After passing through Sagano and heavily touristed Arashiyama, we follow the foothills south.
We followed the Tokai Hodo through the hills marking the western edge of Arashiyama, dotted with many small temples. Happily, we ran into few people out here, despite the good weather. We were reminded that we shared our walk with other living things, in the form of a sign in a public toilet telling to beware of Vipers. No surprise since they love the bamboo groves that striate the hills out here. Above one grove, we found a small Obaku temple, standing lonely and forlorn at the top of uneven stone steps which looked like broken teeth. The main hall was a zendo, the inside perimeter dotted with zafu. An "enlightenment stick" leaned against one of the pillars. In such a haunted locale, one could only imagine the severity of the training here. Not far away we followed the trail, ever marked by bamboo, up to a small pass where we rested with tea. Behind us, a new suburb had sprouted. A stone walkway led through it, following a creek which flowed between the cookie cutter homes here. If you've read this far, you know how I feel about suburbs, but this place had done well in honoring the surrounding hills and keeping a semblance of green. The rest of the day was spent moving along the groves famed for their persimmons, then on into deeper forest. In the fading light, we came to Oharano Jinja, built with some connection to the Imperial Family. At the front of the main shrine were the usual A-Un figures, this time in the form of deer, the open mouthed one to the right with a scroll in it's mouth. A bizarre end to the day, winding up in a place built in honor of the Imperial Family, whose deification led directly to the disllusionment of a young soldier, who, finding no place amongst such ways of thinking, opted simply to "Walk On."
(This last line refers to the counterculture poet Nanao Sakaki, whose memorial service we'd attended earlier in the day.)