This article is about Nokogiri in Chiba, but lets take a small tour into India’s history..
In todays global scheme of things, internet technology has established an effective line for communication and collaboration, which is critical for virtual teams to establish governance, control structures to help blend local talent and execution in regions and gently blend it with strategy and vision of the central HQ. Queen Victoria similarly used the invention of the telegraph in the 19th century to control her colonies including India via the local management of East India Company.
If we go back few centuries, kings must have struggled in the analog age to establish power over a vast expanse of land with no access to communication technology. Buddhist Emperor Ashoka, who ruled a vast span of India supposedly used edicts. He erected pillars across the Indian subcontinent with a symbol, a 24 spoke “CHAKRA” or wheel. Each spoke corresponds to virtues conveyed by Buddha to his disciples, values which “upheld” by Ashoka, making him a “CHAKRA-VARTI” or a king. India’s national emblem, is an adaptation of Lion Capital of Emperor Asoka and I was zapped when I stumbled onto one at Nokogiri.
Oblivious to any Ashoka Chakra, I visited the Nokogiri, a scenic spot, popular for its serrated ridge overlooking a valley in the Chiba Prefecture, just an hour long drive from Tokyo. A shrine which was patronised by none other than the Emperor household itself, the hard rocky mountain saw some brilliant carvings with the majestic Buddha statue taking your breath away. Its a different thing that you will anyways be out of breath due to all the crazy climbing and hiking at Nokogiri. Nokogiri mountain is 329.4 m tall, and climbing it was quite an experience, although I would have loved to do this in the autumn time with all beautiful read and yellow shades. The location does not attract those many tourists as does Kamakura, but that is good. You can really sit down by the Buddha and close your eyes and reach your “mindfulness” state.The location and other logistics include taking the ropeway from the terminal 8-minutes walk away from Hamakanaya Station (2 hours from Tokyo Station) on JR Uchibo Line and get off at Nokogiriyamasanroku Station. GOOGLE MAP LINK HERE. On the way to the Nokogiri Mountain stop by some awesome spots running around the Chiba’s beach fronts. Brilliant views, clear waters and relatively less crowded locations if compared to Enoshima coastline which gets crazy during holidays.Hours open to visitors: 8:00-17:00
Admission Fee: \600 (adults); \400 (children). Winding through the mountain in a car, we reached the top paying a fee of 1200 yen for the car park. The first thing we saw at the Nokogiri Mountain was this Buddha carving. It is not that old… so don’t wear your historical hat. Hyakusyaku Kannon (百尺観音)
is the stone cave Kannon statue built in 1963. It was made for dedicated the peace of the soldiers who died in World War II. It has about 30m high, and placed right below the Jigokunozoki.
The mountain’s history as a stone quarry in the Edo period, the marks of which are evident with the ridge on which the Jigoku Nozoki point (Peeping into Hell). The expressway in the distance with some beautiful panoramic views and the relative silence, I can understand why this spot is such a draw for tourists. The spot is open all days of a year.The Jigoku-Nozoki or the peep-into-hell point is always crowded. People line up for a snap from this balcony with someone from their family or their partner and they leaning over that cliff. The view is awesome and suggest you to carry some nice zoom lens for some beautiful photography that you can enjoy on the green mountains in spring and summer.You will notice a board showing you directions of where the next attraction, the big buddha, is and can begin your descent once you are done with this view. Please note that do not forget anything at the top, else you will be taking the treacherous route again! We nearly forgot one small handheld camera…so…. On the descent on the backside of the mountain, we saw the 1779 creations of small statues. Craft man Kangoro Ono and his students spend 21 years to make 1,500 stone statues of Buddha and place the cliff of the mountain. As the Rakan spiritual sanctuary, it is the biggest in the world. With the Shin-Butsu bunri or the restrictions applied on the practice of Buddhism in the meiji Revolution days of 1868, in a talibani fashion, so many statues of the monks/Buddha relating to buddhism all across Japan were destroyed. No religious freedom and revival of Shintoism for nationalistic reasons, Japan had a very different face then which later on led it to the world wars with disastrous consequences. The two statues of the monks are probably sharing a good joke and a monk seated one step below them, seems to react with his explicit laugh.The statues are worth a look, but honestly speaking, they are placed in multiple locations on the hiking trail, one is so tired and sometimes gets difficult to appreciate that when you are absolutely out of breath.The largest Daibutsu (Great Buddha) in Japan. The Daibutsu in Kamakura is the second largest with the Nokogiri daibutsu at 31m high as the sitting great Buddha statue in Japan. Original statue was built in 1783. However, around the end of Edo period, the damage by weathering, it underwent restoration work in the year of 1966.It is incredibly huge, just look at the small figures of people around the statue (left bottom).
Now going back to the surprise of Nokogiri… The Ashoka pillar in the garden just next to the Buddha!!! I discovered this by chance. It has been presented to the Nihonji in 1989 by the Vice President of India in those days, Shankar Dayal Sharma as a token of Indo-Japan friendship. Its been around for now more than 27 years now, quite some time. Not much information on the net around this pillar. My friend commented that probably the Indian Embassy themselves may not know about this…. just a joke…There are four lions, with the 24 spoke wheel as we described earlier hosted on a lotus petal like structure. Quite a few Japanese visitors got around us as we took snap of this national emblem of India. They inquired, started reading the inscription below the statue. Both the Buddha and the emblem are Indian footprints on the Nokogiri Mountain. If you are an Indian, do not miss this pillar…The complete inscription text on a granite stone around the pillar.Done with all the trekking and ready to go back…..
On the way back stopped by a farm on the roadside and took a final break before heading back home. A great trek on the mountain and a weekend well spent….