The flight over to Japan was over 24 hours. It was long, long and longer. I LOVED Japan, but I almost don't know if the flight is worth going again. :( We left Georgia at 4:30am on Sunday and arrived in Japan around 10pm Monday night. We were tired, but everyone kept saying to stay up as late as we could to help with the time change. So we managed to stay up until around midnight, at which point I thought I was going to fall over. Like it or not, I was going to bed.
So first thing in the morning I headed out with a group of 10 others. All of which were girls but one poor gentleman who had no other guys, so stayed with us. None of us wanted to go out on our own, so we stuck together whether we liked it or not. The first day for me would be the "or not". They girls really wanted to shop, but by shop it was speed walking through towns and finding all the high-end stores. This here is the Prada building. Notice how small the people are at the bottom of the pict. This building was just Prada and was made entirely of glass. It was pretty...
I also ran across this. The houses are just shoved in anywhere they'll fit. Plus I thought the stone walls with moss were just cool. Japan doesn't leave anything unattended. Everything looked good and was so kept up. It was amazing. Never once (until we went way out to the suburbs)did we see a single peice of litter. They don't even have public garbage cans. They all take their garbage home with them to throw away?!?! Can you imagine if we tried that here. We really are lazy.
After our "shopping" excursion we headed over to the Manji shrine. It was this oasis in the middle of "city". It was so bizarre to find it there, but also a wonderful way to get away. I loved these lanterns they have for their street lights. I found this on the way into the shrine, which I found kind of funny because if you look at the picture there is a lense flare. Some say those are the deceased, lingering around, that for a brief moment were caught in a visible form here. I'm not saying I beleive that, but I did capture it on temple grounds.....
I just loved this fence. Like I said, they check every detail and don't do anything half way. This too was on the walk to the shrine. It was about a 15 minute walk on a gravel road through nothing but trees. It was a beautiful way to find a shrine hidden back away from all the business of the world around.
This was the entrance to the actual shrine. The Manji shrine is a Shinto shrine. Japan has Shinto and Buddist. The Shinto is my favorite. They are very "zen". It's the only word I can think of for it. Simple. Clean. Quiet.
Through this door is where they go to give their prayer. It was very neat to watch. Before entering for prayer, they clean themselves, which I will show pictures of later. They then walk up the stairs and into the actual shrine. You go in and stand at this altar made of wood. They walk up in front of it and bow. They then clap their hands twice, to get the attention of the gods. They then bow again. Next they bow in prayer and remain in the bow until done it the prayer. When finished, they then clap two more times. I love getting to watch different cultures and how they do things.
This was found out in front of the shrine. These are prayers written on pieces of wood. You can buy a specific prayer, and although I couldn't read them, there were over 200 different prayers hanging there. Once you pick your prayer you take it home and hang it on your wall for an entire year. At the year mark they then burn the prayer in faith that it will then be granted to them.
More buildings on the grounds of the shrine.