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Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Eerie Path to an Ogimi War Monument (Shioya District)"

Pathway leading to the Ogimi War Monument

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Eeire Path to an Ogimi War Monument (Shioya)

     N 26 40.358E 128 06.423

Eerie Path to an Ogimi War Monument (Shioya District) 

Glancing at the picture above, you are probably wondering what you looking at. If you look directly at the center of the picture you will see a set of steps. At this spot, where I'm standing when I took this picture, is about the halfway point before you get to the Ogimi War Memorial. The actually starting point begins at another set of steps (much more steeper) before you get to this point.

I posted this picture intentionally to give you an idea of the eeriness I felt walking up this path.  Everything about this place brought chills up my back, partly because I had no idea what I was expecting and partly because the path seemed old and beaten down by years of harsh weather and natural aging. I only found out that this was a War Monument afterwards. If you look at the photo album, I laid out pictures in a orderly sequence to show you what you will see at each step along the way.

Once you get to the top, you will see an 'Utaki' (sacred place of prayer) and several erected stones next to it. The largest stone says War Monument with the names inscribed below (See Photo Album). I call this the Ogimi War Monument due to its location, however, nothing on the stones seems to mention where the deceased actually came from. Intuition tells me that there is more to this monument than meets the eye and gives me cause to do further research about this specific location and why this place was chosen for the monument's final resting place. Next to the monument is another path that leads further up the hill (it's the last photo in the photo album). Due to time constraints, I decided against going up. Maybe the answer I am looking for lies somewhere up there. Will have to see. 

Walking Up There. There are really two ways you can get to the monument. The first way is via the set of steps that marks the beginning of the path as shown in the photo album. Next to the steps, however, is a paved walkway that goes around and up the hill. This will eventually take you to the top as well.

Finding the Steps. If you look at the map you can probably navigate your way to it. You can also see the the steps if you are on top of the Shioya Hilltop mentioned in a previous blog post. If you look to the north from this hill top, you will see these set of steps disappearing into the treeline.

CAUTION. The path is old. There stairway is somewhat steep, but manageable if you are in good health. There was a lot of overgrowth. Depending on the time of year, be prepared for mosquitoes, large spider webs, tons of grasshoppers, and possibly snakes. To protect your legs from some of these critters, I don't recommend wearing sandals or even shorts. Because of the overgrowth on the path, bring a guide stick or umbrella to brush away the vegetation. This is to help you see where you are walking and to avoid any possible snakes. For safety reasons, I highly recommend you don't bring any young children up there.

What to Bring. Good Shoes, pants (recommended), walking stick, camera, and water.

Other places of interest nearby: Scenic View from a Shioya Hilltop, The Ogimi Waterfall.

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