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Japan Travels

Visit to Rurikō-ji Temple

April 2, 2012

Update 1: my sleeping schedule seems to have righted itself! I slept in all the way until 7am this morning! Woop!

Update 2: I’ve started playing around with HDR, as seen in the photo of the pagoda taken at Rurikō-ji, above.  I’ve seen a lot of ugly HDR, enough to almost dissuade me from trying it, but I figured I couldn’t knock it until I’d tried it.  I didn’t think this was too bad!

Yesterday, a bunch of us foreign exchange students biked up to the Rurikō-ji Temple and Five-Storied Pagoda that is one of the main architectural and religious attractions of Yamaguchi.

There is a steep little street that leads up to the temple gates full of souvenir and sweet shops. If you’re biking, I recommend parking up at the temple gates and then walking back to the shops. It was really hot, and the flavoured ice treats were heaven.

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The pagoda is 31.2 metres high, and was completed in 1442. There is also the main temple located further within the complex.  Surrounding the grounds are beautiful zen gardens, lush with plum and sakura trees. Before entering the shrine, it is the buddhist tradition to wash your hands and mouth before entering, at a spring such as the one pictured below. Here’s how it’s supposed to go:

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  1. The wooden ladles are provided so that you may scoop out some of the spring’s water and dump it over your hands.
  2. Then you pour some of the water into your hands to take into your mouth,
  3. You then spit it out (the plants near the foot of the spring were soaked).

Of course, no one having told me this, I messed it up a bit.

First of all, I nearly drank straight from the ladle (which is a no-no. You’re not supposed to touch the bowl of the ladle at all.) Secondly, I spit the water like a cowboy in a 1900s saloon. It’s supposed to be a modest squirt.  I could practically hear the older Japanese around me cringe. Next time, I’ll be sure to be a bit more subtle with my cleansing.

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All these little Buddhas with orange caps reminded me of a play my boyfriend had recently written and toured across Canada, Little Dickie Milburn.  It’s like there were tiny Dickies everywhere.

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The shrine and gardens were absolutely beautiful, and very peaceful. There was even a cute couple having their wedding photos done there.

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Seeing the photographer and assistant/mom/family member fuss over the bride for her photos reminded me of so many photoshoots. It was nice to see that shoot etiquette is apparently very similar in Japan.

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Between Rakel and Kei-chan, we have smiles for days!

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Our group of exchange students is incredibly cute. I’m so lucky I wound up with such great people on this exchange!

 

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