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Mt. Shirataki and the Love Rock

Date Published: Last Update:2015/05/08 Traditional Culture, Travel & View point , , ,

I thought we already reached our destination after losing liters of sweat pushing our bicycles and ourselves following the steep road going up to the mountain. I was wrong. We just reached the wide parking area and there we were still half way from the top.
But even so, the scenery from there was already very fulfilling. You could already see the Innoshima Bridge, the villages along the shore, the mix of the colors green from trees and the blue sky and sea, it was very relaxing just good enough to calm our tired legs and relax our mind.

innoshima_bridge

 This was where we left our bicycle before we continued our walk going to Mt Shirataki

12

Left picture shows the starting point of the walking trail while at the right is an image of Buddha printed at the stone wall of the mountain (image almost erased because of time and change of weather). 

The walking trail was just beside the mountain, thus you could see the villages and the seashore. There were also big stone formations and trees along the trail . You could also hear the birds chirping and the swaying sounds of the leaves blown by the strong winds.

Reaching the top of the mountain

After approximately 20 minutes of walking we saw a small gate, it was like a holy place because we met a monk with his group and they were doing some sort of ritual at the viewing deck where shoes are advised to be taken off before entering the platform. These people were very nice and friendly that they permitted us to take pictures with them and even gave us mini apples.

gate

The small gate opened for visitors

view

This is the scene from the viewing deck

Then we rested for awhile, took lots of pictures where the backdrop were fields, the sea shore, blue skies, and swaying trees. It was already beautiful just as I thought that was it, to my surprise, there was a little opening at the side of the viewing platform going to the main area of Mt Shirataki. I was amazed with the vastness of the area and the hundreds of stone-carved Buddha aligned along the path going to the elevated 360-degrees viewing deck.

buddha

The pathway going to the 360 degrees viewing deck. Notice the Buddhas carved in stones alongside.

viewingdeck

At the back you can see the elevated platform (360-degree view), where you will have the glimpse of the whole island.

Finally, we reached the topmost part of the mountain with the 360-degrees viewing deck. The scenery was totally sublime that I cannot contain the joy, the gratefulness, the feeling of serenity, no words enough to describe the beauty that I witnessed.

360

Innoshima Bridge viewed from the platform

The Love Rock

In addition, this mountain also contained a sad story about love, which is enshrined by the so-called “love rock” and preserved at Kan-ondou, some part of this mountain.

The Story Inscribed in the Love Rock

Once upon a time there lived a lovely lady in this island. She met and fell in love with a fine strong man in their village with whom she was about to marry.

One day, a group of sumo wrestlers visited the town, and when the group’s boss saw the strong and powerful looking man, he invited the man to go with them to the city. After the boss managed to convince the lady to allow the man to go with them to the city, the man went along with the group.  

The man promised the lady that he would come back for her as a successful sumo wrestler. The lady believed in the promise of the man, but after 3 long years of waiting, the man never came back. Thinking that the guy had abandoned her, she threw herself into the sea. 

The man, now a successful sumo wrestler, went back to the village, but couldn’t not find the lady.
While the man was grieving, he learned that the lady who threw herself into the sea, had been incarnated as a rock by the sea shore. The man then decided to carry the rock to the top of Mt. Shirataki, and prayed for the lady for the rest of his life.

– translated from Innoshima Tourist Association Blog

It was believed that couples visiting this mountain, especially those who were in a long distance relationship must touch this “love rock” so as not to happen again. But whatever it is, I can say that this mountain is worth the long and tiring walk especially those who wanted to detach themselves for awhile from all of life’s worries.

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