Archive for June 3, 2010


Our class paid a visit to Asakusa Temple during one of its many festivals. There were people everywhere for the celebration we could barely get into the main gate. Speaking of the main gate the lantern that hangs from it was folded up that day which Japanese locals informed us was a rare sight to see. Once inside there were shops everywhere that sold various assortments of food, weapons, toys and souvenirs. The shops were quite beautiful and I want to know where in America I can get a katana as cheap or as gorgeous as some of the swords at these stores. I really wanted to see the temple so I continued to battle my way through the crowds. While on my way I noticed loud chanting and cheering as a group of Shinto volunteers carried a relic throughout the temple grounds. Before entering the temple I stopped for a second to check my fortune. For 100 yen a person can shake a silver colored canister and remove a stick. Engraved on this stick is a number which tells you which drawer holds your fortune. The fortunes range from best, to great, regular, and even bad. Never fear if you get a bad fortune though there are spots all throughout the temple where you can tie-off and forget your bad fortune. The temple itself was amazing; it was dimly lit by candlelight and filled with statues and beautiful artwork that I can’t even begin to understand the meaning of. I think that’s why I enjoyed our temple visits the most, the mystery surrounding all the artifacts and relics inside their walls.

Relic

Relic

Daisho-in is a Buddhist temple on the foot of Mount Misan and was one of our cultural visits on our day in Miyajima. It was without a doubt one of the most breathtaking temples I’ve ever seen. At the temple’s base there was a stairway that had rotatable railings with important teachings engraved on them. At mid-climb was a donation box, the kicker was that there was also a bell, so anyone who donated money could proudly ring the bell to announce their presence. Before entering any shrine visitors were required to take their shoes off at the base of each staircase. At the top of most shrines was a pedestal where sweet smelling incense burned. Bringing the smoke towards your face and breathing it in is believed to be a cleansing and blessing of one’s body. One of the many shines we entered was a dark underground hallway which I believed was representing the darkness of life. However before you exit the shrine you’ll see lighted Buddha panels symbolizing the enlightenment of his teachings. The best part of all about Daisho-in Temple is the many miniature carved statues of Buddha. There is a giant path of these statues and most have been decorated with small donations of yen. Some are serious, some are cute, but all of them show devotion and loyalty to Buddha and his teachings.

Year of the Tiger

Year of the Tiger...My Year

One of the greatest places we’ve visited in our time in Japan would be Miyajima Island, it was truly and otherworldly experience. From the moment our group exited the dock we were observers to many new wonders. Our First sight was the deer of Miyajima; they were about as tall as a medium sized dog and smelled terrible. The interesting thing about these deer is that they had no fear of humans; they casually walk up to you and wait patiently for you to feed them. Okay, so it wasn’t always patient. Some will try to eat the map you may be carrying out of your hands or backpack; others will buck you if they feel you’re holding out on them. Second was the Itsukushima Shrine or the floating gate as some people call it. Let me tell you that pictures don’t do this site justice. Travelers are blessed with a beautifully open seaside view to snap photos for memories or just reflect on how awesome it is to get out and see the world. Even though the floating gate is somewhat of a tourist attraction observers can take notice that there are still individuals who view the gate as a sacred place. I could see pilgrims in row boats paddling their way through the gate to receive its blessing. The best thing about Miyajima is how ancient the villages look. It feels like a place untouched by time and there are buildings that I’d swear could be centuries old. All in all that’s the main reason I enjoyed Miyajima, there is a certain peace one obtains from the old-time simplicity.

Miyajima

Miyajima