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Daimonji-yama is the main site of the Daimonji Yaki fire festival. On August 16th (Jen and Madonna's birthdays, incidentally) they set this fire that is in the shape of the Chinese character "dai" (meaning "great"). It is lit on the face of this mountain that we've just climbed and you can see it from all around.
It's quite windy/chilly up here right now. When we started the climb it was a warm sunny day. Japan seems to be like that, though. When the sun's out, it's beautiful! But it always has an odd misty haze hovering over everything. Maybe that has something to do with the plastic umbrella bags, the plastic brush/comb and toothbrush sets they give you in every hotel room, wrapped in plastic. The throw-away packaged society. Everything sterilized and sealed against contamination.
No wonder so many people wear the surgical masks. Actually, Dave says it's against illnesses like colds/flus... although I've just learned from Juliette (a girl from Bristol, England, whom I've just met up here) that it's a defense against hayfever.
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We took the steep way down the mountain and ended up walking along "Pilosopher's Lane" which must be even more beautiful in 2-3 weeks when all the cherry blossoms have flowered. Even so it was nice.
We walked up the street to our first temple: Higashi Hongan-ji.
Dave has stopped for another dessert crepe. He's obsessed. I'm still from our western-style buffet breakfast (called "vikings" here).
Off to see more temples...
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Wandered around Nanzen-ji. Beautiful temple. Also has several subtemples and huge aquaduct on the site. I did the traditional ringing of the bell in order to make a wish/have my prayer heard at one of the subtemples. Of course, normally you're supposed to pay for the privilege of having your god here your prayer. I figured he didn't care much for my money.
Visited a Shinto shrine (temples are Buddhist). It was huge and I'm sure great, as shrines go. But very ugly. They are always orange and white and gaudy. Reminds me of Canada's Wonderland.
They have these wish trees. People write their wishes down on slips of paper and tie them to the boughs of a tree.
Above: Shivering at Daimonji-yama.
Above: Nanzen-ji incence.
Above: The wish tree
my stupid back
The bullet train slide back to Tokyo.