The majority of Japanese people are buddhists..
Anyway, this ancient temple was so big and beautiful made of wood.
Some info I looked up: Zenkouji is a non-sectarian temple whose religious leaders (a priest and a priestess) share the responsibility for rituals. It is not affiliated with any one particular sect of Buddhism so all are welcome, regardless of gender, creed or religious belief (for this reason, amongst others, the temple was a centerpiece during the 1998 Winter Olympics). Its hidden image is the focus that transcends idol worship, howsoever the faith is practised here.
This is the guard at the gate...if everyone is accepted, his services might not be needed, but he is one good looking figure! Such nicely carved muscles!!.. :-)
After visiting the temple, Midori wants to show me her favorite ice cream shop.. we order Green Tea Ice cream. As a long time lover of green tea, I'm in!
Next we are off to Soba noodle shop. I love Soba noodles, and I cook with them often in Australia. Here they make the noodles in the window and then we went in for lunch.
Midori explains the Japanese favorite soba style is to eat it cold.. the waitress looks at me and explains to Midori in Japanese that most foreigners don't like soba cold, so Midori asks me if I prefer hot soba. I told her I want to experience culture competely and by doing that I want to eat what she eats!
Cold soba it is!! And I liked it!! It comes on the bamboo strainers, and Midori teaches me the best way to eat it. A little side dish with onion and wasabi, you add to you soy sauce. Then dip the soba in the mixture, and more or less slurp it into your mouth..
But wait, there's more!!
On our way back to the car, Midori wants me to try one more thing. On the way out from the temple, there is a little side building where many Japanese people were sitting. We decide to have a taste of what they are selling, and it is a really yummy fermented rice drink, with a side of tea.
How I made room to fit that in too I don't know, but we did it..
A real authentic taste of Japanese food... thank you Midori!! I have been here a few days, and even though most restaurants have pictures of what to order, I still don't know what it is, so I tend to go back to my tuna or egg sandwich for 2 bucks at the 7/11 shop.
Now I can order my food with confidence!!
Next we stop by Midori's parents house.. What a lovely couple! As soon as we arrive, her Dad is speaking away to me in Japanese, I don't understand a word of coarse, and he gets up and takes us over to his game table. I'm not sure if he was asking if I know how or want to play? But then his wife came over and it was game on..
Midori explains that she is glad they play this game as it is good exercise for the brain power.. they also make hand painted greeting cards and origami. We didn't stay long, but they so kindly gave me lots of Japanese treats. Hand made cloth sandals from Dad, a red cow good luck charm I wear on my belt, and another red cow origami from Mom.. I am getting a full experience of Japanese culture and truly loving their lifestyle!
Last major Japanese experience of the day, I do not have photos to show you... sorry, but we were naked!!!
She took me to a Japanese Bath House with hot springs.. very common all through Japan, being such a volcanic area.
So after a long hot day, a good soak in the spring water does my body good...
After the bath it's out for another meal to Hiroyuki's favorite sushi restaurant. I did not grow up on fish, and raw fish is a challenge for me, but I did try one as promised..
Luckily they make a nice salad and vegetables.. I was okay with raw fish, but one was enough.. and after that huge lunch today, Sherri Jo is well fed by the Nagahara family! We fit a lot of authentic Japanese culture into one day, I am amazed how gracious they are to show me so so much! Thank you for the experience!