The last day arrived way to fast. I had the train booked back to Tokyo at 3pm and the flight back home at 8pm. Soo, plenty of time to get a full day of sight-seeing in. Right?
Since I had since recovered almost entirely from my foot and the jet lag, I was motivated to hop on the bus and visit yet another temple. The Nanzen-Ji temple that i had missed on my first day due to left-righ-issues. It was a good decision, even if I had seen plenty of other temples over the last four days, this temple from the 13th century, is still very nice. The “highly recommended” little shrine at a source a bit up in the mountains, turned out to be totally oversold. But the path up was quite cute and I was happy to have gone, even though not particularly because of the shrine. It showed me, once again, that the Japanese have a very relaxed relationship to their old holy buildings. Resting their red plastic shovel, against an old lantern or leaving the blue plastic bucket in the moss covered fountain. Another “first” for me were the steaming roofs. Due to the rain the night before, the roofs were completely soaked and the sun hitting them now, made steam rise into the air. At first I was a bit concerned, but I quickly realised that it must be normal.
The next visit was going to be a temple I had already seen. The Yasuka-shrine. The previous evening we had had dinner at a very lovely, small, Japanese bar with great staff and customers who wanted us to experience as much Japanese culture as we possibly could. They started by serving us Ginko nuts. They were delicious! Finally something these smelly trees are good for.
Then they told us, that the next day was culture day. That’s right. Japan has a national holiday that promotes culture, the arts and academics. I think that’s awesome. In honor of this day, there would be plenty of cultural activities throughout the city and, in particular, there would be a traditional dance on the plaza of the yasuka shrine at noon. I couldn’t miss that!
So I was on my way to the Yasuka-shrine and I was running late. Almost 20 minutes and I was starting to worry that I would miss the spectacle. But the most incredible thing happened (for Japan) and the presentation ran late! I arrived at half past noon, just in time to see the celebration start. Of course, I had to stand at the back and I was a bit sad about that, because I wasn’t sure I would get a good look. Until I realised that I had a completely clear line of sight..
Sometimes it’s good to be tall!
The national holiday also brought out the beautiful kimonos, of course, and a lot of street food. One last chance to try octopus on a stick, the fish shaped pastries and the little balls filled with octopus. I wanted to try it all, but I couldn’t possibly eat more.
A bit sad, but also very satisfied with all I had seen and lived, I boarded the bullet train and started my way home.