりました。 (看板に感激して、後で宿の方に聞くと、街おこしの一貫で、建てたとのことでした。)

Since there was no yadoya anymore at Kuruma Pass, I stayed tonight at yadoya in Nozawa. This was the last stay of my bike tour that traced Isabella Bird's tracks in 1878. I think I got some image of how she traveled and how she felt in those days. I am also grateful to local Aizu people for preservation work for history and reminder work for Isabella Bird's track.

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As additional information, I stopped at Tachiki Kannon Hall today, which was located along the old Echigo Kaido. Tachiki Kannon is the 31st of Aizu 33 Kannons for Fudasho tour, which was recently designated as Japan Heritage. The hall building is shown above.

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At Tachiki Kannon, I also got a special collective stamp book for all the Aizu 33 Kannon 'Goshuin', which is a unique red stamp of the temple which Kannon belongs. (Photo above)

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
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You can trace the route and altitude in the map below. (Up: 4.8%, gained elevation: 740m, Distance: 47.5km)
下の地図で、ルートの距離や標高を見ることができます。(上り4.8%、獲得標高740m、走行距離 47.5km)

【2014年6月8日】 西会津町 安座 の おとめゆり 自生地 (June 8, 2014: Wild Lilium rubellum at Nishiaizu Town, Fukushima Pref.)

本日は、西会津町 安座 (あざ)地区の おとめゆり 自生地を訪ねました。つゆで、天候が不安定のため、鉄道で、磐越西線の 野沢駅 まで行き、そこから約7kmの徒歩です。
Today I visited natural habitat of Lilium rubellum (a kind of lily with pink flower) at Aza area of Nishiaizu Town. Since the weather was rainy I took Ban-etsu West Line train to Nozawa Station and then walked about 7km to the spot.

場所と 野沢駅 からの経路は、下の地図を参照。(経路は、GPSログデータによります。)
The location and the actual route from Nozawa Station were shown in the map below. (The route data were from GPS log data.)
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西会津町 では、ヒメサユリ のことを、おとめゆり と呼び、町の花に指定しています。 ヒメサユリ は、全国で、会津とその周辺にのみ自生するピンク色のユリです。環境省 の レッドリスト で、準絶滅危惧種 です。西会津町 の 安座 地区は、その代表的な自生地の1つです。
At Nishiaizu Town they call Lilium rubellum "Otomeyuri" which means a lily like a young girl and they have declared it the flower of the town. Lilium rubellum is a Japanese lily which only grows naturally within Aizu district and the surrounding area. Color of the flower is pink. Lilium rubellum has been listed as Near Threatened (NT) in the Red List of Ministry of Environment. Aza area of Nishiaizu Town is one of the major natural habitats of Lilium rubellum.

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写真は、磐越西線 野沢駅 です。西会津町 の中心にあります。ここからスタートです。
Above photo shows Nozawa Station of JR Ban-etsu East Line railroad. The station was located at the center of the town. I started to walk from here.

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道は、写真の新緑の 安座川 に沿って行きます。
The road went along Aza River surrounded by full of fresh green leaves as shown above.

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On the way I found a guide sign to the natural habitat of Otomeyuri. The location was red asterisk 1 in the map.

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自生地に入ると、写真の階段を150段登り、その奥に、写真のように、開けたエリアにでます。 場所は、地図の☆2です。 ( 西会津町 安座 おとめゆり ヒメサユリ 2014/6/8)
Entering the natural habitat visitors had to climb up 150 steps as shown in the first photo, and then open field appeared as shown in the 2nd photo. The location was red asterisk 2 in the map.

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本日の おとめゆり の写真集です。 あと5日位見られます。 ( 西会津町 安座 おとめゆり ヒメサユリ 2014/6/8)
More pictures of today's Lilium rubellums are shown above. The best time will last five more days.

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稀に、白色 の おとめゆり もあります。 ( 西会津町 安座 おとめゆり ヒメサユリ 白色 2014/6/8)
Rarely could I find white flower as shown above.

帰りの道端で、蝶やトンボに出会いました。 場所は、地図の☆3です。
On return route I found butterflies and a dragonfly.

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まず、たくさんの シジミチョウ が、花に群がっていました。 ヒメシジミ です。 ( 西会津町 安座 ヒメシジミ 2014/6/8)
Many tiny butterflies were on flowers. The kind was Plebejus argus.

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トンボ が目の前の路面に止まりました。 調べたら、ムカシヤンマ と呼ぶそうです。 ( 西会津町 安座 ムカシヤンマ 2014/6/8)
A dragonfly stopped on the road in front of me. The kind was Tanypteryx pryeri.
おとめゆり 自然のままに 安座(あざ)に咲く 魅力は尽きぬ 蝶にトンボに


Welcome! 福が満開、福のしま。
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