Day 2 – Japan

I’m still feeling some jet lag. Woke up several times during the night feeling very disoriented about time.

We used public transportation to get to a station to ride on the super-express Yamabiko bullet train. The bullet train is impressive – very fast and very smooth. There was a group of men standing on the platform at the stop for Fukushima. It’s a government campaign to encourage tourism for the area. You may recall it from the news; it’s the area where the nuclear reactor leaked after the earthquake in March of 2011.

First we went to a shrine and mausoleum for the first feudal lord of the region. The buildings were beautiful, very ornate and colorful. We had to walk up many steps to get to the buildings, and at the start of the stairs there was a large container of bamboo canes so that you could borrow one to help yourself up the steps. At the top of the steps there was a wooden structure with water and several ladles resting on slats across the top. You wash your hands, then ladle some of the water into your hand, and put it in your mouth. Then you hold it a few seconds before spitting it out. This is done to purify yourself and receive a blessing before entering the main part of the shrine. Once you pass through the next gate, there are about 20 more steps to get to the top. The steps are each very high; this was designed to foster humility in people approaching the main building. Hydrangeas and azaleas were blooming and gardens of this place were all beautiful.
Next we went to a restaurant at Aoba Castle. We had a choice of grilled beef tongue (their specialty) or noodles and sushi. In keeping with the meals I have had in Japan this far, the presentation was lovely. To no one’s surprise, I did not select the beef tongue; I had a lovely lunch of noodles. 🙂
After lunch we went by bus to Minamisanriku Portal Center. image

Random group of pedestrians waiting at a crosswalk. Notice the man with the mask.

Random group of pedestrians waiting at a crosswalk. Notice the man with the mask.

Bamboo poles to help you manage the many stairs to Zuihoden Mausoleum and Shrine.

Bamboo poles to help you manage the many stairs to Zuihoden Mausoleum and Shrine.

View from bottom of the steps

View from bottom of the steps

Purification and blessing before entering the main gate.

Purification and blessing before entering the main gate.

Front of the mausoleum. Notice the gloves!

Front of the mausoleum. Notice the gloves!

Better picture of the front of the mausoleum

Better picture of the front of the mausoleum

image
Jizo

Jizo

The beef tongue meal. They used the little grill to cook the meat at the table.

The beef tongue meal. They used the little grill to cook the meat at the table.

My noodle and sushi meal. In the summertime, noodles are served cold. They are only served hot during the winter.

My noodle and sushi meal. In the summertime, noodles are served cold. They are only served hot during the winter.

Colorful decorations being hung for an upcoming festival. I thought they looked like piñatas.

Colorful decorations being hung for an upcoming festival. I thought they looked like piñatas.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Tiffany
    Jun 17, 2015 @ 14:06:34

    Okay, I’m with you on the beef tongue. It looks like you are have a great experience so far! I love the pictures, it’s so beautiful!

    Reply

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