If you're on your way to the Akino Fuku Art Museum in the countryside north of Hamamatsu, it's worth taking a little time to stop off at Shiigawaki shrine. Not far from Nishi-Kajima station, the terminal of the Enshu train line, this is a peaceful shinto shrine surrounded by forest, typical of the country's tradition of taking a spiritual view of nature.
First you climb some steep steps away from the road, maybe looking back at the top to enjoy a view of the nearby river, then you follow a path through the woods to reach the shrine grounds. You really are surrounded by nature here: the only sounds are the wind in the tall trees, the birdsong and insects, the distant rattle of an occasional train chugging across the bridge. I saw a tiny little lizard on the stone path, but apart from that, I was the only visitor, able to enjoy the tranquility, solitude and quiet.
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I came to Japan from Manchester, England in summer 2003, and have travelled a lot since then, around Japan and in Asia. When I`m not working I write satire at www.iothern.blogspot.com and perform stand-up comedy in and around Tokyo. Check my youtube channel `CunningPunster` for a taste.