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Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.:Photo Trip Reports

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Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

Travel Reporter
Anna Delph(USA)
Carrie Ott(USA)
Uttal-Veroff Benji(USA)
Daniel Alderink(USA)
潘紅婭(China)
Date
October, 18, 2014

Our afternoon was filled with history and good food. We toured a few temples and ever saw a few special things along the way. We were also treated to delicious food at two small, family-owned restaurants.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    After arriving at the Taga station, we bought service map for tours around Taga.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    Dan writes a wish for the gods to answer.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    In front of Taga station, Anna ties her wish to the ropes and hopes that the Shinto gods will answer.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    Dan passes under Taga's famous gates "Kanau-Taga-Mon", which symbolize the strong bonds of marriage. They also promise good luck; he's definitely lucky to be doing a homestay there!

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    At a tiny shop called Hishiya, we learned about "Itokiri-mochi" - a Taga specialty - which this couple had been making their entire lives. The mochi is cut with the string of a musical instrument called a "shamisen".

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    The shop owner told us about all the famous Japanese people who had visited and eaten their delicious mochi.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    The mochi was delicious! Dan thought it was the best mochi he had ever had.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    She made enough for everyone to have seconds, and we got to take some home, too.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    On the walk, we passed an inn (called "Kagirou") that was over 300 years old, still in business.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    We arrived at Taga Taisha, one of Shiga's famous shinto shrines.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    The bridge just past the gate separates the heavenly from the mundane. It's very steep, but we all climbed it and took pictures.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    Before entering the shrine, we purified our hands and mouths in traditional Shinto fashion.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    These paddles have wishes and prayers written on them that are offered up to the gods. They are common at most temples and can be found in many shapes and sizes.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    When you pray at a Shinto shrine, you first toss a donation into the box (typically 5-10 yen), then you bow twice, clap twice, pray, then bow again. The claps alert the gods to your presence, and the money shows your respect.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    While we were there, we were lucky enough to see a wedding procession passing by. Christian-style weddings are very popular in Japan, but some still opt for traditional Shinto and Buddhist ceremonies...

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    We all bought fortunes, or "omikuji." Some of us were luckier than others…

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    In addition to paddles, you can also write your prayers on a stone and leave it at the shrine.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    Han Offers her prayer stone with high hopes!

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    For lunch, we had an assortment of noodle dishes. This is "Nabeyaki-Udon" (udon served in a hot pot).

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    Taga is famous for its soba noodles. We had to do "rock, paper, scissors" to decide who got to eat which. It was delicious!

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    After, we stopped into a small shop for some ice cream. Nope, those aren't oranges… it is in fact puree'd carrots. Don't knock it till ya try it!

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    This was a buddhist temple called Shinyoji, just down the street from Taga Taisha. It has been here for over 500 years.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    The monk in residence taught us about the history of the temple.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    These paintings depictes scenes of Hell and judgment.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    They were very graphic, but very interesting.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    The Buddha in this temple was itself over 1000 years old. It was taken from Taga Taisha during the Meiji restoration, when Buddhism and Shinto were separated, and brought here.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    Carrie pays her respects.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    Our last stop was at a small shrine that was not for the faint of heart, as it mainly depicted the gods of hell. People come here to pray for long life and protection from hell's judgment.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    Outside the shrine, Dan crosses the bamboo bridge to see if he is worthy to make it to the afterlife.

  • Taga’s ancient temples and local cuisine.

    "Taga" literally translates to "much joy," and now we all know why. We had a great time on this trip and hope to return someday!

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Travel Reporter