Monday, August 23, 2010

Obon Summer Vacation

A few weeks ago was the Japanese holiday called Obon Week. Obon is a Buddist custom to honor the spirits of loved ones that have past away. It's been celebrated for more that 500 years in Japan, and usually it involves a week off. Most companies are closed and no school. Myself, had no work for a week and went to Iwate with my Japanese friend who asked if I wanted to come visit her place. I have never been up north of Japan so I said sure. We met in Tokyo station, which is one of the most confusing stations in the world. Well one of the most busy in Japan at least. I think it took me over 40 mins to find my way to the bus area.

We took the night bus and it took 7.5 hours to get from Tokyo to Morioka, Iwate. As must as I would have liked to slept the whole way, I am unlucky to say that I didn't and that I have longer legs than Japanese people.
 We arrived in the early morning and Yayoi had her mother pick us up and took us back to their place which was a good 40 min drive from the main station. As we arrived we were greeted with a typical style of Japanese breakfast of rice, miso soup, egg and fish. It was delicious.

But there was no time to waste and jumped in the car and off on a drive through mountains and a sea of green trees. Finally 2 hours later, and a few quick naps in the car we arrived at Ryusendo. Ryusendo is one of the three largest underground limestone caves in Japan with lakes underground as deep at 98 meters. Outside the caves were tons of typical shops selling souvenirs and food. We grabbed a snack before heading into the caves.

Here is a dragon railing on the bridge to enter the area.
Yayoi and I
At the entrance of the caves with Yayoi and her mother

To cleanse yourself from bad spirits before entering the caves
Toss a few coins in to wish for safety.

Next : Into the Caves....

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