Friday, May 15, 2015

Shrine Hopping (Part 1)

It's official, I am a GEEK. I am the type of girl who likes to curl up in a corner and read books on weekends rather than go out and have parties. So, it's no wonder that when I got the opportunity to go to Japan for work, I had a little troubling planning my weekends.

On one hand, I really want to explore this beautiful country, on the other, I am terrified of too many people. Maybe that's why I didn't enjoy Akihabara so much and just went to find a peaceful adventure. So with that dilemma, I found the perfect solution via Virtual Tourist. I got a map and decided to do a little shrine hopping.

Part 1: Azusamiten Shrine

Last Saturday, May 9, 2015, I planned to visit the Azusamiten Shrine which I found in the Virtual Tourist. It showed a small but cheerful shrine with cat statues and cute ema with cat pictures. So, I typed in the name in my google maps, and traveled on my own for 1 1/2 hours.

I had fun on the way - it was my first time going by that road. Even last time, we haven't tried to travel this part of Tachikawa. First bad luck was that I missed the bus from Hakonegasaki Station. It takes another 30 minutes before the next bus, but it's ok, my map showed that I can walk to the shrine in less than 20 minutes. So I walk and did a little sight seeing - I even saw a small shrine by the side of the road. :)

When I arrived to the shrine, I was a bit disappointed. It was dark, and a little sad. There were no people praying and no cat statues anywhere. That's when I realized my second bad luck: I got lost. It was the correct address, and correct name. It's just that there were 2 shrines in Tachikawa of the same name, but different kanji spelling. Yeah, so I guess, learning to read kanji is really important.

But I was already there, so I might as well take pictures. It was still beautiful, in a melancholy sort of way. The details were definitely traditional Japanese architecture. I did have a horror film kind of vibes, but it's ok. It was still early, so I was not that afraid (sort of).

As I was going down the shrine steps, I heard an old lady calling. I thought she was talking to someone behind me, which actually gave me the shivers since I was alone. It turns out that she was talking to me, only she was referring to me as Nana-chan. When I finally approached her, she realized her mistake. She mistook me for her granddaughter (I think), :)

We chat (as best as we could - with language barrier and all) and she and her husband invited me in their house for tea. It was my first time to enter an almost traditional Japanese house. We sat in the Japanese room, and warmed ourselves with the kotatsu. :) We had ocha (green tea) and manju bread (with red bean paste). I saw a picture of Nana-chan, and I did look like her from afar. Her eyes are definitely smaller, and her skin paler, but her facial structure was very similar to mine. I did not take a picture, that would be too weird.
Sahoda Family

After that, I went home, which was good timing too. It rained just after I arrived at the hotel. So, I just had quick dinner and searched the web for the other Azusamiten Shrine. I found another address, and I went last Sunday, May 10, 2015, and to at least 2 more shrines. :)

So this part has been too long, I will continue this adventure on to the next part. See you! :)

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