Wednesday, July 16, 2008

In the Canyons: Atera 阿寺渓谷


"In the canyons of the great divide,
familiar places that we can run and hide"
-Neil Young


Last week, on the recommendation of a friend, Chizuko and I visited Atera Canyon (阿寺渓谷), which extends west into the mountains from Okuwa village, the town over from Otaki. The canyon is one of the most beautiful I've ever seen, and just adds to my admiration of the Kiso Region.

Chizuko was all smiles. Definitely a good place to while away an afternoon--watching clouds billow and listening to the river as it tumbles down the mountain.

At the first spot we stopped the remains of an old bridge--part of the extensive forest railroad system that once lined the canyons of the Kiso valley--straddled the river.

Further up the canyon we came to a location called tanuki-ga-buchi 狸ヶ淵. The water here was. . .I'll just add a picture.
Finally, Chizuko and I stopped at a place called ushi-ga-buchi 牛ヶ淵. The canyon was narrow here and rock cliffs stood up above the azure of the river--I thought about jumping, but had second thoughts. Thankfully, a local man and his two sons came and put the idea right back into my head. I asked if they had swam there before and he said that they do it every year. Sure enough they also jump off the cliffs. So, after watching a few jumps there was nothing else stopping me. . .



Dogen said, "All mountains stand with their feet in waters, and splash there." Yes, and so I try to learn from rivers.


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