The ピロン 歩く
This, my third walk begins by the hidden power station surrounded by cherry trees. There is a lot of space, around the power station, yes. Tennis court. Toilets. Dam. Pylons. Yes, pylons or transmission towers or even 送電線. It is the theme of this walk. Of course, these transmission towers need servicing occasionally (don’t we all) and how do you get to these things that are poke out of the forest like grey sprouts? You make a path don’t you. The problem is though, these paths aren’t on any maps that a simple pleb can get his hands on (I suppose you have to work for the electricity board). So how do you find them? The most difficult way is to head in the direction of a transmission tower hacking through the bush and scrub. Luckily, on this day, by the power station, I saw, a path, leading right off the road…
The path was worn and easy to follow but exhausting, it was basically straight up the hillside through the forest. Honestly, when I began to walk this path I had no idea where it might lead. I knew it was going to lead somewhere, probably to the crest of the hill, but I had no idea what I was going to see…
It was a transmission tower and susuki, another path and a bit of yuki. There was a small animal track which I followed to the absolute summit:
Crawling back down to the transmission tower I followed the path. I don’t know where it might be taking me.
It was actually the most pleasant path I’ve walked in Japan. It reminded me of England slightly. Nostalgia creeps in.
So, here I was walking along this path and I keep following it, twisting down and around and then back and then back around, and down (isn’t that back where I started?). The light changes from bright, to dark, to black, green, yellow, orange and a combination of them all. Occasionally it feels a little spooky, occasionally a bit airy.
The path has had some regular maintenance - fallen trees have been cut, branches trimmed. It’s easy going, easy to walk along, leisurely even. Unfortunately, either side of the path is fairly dense woodland so even though it follows (primarily) the spine of a hill, there are not many views, just glimpses. After around 20 minutes meandering I see some metal structure through the pines…
Ahead of me, a clearing, a beautiful plateau with susuki waving in the sun under the steel scaffolding.
From this clearing you could see a full 360 degree view. Apart from the forest and the hills the transmission towers are the only other visible feature. From here, you could see at least ten and I realised at this point the path I was following must have been a service path for these things. Another path snaked down the hill, but I decided to back-track to a fork in the path I’d just crossed.
Passing a handsome matsu tree, I could imagine looking at art works either side of the path. Perhaps sometime in the future…
Eventually, I see a familiar metal shape:
This was my last pylon. The path continued but I wanted to go somewhere else. I took a route down a tiny track. It was barely discernible, but I could follow it. Initially, I thought it must be an animal track but it had been cut out of the sloped land. Only a foot wide and almost totally overgrown, it took me to something wonderful. A stone entrance, circular, man-made, at least 60 years old
with a square stone hole carved at the back of the depression.
It was an old charcoal oven, like http://www.in-kamiyama.jp/en/art/9512/. This square hole is the flue. Wonderful! I found this in the middle of the forest, it was fate.
The path continued, but barely. I follow.
I see a tree scarred by the tusks of boar:
The path spits me out into a clearing and there are the remains of at least four charcoal ovens. It’s quite a moving experience. Kamiyama history lost to the forest, rediscovered! An historic place.
Exhausted now. Down the hill towards the car. The trees seem proud.
In the shadows, yuki and rabbit footprints.