Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Running Tour of Takaoka

This morning, which was my third day of running, I decided to run through the neighborhoods in Takaoka south of the train station.

It was a fascinating run.

I ran through mostly residential neighborhoods, but I also ran past a fair number of busy streets, rice paddies, and vegetable gardens. I saw quit a lot of things. If I keep up this running in the morning business, I will have explored a good portion of the city within a month.

The reason I'm even mentioning the fact that I went running is because I think I found the Tomb of Toshinaga Maeda and Hankyuji Temple. You see, it has been really frustrating trying to figure out what the sites are in Takaoka. There are so many little things that are a mystery to me and since I can't read Kanji, it's not like I just pick up a paper or look at the writing on the building and figure things out.

I need more help than that! I could try my guidebook, but this is exactly what my Fodor's Japan guidebook has to say about Takaoka:

Takaoka, the southern gateway to the Noto Peninsula, is not especially worth
lingering around, though it does have Japan's third-largest Daibutsu (Great
Buddha), after those in Kamakura and Nara. It's made of bronze and stand
53 feet high. Also in Takaoka, a 10-minute walk from the station, is
Zuiryu-ji, a delightful Zen temple that doubles as a youth hostel. A
sprawling park, Kojo-koen, not far from the station, is particularly stunning in
autumn, with its red-and-silver maples. Takaoka is mostly known for its
traditions of copper-, bronze-, and iron-smithing and remains a major
bell-casting center.
That's it. That was $25 well spent. Basically Takaoka has a Buddha, a park, and a Zen temple. Thanks! I know there is more to do and see here than that!

I've found a couple websites that highlight some places to see (toyamajets.com is probably the best), but they never have addresses and the directions are usually limited to something like this:

Access: JR Takaoka Station, 10 min. walk.

I realize it's all really my own fault; If only I had listened to my Freshman Japanese instructor...

I can hear him now:

"BI-RA-GO-MEZ-SAN!!! WAKE UP!! You'll regret this later!"

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