Lush and green, nestled in the mossy hills and up the ragged steps you will come to Shouryuuji, the “Green Dragon Temple”. The environment is fantastically beautiful. Temple buildings, pagodas, bamboo forests, and the stairs dotted with statues and path markers. Shouryuuji is truly a highlight for any pilgrim. This temple houses the “Dragon Fudou”, and it looks very fierce indeed.
There are quite a number of steps here, and many are uneven and slippery in the rain. Walk carefully, carry a stick, and take your time through the incredibly beautiful pathway to the top.
As I was walking through the area it occurred to me that so many people who first come to Japan really want to go to Arashiyama in Kyoto because they fell in love with the images they have seen of the bamboo groves to walk through. I agree that the images are serene and very evocative. But, as I trudged up the mossy steps to Shouryuuji I could enjoy a much more intimate experience among the bamboo. I could touch them. I could stand next to them. I could look up through their trunks to the sky and see very much what I would also see in Kyoto.
But there is a big difference between walking in Kochi-ken to a temple on top of a hill and Kyoto.
People. Here there are so few coming through. And meeting anyone on the trail is a chance to say hello and to smile and chat if people choose. I would choose this place a thousands over than being jostled on the tourist packed fenced-off routes of Arashiyama any day, and twice on Sunday.