On Friday we had time in the morning to shop and visit sites on our own. Several of us traveled to Yamazaki and visited the Yamazaki Distillery. Following the distillery we met up with the rest of our group at the Osaka Castle. We visited the site on Osaka grounds where Rennyo Shonin hung his robe to establish the Honganji in Osaka. Friend Chisa Matsunaga took us to a wonderful robatayaki in Osaka.
Today (Thursday) we visited Ohara and the Jikko-ji temple and Sanzen-in. Beautiful and quiet part of Kyoto. Jikko-in is a temple founded in 600 as a nunnery. Sanzen-in established by Saisho in 986.
We spent the Wednesday in Kyoto visiting Otani Hombyo the burial site of Shinran Shonin. We also had a wonderful tour of Honganji by Tabitha Kobata and then a great dinner at Spring Valley Brewery. We ran into Jimmy Matsuki from Mountain View who joined us for dinner.
Yesterday we traveled by bullet train to Kyoto, had a visit to bamboo gardens in Arashiyama where we ran into John and Lois Arao! We visited Tenryu-ji and then returned to the train station where we had a great Tonkatsu dinner at Katsukura.
Today we had a wonderful trip to Mt. Fuji. We had a wonderful view of Fuji-San today. Tomorrow we travel to Kyoto!
Yesterday we traveled from Tokyo to Kamakura. We traveled near Sagami bay on the Pacific Ocean side of Japan and had some great views of Fuji-san. We visited Hasedera in Kamakura. The story is that twin statues were made of kannon bosatsu the bodhisatva in Nara. One statue was lost and ended up on the shores of Kamakura. The statue was covered in oysters, recovered and Hasedera was built to house the gold statue. Inside the adjoining cave I lite a candle to Amida Buddha. Namoamidabutsu. BTW I also lite a candle to the statue of the god of sake.
Today we visited the Great Buddha of Kamakura a testament to the faith in Amida Buddha. Mount Fujii was showing herself in all her splendor today. We settled into Hakone at our inn and enjoyed the onsen and a great kaiseki dinner.
Yesterday we visited the Tokyo Dome home of the Yomuri Giants. There was no game but a JPop concert. We visited the Hall of Fame and did some shopping. We then traveled to Meiji Shrine dedicated to Emperor Meiji (1852-1912) the 122nd emperor of Japan.
We got to experience a packed train today. We took a trip to Tsukiji Fish Market. This market will be changing with many of the places we visited closing in the next year to make way for the 2020 Olympics. We saw $10.00 baskets of strawberries that reminded us of our friends in Watsonville. In the midst of the bustling Tsukiji Market was a small Jodoshinshu temple Ensho-ji. And we ran into some of Japan’s most famous icons: Godzilla (my favorite); Hello Kitty; Gundam