Friday, September 16, 2011

Misawa Shrine and Komaki Onsen

Ian has been doing FTAC (orientation for your first base) so I get the car during the day. Which means that I grab my equally adventurous gal pal and we start exploring Misawa. The one thing that I've been meaning to see in Misawa is this Shrine tucked back in  these tall woods in the middle of town. We actually found it but it seemed to be closed. But we did walk around the grounds, ring the bells, and donate for our payers.
Shinto is a very interesting religion because it has hundreds of thousand of Kami (gods) that come in all shapes and sizes, some nice and some mean. Pretty much everything has a god related to it. Religion is a little funny in Japan because Buddhism and Shinto kind of blend together. The Buddhist spiritual figures become Kami. From what I've read, Japanese people sort of believe that Buddhism has to do with the afterlife and Shito is more about your life in the hear and now so that the two religions can be blended without actually contradicting each other. I describe the process of ringing the bells and praying at the Shinto shrine in one of my past blog posts.
A this shrine we kind of made things up because there were no instructions in English and nobody to copy. But we paid out yen and got a piece of paper that we unfolded and refolded. There were characters on it that we couldn't read. I'm assuming that they are a prayer to the kami of this particular shrine. Then we tied it to the string with the other prayers.
After the shrine, we decided to go out and get lost some more. We started going towards Towada (another town a ways away) but then decided to turn back and check out the Misawa train station. It's important to know these things. I saw a sign in really large pretty black caligraphy so I randomly turned and low and behold we found the onsen (bath house/hotel/resort) where I learned to do sakiori weaving. Unfortunately all the shops were closed. But we had a lot of fun walking around all the trails and taking in the beauty of the grounds. They just happened to have two tiny little horses outside the main lobby so we had to pet them.
Yes, that is indeed a bamboo fence. It was really fun to just wander around and look at things - very peaceful and relaxing. I am going to try the onsen some day - as soon as I can get a friend to come with me...I'm too scared to be naked in front of a bunch of naked Japanese women all by myself. I guess Komaki Onsen is a very famous resort the people come too from all over Japan. There's a hotel and a whole bunch of buildings we didn't know how to classify. I think I'll want to soak in a hot tub more in the winter anyways so it might be a while before I try it out.
On the way back from the onsen we got lost. Like really lost - like in the middle of suburbia Japan on one way roads in my huge station wagon. We were weaving and winding around in circles for a good ten minutes trying to find civilization again. Their houses are really squished together and none of the streets are named or straight. On top of that there was not a single flat piece of road, it was all really steep hills that I had to navigate on really skinny roads. It was terrifying. But soon we were back on the main drag going towards the base. Just keep following the water towers. P.S. Don't get off the main roads in Misawa, that causes heart attacks. 
Here is the link to the photo album. I've described all the pictures a little better so you get more of a sense of the trip. Misawa Shrine and Komaki Onsen

No comments:

Post a Comment