Sunday, February 7, 2010

Walking on water: frozen shintaki

Yesterday Aki and I visited Shintaki (新滝) waterfall with a friend.  Last winter the waterfall froze for only a brief period and we didn't have a chance to see. I'm very glad we've taken the time to see it this winter.

Recently, Otaki has spent more time on the negative side of the thermometer than it has on the positive side, so the ice on Shintaki has continued to grow and grow.

The color of the ice are difficult to capture through the lens (at least for someone as unskilled in the art of photography as I). However, the phantasmal shapes that stand up from the ground and hang down from cliffs overhead are alluring to say the least. Rippled flows of ice spread out in deep shades of blue. One can walk, with caution, over the still movements of the water.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a car with out of town plates parked above Shintaki for about a week. I'm guessing this was a religious practitioner, probably staying a small wooden hut that flanks the waterfall. I've heard that some of the stronger practitioners are able to perform taki-shu-gyou (滝修行)--standing beneath the falling water--even in the winter; though I have not seen this.

Shintaki is a sacred place.
Anyone can walk on water here.

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