Natalie Goes to Japan

40 year old very married blonde woman having a midlife crisis who heads to Japan alone to follow her dreams. Be careful what you wish for ... you just may get it.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Little Bit of Everything

Headed off exploring in my usual fashion, by going to the conbini a block and a half away and buying an egg sandwich, Pringles, CC Lemon Soda and a Snickers bar and then heading in some vague direction with a vague plan. With my many, many maps sitting beside me and tootling thru town. First stop a temple in Inasa. I had a bad experience in Inasa (one that you really don't want me to share) and I was hoping to get that bad feeling out of my system. I had had various people help me translate my maps and I was looking for Iidani Shrine and Japanese Garden. I was smart enough though to look at the kanji, because sometimes there are no signs in English. And just as well bacause it wasn't Iidani Shrine and Japanese Garden. It was Iinoya-Gu and Ryotan-ji (a temple with a garden). I found it fairly quickly, even though there was no English signs and followed what few kanji signs there were. I grabbed my camera and put a few coins in my pocket for the prayer boxes and the fortunes. I was quickly assisted by a "shriner", who spoke very little English, but he handed me an information sheet in English and then chatted me up. Being a chilly Monday morning I was the only person he probably saw for hours. I made a prayer and bought my fortune...I'm not sure if it's just below average or just above average, but one of those. After nosing around the shrine for awhile, I continued down the path into the cemetery amongst the trees and then down into "the garden". It was really quite nice, the plants are only just starting to bloom, but it was still quite lovely in the morning sun. I eventually came to the temple, where there was a 400 yen entrance fee (thank goodness I had enough coins in my pocket). I was handed a nice glossy brochure this time, in English of course. The temple has a very large golden Buddha (probably 12 feet tall), and nightengale floors, and a couple of lovely gardens. I spent a lot of time poking around and taking pictures. By the time I was finished it was really too late to hit the road for anymore exploring, so my first stop ended up being my only stop. I tell you, I recommend this little setup for anybody visiting Hamamatsu. It had a little of everything - shrine, temple, garden, Buddha, traditional architecture - in one convenient location.


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