Friday, 2 September 2011

Gono line: Fukaura 五能線、青森県、深浦

We stopped at Fukaura mostly for the temple - Engakuji - that is there.  Hiro's mother was keen to visit it.  The town is also home to an impressive art gallery - the gallery itself though is considerably more impressive than the contents.  It's more aptly described as a folk museum with some pictures.  The 300 yen entry fee per person is unlikely to come close to covering the wages of the people who work there.  The rock formations off the coast here were beautiful and made it a very worthwhile place to stop off.

There was no train till after five in the afternoon so we opted to pay a seat reservation fee and take the Shirakami resort  liner.
Fukaura main street

Engaku-ji, Fukaura
This temple apparently has something to do with good luck for your hair.
Perhaps to Hiro's mother's disappointment I wasn't very interested in
paying to have my hair I didn't learn much about it...

It's quite unusual to see Sanskrit so prominently
featured in a temple.
Sanskrit (I presume) carvings on rocks is also unusual.
There wasn't anyone about to ask what the meaning of them is.
This tree is huge. Many hundreds of years old. It's a focal point
of the temple festival - a practice that would have its origins in Shinto
rather than Buddhism.

The town art gallery - an impressive concrete buidling - they must have
a local member with very good connections. It's hard to imagine
the town generating funds to pay the staff let alone the upkeep.

Inside the art gallery  - a display of Japanese farm goods from the not
so distant past.
Tanaka's ryokan - there IS somewhere to stay in Fukaura... information
on accommodation is in short supply and almost non existent in English.

We had a delicious lunch here.  It was one of the few options for eating.
There is not a lot of eating out happening here I suspect.
Hiro's mother was talking to a local lady that we walked passed on our
way to the temple and asked her where we could eat.  She said
she didn't know she hadn't tried any of them. Fair enough.
If I only I had the stamina to cook every meal every day....

Delicious shoga yaki set lunch.


Rurousha said...

I'm reading a book about old Japanese customs and I came across something that made me remember this post.

It probably has nothing to do with shrines, but ... in 1873 the Meiji government issued an order that said women who cut their hair short would be fined between 6.25 sen and 12.5 sen.

The only exception was a widow, who was allowed to cut her hair to show that her womanhood had ended. This widow's cut was called "kiri-sage" (斬下).

So ... maybe hair needed divine protection in the old days! :)

Cecilia said...

Oh no... now I feel like I've jinxed MIL... I hope she hasn't made any connection... (FIL is still quite well, but she takes these things quite seriously.)