Just off the main road heading from Fujieda station to the center of town, Konpira-san is a low hill that's worth making the slight detour for. Covered with lush forest, it has a peaceful, relaxing atmosphere, mainly because of the shrines that are built there.
There are ancient gates and shrine halls, interesting statues and carvings, red gates and banners that stand out from the greenery around. Dotted around the hill are graveyards with a mix of old, weathered statues and graves, and more unusual, modern markers, one of them apparently a mah-jongg table and a chair with a racehorse etched on its back.
On one side of the hill there's a bamboo forest, the tall, slender trees swaying in the breeze. And if you're here in spring, then the river to the north of the hill is lined with two hundred cherry-blossom trees, which form a two-kilometer 'sakura tunnel' when the flowers are in bloom.
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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.