2016 Winter Solstice Observations. 1. Higashinoyama

Ed. Note:  We are happy to share with you our English-language interpretation, in three parts, of the Japanese blog posted by the Kanayama Megaliths Research Center at  http://blog.livedoor.jp/kanayama_tour-kanayamamegaliths/archives/1063302788.html. Our own earlier post on the climb up Higashinoyama on 10/22/16, 60 days before the winter solstice, was reported here,  https://iwakage.wordpress.com/2016/12/05/beginning-of-early-winter-at-higashi-ni-yama/. So this is the second report on this winter season at Higashinoyama. Parts 2 and 3 of this series are about the Solar Calendar Simulator, Iwaya-Iwakage, and Senkoku-Ishi. Enjoy this adventure at the Kanayama Megaliths!

2016年12月21日 冬至   Winter Solstice 2016.12.21

7:00 am.  Starting from the Iwaya Number Two Dam in deep fog. Clearing good weather is predicted! As we approach the megaliths, … there’s no fog!  

7:30 am.   Climbing to Higashinoyama Megaliths. There are 7 cars. Kobayashi-san is leading the departure.  There are eight people in this year’s winter solstice mountain observation group. They are all repeaters except for three people. We are departing from the lower  two megalithic sites (Iwaya-Iwakage and Senkoku-ishi). 

That peak in the photo is the mountain with the megaliths, Higashinoyama, that we are going to climb.

This year our climbing is without snow. Although it is said to be warmer than usual on this day, in the shade of the climb our breaths are white and frost is on the leaves at our feet. 5-5b6c6201

We enter the old path and it is pretty dangerous here. Even after the most dangerous part, it is hard to keep our balance. We are required to use our walking sticks.


Arrived at the Higashinoyama megalithic site in 50 minutes after departing as scheduled. Fast people can make it in 30 to 40 minutes.

8-4788c659This long megalith is the stone for observing the morning sun of the winter solstice.

The observation post of the stone is a right angle space. Sit here and look along the 9 meter stone. People with long legs seem to fit well when sitting like this. 

10-8296debdYes, this is line of sight to the rising sun. The trees are bushy, and the the sun shines brightly, though not clearly, through gaps in the foliage.

14-bdfcaa72Although it can be observed with the eyes, in the photograph, the light source is narrow and it is difficult to catch the shining light.

It takes us 40 minutes to descend from the mountain.

When we returned to the megalithic group below, light was shining on Higashinoyama. Senkoku-ishi, however, was still in shadow. 

Next:  Part 2. Solar Calendar Simulator



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