Tag Archives: shrine

Leaving Japan Sucks

We leave Japan tomorrow. As we go around doing our final preparations and paperwork, I look around at everything and feel that I really don’t want to leave this. I love the atmosphere of Japan, and I really enjoyed doing my job. Now we’re leaving.

I took a video at what is probably the last shrine I’ll see for a long time. I don’t know when I’ll upload it. I’ll probably do a marathon of videos this weekend from our new home in Edmonton. So many to do.

If I have time, I’ll try catch up on comments on the blog today. I doubt I’ll have time for two or three days after today. Travel will keep us busy.

I’ll make one more post before we fly. But it may have to be before we get to the airport. Expect video of our last day in Japan and first day in Canada.

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Signs of Spring

It may only be early February, but that’s when the signs of spring appear in the Tokyo area of Japan. This morning, we went for a walk to see Mt. Fuji, but it was too hazy.

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So we focused on what was around us. We were near the Fujisawa campus of Keio University, one of the oldest and most prestigious universities in Japan, and we were able to enjoy nature.

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The Kawazu cherry trees have started blooming, and we were also greeted by some mejiro, or Japanese white-eye.

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We were also surprised by a red-roofed shrine, Utsumochi Shrine.

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The cherry trees weren’t the only things blooming. The Japanese plum trees continue to bloom, too.

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This week is going to warm up significantly. On average, February is the coldest month here. However, the forecast for Saturday is 18 degrees and cloudy. Valentine’s Day will be a balmy 23 degrees and rainy. Very surprising!

Are you stuck in the middle of winter, or is spring beginning to show itself where you live? Or are you in summer in the Southern Hemisphere?

Birds and Flowers – Today’s Marathon Walk

Today, we went for a walk to Izumi-chuo Station in Izumi Ward, Yokohama. We walked 17.8 km, and were treated to a lot of flowers and birds. The Japanese plum trees are blooming, and the Kawazu cherry trees are beginning to bloom. It’s like spring! So, enjoy the pictures and video.

This first picture is a Kawazu cherry tree that’s beginning to bloom. We will be going to Izu in Shizuoka prefecture later this month to see them in full bloom.

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The flowers currently in bloom (nearly full) are the Japanese plum, or more correctly, the Japanese apricot. This tree has white blossoms.

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And here are the first birds we saw. They’re great egrets. My wife saw about ten of them on this tree yesterday.

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We walked past Engyou Hachimangu shrine early in our walk. I’ve been by this shrine so many times. I also did a video about it, which you can see here.

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We made it to Engyou Park, and enjoyed the plum blossoms. Here are some bright pink ones.

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And this is a deep pink one. Can you believe this was taken with an iPhone?

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In this tree, we got to see a group of three mejiro, or Japanese white-eye. They’re a green bird that we can often see.

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Here’s a mejiro with a commercial jet.

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I was able to get a video of a couple of mejiro. However, the second one flew away just as I was starting to record it.

In the same park, there’s a bamboo grove. I love bamboo.

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We walked for a while and entered Yokohama. This is Yumegaoka Station, one of my favourites, although it’s rather quiet and has a lack of houses around it. However, it has a wonderful view of Mt. Fuji.

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And near Izumi-chuo Station, I saw this tree. Weird.

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I took all of these pictures and the video with my iPhone. Better quality than my old digital camera.  Hope you enjoyed the pictures and video. Comments are always welcome.

Another Walk – Unexpected Festivities

On Tuesday, we went for another walk. It was the last day of our holidays, and we made it a pretty interesting walk. We walked in an area we’ve never been to before, and had a very good time with some festival food.

Here, we walked down a street we’ve never been to before. As someone who likes exploring, this was all very interesting to me.

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We left the hilly area and entered the Sagami plain area of Kanagawa. It’s pretty flat.

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Welcome to Samukawa! I’d been there before, but not around Samukawa Station. Only Miyayama Station.

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The road approaching Samukawa Shrine. I was there once before, and it was somewhat busy. However, it’s still the New Year period. What would we see?

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Surprise! Ume blossoms! That’s three weeks early. It’s been a warm winter so far.

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Samukawa Shrine! That’s a very big torii, or shrine gate. The traffic was incredible here.

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Here’s the bridge and gate entering the shrine grounds. The bridge was actually quite steeply arched.

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On the ground is part of the original torii. On the left is a lantern.

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It’s busy. Much busier than I’d seen before.

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Lots of food stalls here. Looks like we found where we’re getting lunch.

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Amazing! This is the inner gate into the shrine. And it’s so crowded.

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A closeup of the gate. Very colourful.

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You can see the shrine through the gate. And that’s a big paper lantern.

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The main hall of the shrine. There’s a lot of gold there, actually. In the shrine grounds, there were probably several hundred people.

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Another shrine building. You could buy many things there.

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People tying omikuji (fortunes) to ropes.

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Time for lunch! With it being like a festival, and so many food stalls, I had some very typical festival food. This was my frank.

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And jagabata, or potatoes with butter. Delicious!

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After eating, we starting going home. Here is the same river we saw the day before, the Megujiri River. Very rural in this area.

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Some old farm buildings with the Tanzawa Mountains in the background.

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It was quite the walk. It was actually my third longest walk ever at 18.97 km. I had blisters on the bottom of both big toes. It was getting difficult to walk at the end.

Walks like this are great. We encountered something unexpected, a festival-like atmosphere at a famous shrine. With less than three months to go in Japan, I think we may take a few more of these walks and discover some new things or visit familiar places.

Have you ever gone for a walk or drive and found something unexpected?

A New Year in Japan – Hatsumode

Hatsumode is a tradition on New Year’s in Japan. It’s the first visit to a temple or shrine in the new year. We went to Wakoin, a temple in Saitama city to visit a grave.

Here’s the main gate of the temple.

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And the main hall of the temple.

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I didn’t take a picture of the cemetery, since that would be considered rude. This is probably the biggest tradition on New Year’s Day. Some people do it at midnight. Temples and shrines are typically quite busy after midnight, and some have thousands or hundreds if thousands if visitors in the first three or four days of the year. Wakoin wasn’t very busy.

One more update for today.

A Tour of a Shinto Shrine in Japan

I got a new video up for A Taste of Japan, and it’s all about a Shinto shrine. Last time, I did a tour of a Buddhist temple. This time, it’s Japan’s native religion. Unfortunately, it was quite windy, so my voice wasn’t very clear from time to time, but you can understand what I said.  Enjoy!

Of course, please subscribe to my channel. Many new videos are coming over the next few weeks, since I’ll be doing a lot of sightseeing with my sister and sometimes my family. Also, for all of the videos, please like them (thumbs up). Hopefully, that’ll get them some more visibility in the search results on YouTube.  Thanks!

Comments and questions are always welcome.