Saturday, October 22, 2011

Tunnel shrine



The Kagohima area consists of a series of large hills, with the city flowing along the flat spaces in between. In many ways, it's like a dry ocean with islands sticking up. To cope with this arrangement, the city planners have run tunnels through the hills for the east-west streets, about 1 mile apart. This particular street is about half a mile south of Kagoshima-chou station, and to the east runs past the San-eru (3L) building and one of the Book Off stores, into the bay.



What caught my eye here is the shrine above the tunnel roof. Initially, I'd thought that this was the Kagoshima equivalent of the shrine built over the water along the ocean or lake shore lines. But, apparently it's just a shinto shrine that had been here for a while and the tunnel was dug under it.



As shrines go, it's fairly small, but still has a manned good luck charms window to the right.



Inside of the shrine.



Looking back out from the parking lot.



Shrine stones to the left of the parking lot. Just to the right of these stones is a concrete staircase that runs up the rest of the hill a few hundred feet. At the top is the back side of a junior high school. From the condition of the stairs, I didn't think that anyone else used them, but just as I got to the top, several students approached to go back down. Given how winded I was, I doubt that I'd like to have to make this trek every day to go to class in the morning.



Just above the temple roof level, the stairs go by a park bench at a lookout facing the island, and just past that is the entrance to a now-vacant lot. At one time, a family lived here.



From the look-out. The Ferris wheel towards the left of the picture is atop the Kagoshima-chou train station. Continuing up the stairs, there's another set of concrete steps running up and off to the right. If my estimates are right, they come out at the other end of the back of the school. The thing is, the path gets very narrow very quickly, isn't maintained, and is covered over with tree branches.



And just before you get to the top, there's the sign that says "private property, no trespassing". Would have made more sense to put the sign down at the bottom of the turn off...



Now, if you look at the top photo, you may notice the construction site to the left of the main street tunnel. The company, whose name loosely translates to "Expensive Construction Company", is boring a second tunnel through the hill from both sides. According to one worker I talked to, this side has gone about 200 meters in, with 200 left to go. The other side is digging 600 meters, and both sides are expected to meet in 2012, for a 1 km total length. I asked the gate guard if it was ok to take photos, and he waved me through. I made the assumption that I shouldn't actually enter the tunnel so just took the pictures from the mouth. I like tunnels. I wish I could get a job here.



The camera did a surprisingly good job of reaching to the bend at the back.

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