Monday, June 30, 2008
Sakino-yu Onsen is one of the oldest hot spring resorts in Japan and - sited on a spectacular rocky outcrop - one of the most beautiful. We both enjoyed luxuriating while enjoying the unspoilt view of the Pacific from a naked Japanese perspective (although we had a separating wall, so there was no opportunity for funny-business.) This shot was taken from the top of the Underwater Observatory Tower. You can try zooming in on the Japanese guy, but you won't see much. [hint: use the toolbar!]
'Lyn Swims in June...'
OK, so this is no big deal for you Northern-Hemisphere-types, but it's a novelty for us Antipodean aliens.
'Geta on Shirarahama Beach.'
(Geta courtesy Hotel Shirahamakan. Sand courtesy of Australian coast.)
Sunday, June 29, 2008
Okuno-in is a cemetery like no other. We walked the 2 km length of this memorial inside a forest of giant cypresses to see just some of the 200 000 tombs and monuments to the spirits of the dead. Not just humans, but everyone from termites to dogs. Some of the saddest were to children, including the unborn. Miniature jizo are often dressed in children's clothes as a tribute.
The Great Stupa is a 3D mandala representing the complexity of Shingon Buddhist teachings. The first structure built here was in 837 CE. This version of the almost 50m stupa was completed in 1937.
Lyn has given me some great birthday surprises before, but this one takes the cake!
She organised a mystery weekend - one day in the beautiful beach resort of Shirahama & the next overnight in Shojoshinin, an astounding 1200 year old Buddhist monastery in Koyasan (Wakayama.) More details during the week...
Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Monday, June 23, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Young Lyn & Old Pine, Ko-koen.
Rob, Lyn & Chiaki at Ko-koen.
Sue, Lyn & Rob at Ko-koen.
A group of kids ready for any weather...
Himeji's Yukata (Summer Kimono) Festival today and it rained on our parade. But being warm and humid, we all still had a great time.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
The fox was - and is - considered to be the messenger of Inari, the god of cereals, notably rice. The cylinder in the mouth is the key to the rice granary. So foxes are sacred and able to possess humans (often entering through the finger nails). The foxes are also referred to as Inari and there are countless statues of them, augmented daily by thousands of miniatures which are left as offerings. (See Tsuwano.)
Walking through the undisturbed sugi and bamboo forest you can easily forget that the hill is surrounded by the city of Kyoto and environs - until you reach the top and see the burbs below...
Thursday, June 19, 2008
There are supposedly 40,000 shrines to Inari in Japan, but this one, Fushimi-Inari-Taisha is the Mother of All Inari Shrines. First dedicated in the 700s (yes, 1300 years ago), it now consists of 5 distinct large shrines - and countless small ones - scattered over a hill with over 4 km of connecting paths. Most of the time you're walking through thousands of vermillion
torii which are so close together they form a tunnel...
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Rokko Island is a totally artificial island constructed from 73-92. It was one of the worst-affected areas in the Hanshin earthquake. Totally reconstructed, it's home for affluent apartments, shops, hotels and conventions centres & a favourite hang-out for the gaijin.
What a cool sculpture. Does anyone know who did it?
You can meet all kinds of interesting people on the monorail!