It was a long day, with lots of walking and doing very touristy things (aka - taking pictures of everything!) It was weird to be one of the only Americans in a cluster of hundreds of people. Even though it was a weekday, the shrines and temples were crowded with tour groups, students on field trips, and ordinary people simply visiting the temples and shrines to worship or pray. The difference was, ALL these people were Japanese, and there were only 6 of us Americans! Talk about a homogenous country! Many people stared at us, several kids tried to speak to us in English (which they would do and then laugh amongst themselves for being so brave as to talk to us “gaijin” or foreigners) and others even took our pictures. In the train station there were some schoolgirls about the age of 13 or 14, and they were staring Nick down like he was a super model. They were quite obvious about it too, they didn’t try to be discreet, they just pointed and loudly talked about him as we walked by. (Of course Nick got embarrassed and started blushing!!!) This comes as no surprise, Nick isn’t hard to miss, he was by far the tallest man in the train station, as well as every other place we visited today!
The good thing about the places we toured today was that even the Japanese people were taking pictures, so we didn’t hesitate to pull out our camera for, well, everything! (We did kind of get a little picture happy…)
Nick and I took way too many pictures to share them all, but I will provide a “few” from our day of site seeing:
The entrance to one of the shrines
The Japanese are very superstitious and full of rituals. They have statues for everything, they do ceremonious things for specific reasons and have strong beliefs in spirits. This scary looking guy behind the cage, must have been some kind of mean spirit, to be locked up for all eternity!
The Great Buddha was the main attraction for the day, the whole reason we went to Hase. Needless to say, we took tons of pictures of this famous piece of architecture.
We were told this is the season for the beautiful hydrangeas…and sure enough, they were in full bloom around every corner along our route today! They smelled amazing!
The Hase-Dera Temple
Millions of what I think are considered grave stones…people leave flowers to pay respect (and as you can tell, sometimes they even dress them up!)
In Japan, you take the train everywhere!