I did enjoy a leisurely morning reading, watching bad Japanese TV, surfing the internet, and catching up with Mom and Dad on Skype, but when the clock still only read 9:00 am, I had to come up with a plan. The desk clerk had mentioned something about a shrine or temple to me last night so I decided to check it out. According to the map, I could wait for a shuttle bus then walk 20 minutes or just walk 30 minutes from the hotel. The weather was beautiful - clear and about 60 degrees - so I opted to walk.
Only 20 minutes later I arrived at the beginning of what turned out to be the second largest Buddhist temple in all of Japan! Who knew?
The temples and buildings were part of a huge, rambling park set into the hills of Narita. My family gets very bored going to these things, so at this moment, I was glad they weren't with me. I had hours to kill and no one to say they were bored, a beautiful day and acres of grounds to meander.
The history and art of temples and shrines is what fascinates me. Naritasan Shinshoji Temple was founded in 940 so when I look at the level of craftsmanship and skill with the tools available at that time, I can't help but be amazed.
|This is a revolving library.|
The main temple was no doubt the biggest I've seen with these huge ornate gold sculptures hanging from the ceiling. Out of respect, no photos can be taken so you'll just have to imagine it.
But the best part of Naritasan were the grounds, especially around the Great Pagoda of Peace. In front of the Pagoda is a beautiful fountain and courtyard. To my surprise and luck, the cherry blossoms were just coming out! Fanning out further were three small lakes surrounded by cherry trees and other plants and then there were a complex of trails through a forest. At the time, I didn't know it was called the Great Pagoda of Peace, but now I know that I can say it was appropriately named. I could have stayed here a long time except my stomach was rumbling and a flight time was approaching and that forced me back to reality.
So the moral of the story is that some times a bad thing can lead to a really nice thing, if you're willing to be adventurous!