Bike and Hike Japan’s Mt Ryuso

Come join me for a pleasant afternoon ride and hike from Shizuoka city to the top of nearby Mt. Ryuso. This particular outing takes us from the busy city to a mist-shrouded peak seemingly removed from the bustle of the Japanese metropolis below. This hike can easily be enjoyed in a day and there are several excellent places to rest and picnic. Expect crowds on the weekends though you will likely enjoy having the mountain to yourself if you pick a weekday for your hike.

My Ryuso is actually two peaks very closely situated to one another. On a clear day Mt. Monjudake (1041m) and Mt. Yakushidake (1051m) are visible from almost any location within Shizuoka city, and provide a backdrop and tantalizing hint at the much higher and more rugged peaks of the Japan Southern Alps beyond. Japanese people have been climbing these mountains for centuries as both peaks are considered holy sites within both the Buddhist and Shinto traditions. The summits can be reached via three separate trails originating from the area around the Abe river (near Gojima village I think), central Shizuoka (at Sengen shrine) and the area between Shizuoka and nearby Shimizu (the route and trail used in this video).

Google Earth Info:
You can visit Mt Ryuso yourself via Goggle Earth at the following coordinates: Lat: 35° 5’2.79″N Long: 138°24’3.47″E

—-

Shinto is one of the two major religions of Japan (the other is Buddhism).  Shinto is often considered to be the native religion of Japan, and is as old as Japan itself.  The name Shinto means “the way of the gods.”  Shinto is a pantheistic religion, in which many thousands of major and minor gods are thought to exist.  The Japanese have built thousands of shrines (jinja) throughout the country to honor and worship these gods.  Some shrines are huge and are devoted to important deities.  Other shrines are small and may be easily missed when strolling along roads in the countryside.

Shinto gods are called kamiKami are thought to have influence on human affairs, and for this reason many Japanese make regular pilgrimage to community shrines in order to offer prayers to local kami.  The act of prayer involves approaching the shrine structure, passing through the gate-like torii, cleansing the hands and mouth with water and possibly ascending stairs to the main entrance of the shrine.  Usually without entering the shrine the worshipper will throw some coins into a stone or wooden collection box and then rattle the suzu bell which is at the top of a long hemp rope.  The worshiper grabs hold of the rope and shakes it back and forth causing the copper bell at the top to rattle.  This is thought to get the attention of the shrine god.  The worshipper then bows twice, claps his or her hands twice and then bows again.  In addition, the worshipper may clasp their hands together in silent prayer.  Shintoism and Buddhism have managed to find a comfortable coexistence in Japan.  Evidence of this harmonious relationship is found in the fact that that most Japanese are married in a Shinto shrine, but buried by a Buddhist priest.

—-

Welcome to the the Japan Shrine and Temples blog. Exploring Japan’s spiritual infrastructure.

Find us on YouTube at the following URL:
http://www.youtube.com/user/ShrinesandTemples

Please visit our blog at the following URL:
https://shrinesandtemples.wordpress.com

Follow us on Twitter:
https://twitter.com/#!/ShrinesTemples

Interested in talking with others about Japan?
Please visit our forum at:http://softypapa.net