Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Day two in Nippori

On day two I headed up with this time only a group of 5 to the old town of Nippori. This being one of the older cities having made it through all the bombings. This was very unlike the downtown Tokyo where we stayed. Nippori was a smaller city full of homes and local shopping. I loved this stop and wanted so badly to take Matt back to this charming village.

The first thing I saw when stepping out from the subway, which was a great way to travel once we figured it out, is this view of the distant Tokyo. A reminder of where we really are.

But a short walk up about ten steps and rounding the corner you see this. You instantly forget the view just seen and find nothing but houses lining little roads, in a very old town. It's beautiful, serene and very quiet.

The houses are so close together there is only room for one narrow car to squeeze into a garage. You can see part of one starting to pull out here, which I thought helped show the spacing between these homes. It was interesting to walk by one of the homes and little american flag hanging in a window.

First stop was to one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Tokyo. Of course, as was everything thing else, it was just beautiful and peaceful. This Buddha is one of the oldest, and I love how time takes its hold on things, giving everything more character.

Before entering the temples, those there to worship the Gods clean themselves to gain worthiness to enter. They wash each hand, and then touch the water to their lips.

I loved the detail put into everything, even their rain spouts.

Walking out of the shrine we find a historical cemetary. This was the front of the cemetary. I loved the blue bike, with all the surrouding green. I loved the stillness here, and looking at this helps to remind me that stillness can be good.

This is a "headstone" as we we call it. When someone dies, they are cremated and placed with the rest of the family. So what you see here would have an entire family under there. On the front of the tall stone the prayer is written and along the side of the stone will have the name of all the family members placed there. There are 4 holders in front, two for flowers and two for candles. Certain years (first, 5th, 10th, ect) after someone has passed, they do another memorial service for them. Each time a service is done, they place a stick with a prayer on it behind the stone. Some of those stones had so many sticks you couldn't count. It was amazing.

This was an entrance to another cemetary. There are more of those lens flares (or spirits, depending on what you believe). I wish I knew what all of those said.

A typical road here in the little villa of Nippori.

A roof top in Nippori.

For the rest of the day I took Matt to the Manji shrine back closer to where we were staying, since he hadn't seen it yet. It was a good day, and so far the food was pretty good!

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