Date & Time: Tuesday, September 15, 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Spots: Komiya Japanese style inn, Approach to the Shrine, Gentle slope course to the Shrine, Oyama–dera Temple (by cable car), Afuri–Shrine, Café Sekison (where Japanese dancing and Samisen live play were demonstrated)
Participants: about 30 people including five Americans residing in Japan.
Attendant: one KSGG member
A trial tour was held as one of “NOBODY KNOWS”*1 to promote tourism to Mt.Oyama and traditional Japanese arts and culture. About 30 people who are tourism and/or mountain climbing related were invited to the tour. Five foreign influencers residing in Japan were among them. The project was carried out as a part of Japan Cultural Expo*2 and cosponsored or supported by many governmental and private organizations. An assigned KSGG member to this tour gave information about the history of “Pilgrimage to Mt. Oyama” in English and also acted as an interpreter while walking along the path. COVID-19 prevention measures were perfectly prepared by our host; everyone checked their body temperature, sterilized their hands before the tour, and wore masks. The KSGG guide used a mouth shield and a handy microphone, and the foreign guests used earphone–type guiding receivers while keeping social distancing between each other.
We, participants got deeply impressed by the colorful, profound history and culture of Mt. Oyama during the tour. By the way, we were very worried about the decreasing number of the pilgrims’ lodgings. It has been said that there were 40 pilgrims’ lodgings available compared with 112 lodgings in the Meiji period, which lasted from 1868 to 1912, but actually we found only less than 29 inns being operated now. Recently, the popularity of Mt. Oyama tour has been growing, but the visitors staying overnight are still very few because most visitors prefer one day trip to Mt. Oyama. Furthermore, “Oyamako”, which is the pilgrimage to visit Mt. Oyama as an enjoyable trip, was very popular in the Edo period which lasted from 1603 to 1867. However, it has been decreasing compared with that in the peak period.
Pilgrims’ lodgings are one of the important factors to preserve and resume the authentic Mt. Oyama worship tour tradition, so we hope pilgrims’ lodgings will be handed down to the next generation.
*1 NOBODY KNOWS is a project which introduces traditional Japanese performing arts and culture in each local area.
Online tour to Isehara and Mt.Oyama is being held from November 3, 2020 to January 31, 2021.
*2 Japan Cultural Expo is a nationwide celebration which introduces Japanese arts and culture to other countries under the theme “Humanity and Nature” to attract foreign visitors to local destinations as an opportunity to Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The Expo was launched in March 2019 and is currently scheduled to run until March 2021.