Hidden Gems

Hello friends and welcome back to another of our outings!

This post doesn’t really feature Sas as its all about the temples and shrines we stopped at along our route home. Pretty sure we mentioned in one of our previous posts that Sas doesn’t usually come with me when we visit these site due to their religious nature. Even if he were allowed, I would feel very uncomfortable with him there because knowing Sas, he would very definitely pee or poop on something of religious significance and we would be deported from Japan.

So. No Sas is featured in this post apart from the picture above – just because he’s so cheeky and lovable.

Travelling back from the coast we stopped by a few unexpected shrines and temples hidden from the main road and which hinted at something interesting or rather spectacular. There was no disappointment there!

Okawa – jinja Shrine.

Now this. This was spectacular and I was not expecting to see something so magnificent just off the main road back to Fukuchiyama… here’s what I found!

The craftsmanship of the main temple is remarkable and exquisitely detailed. Above are the gables of the first covering when entering the temple complex proper. Below is the lintel of the main temple with an exquisitely carved dragon with exceptional detail and a marble eye. If you don’t look up – you miss it!

Another temple we stopped at along our way home, which was also by the side of the road was Tokura Shrine. The beauty of these places is that when you are driving you catch glimpses of the their entrance as evidenced by the Torii gates. They are either stone or wooden and often painted a striking black and red colour.

Here is a short clip of the walk in the damp and drizzly weather

I don’t know what it is but visiting these places when the weather is grey and damp, I think they are more beautiful in this setting than on any other day. I’ve seen and visited shrines and temples around Kyoto yet the ones here in the middle of nowhere by the side of the road or just off down a well – worn track, I find, are the most peaceful and calming places to be.

I respect people visiting the great temples and shrines around Japan, its what the country is known for: Fushimi Inari, Kiyomizu-dera the list goes on; bustling tourist activity, crammed full of sounds and incense smells yet in all of this I find what the purpose of a temple or shrine is, is lost. It’s these hidden gems off the beaten track that are well worth your time.

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