During the spring 2016 Japan Trip, one of the highlights was the pilgrimage to the village of Yagyu (Yagyucho), also known as the centre of Yagyu Shinkage-ryu Kenjutsu as we have come to know it. The last part of this trip was a visit to the legendary Yagyu boulder.
From the Yagyu Shinkage-ryu dojo, we headed South in the direction of the boulder. There were of course no definitive signs (well, there one on the highway on the other side of the village; the road that we did not take).
Our path went through the woods, over two larger hills. Bamboo, tea shrubs, and various other trees, flowers and plants were magnificently enjoyed along the way. The temperature was in the 20-ies Celsius with high humidity. Nevertheless, the path towards the boulder was an enjoyable walk.
If you are not familiar with the legend about Yagyu Munetoshi, let me give you a short version. Yagyu Munetoshi encountered a tengu — a mythical creature, part human and part bird, on one of his strolls through the woods. The tengu wanted to duel with Yagyu, and when he noticed a slight distraction in the tengu, Yagyu attacked with a an enormous blow. Just as his sword struck the tengu’s head, it disappeared. Instead, the sword struck a large boulder, cleaving it in two parts.
With nobody else present, the site of the boulder was magnificent. The mud was wet, the air was damp, and the energy surrounding this place was magical. The boulder itself felt very cold.
Notice the little statue above the boulder… You may not notice it at first, but then it demands your attention. We stayed close to 20 minutes enjoying the tranquility of the boulder and the direct environment. It felt as time had been stuck for the last few hundred years.
On the way back to the village, a Yagyu Snake crossed our path. The snake looked up and then decided to move on as it seemed it did not wanted to be bothered by anything.
Yagyu village is a fantastic place, and everyone who is interested in Yagyu Shinkage-ryu, or any of the connected Japanese history should take a day to travel to this remote place.