Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Toyohira, Hiroshima

48 Hours. 26 of 600

This is the draincover for the town of Toyohira, now a part of Kitahiroshima in western Hiroshima Prefecture. It's a picture of buckwheat, soba in Japanese, and one can presume that its a major crop in the area. We were driving through the area on Route 433 heading across country on back roads towards Kyushu.

48 Hours. 22 of 600

As is usual, whenever we spy a torii we stop so I can explore the shrine. There was nothing of particular note at this shrine in Shijihara village except the biggest plastic shimenawa I've ever seen.

48 Hours. 29 of 600

However, on the way into the shrine we spied a thatched roof nearby that turns out to be the only remaining thatched roof temple gate in Hiroshima.

48 Hours. 33 of 600

The temple, Jodo-ji, was fairly large with a good collection of carvings and statues, dragons etc. The priests wife came out to greet us and then spent an hour taking us around the temple.

48 Hours. 46 of 600

The gardens on 3 sides of the temple property were extensive and rather nice. I remember thinking that if this was in Kyoto there would have been a hefty entrance fee, but we were getting a free guided tour. The gardens were not built by anyone famous, just 15 generations of the temple priests.

48 Hours. 42 of 600

The roof of the main hall was impressively large. I always feel pleased with myself whenever I'm off exploring the backroads and discover something really nice, and I was really chuffed with having discovered this place. But there was more, the priests wife beckoned us to follow and she took us behind the temple to a spot where a BBC film crew had spent 3 months making a documentary, for here was a breeding spot of a rare, threatened creature, the worlds second-largest Salamander, the Japanese Giant salamander

48 Hours. 51 of 600

They had a craft workshop where kids from all over come and make models of the salamander and learn about it's ecology and why it's threatened with extinction. I'll post more about this creature later as it can be found in our local river.

So, a brief stop to check out a shrine turned into a pleasant 2 hours with history, art, gardens, and ecology, all for free!!

4 comments:

  1. Sounds like a terrific stop!Thanks for sharing.

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  2. You wouldn't happen to have the address / Google Maps location of the shrine, right? I'd love to add it to my "must see" list.

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  3. Ah... Found the address, but Google Maps doesn't find a location for it... *shrug* I -think- I've found it on the map (it's right off the road, yes?), but I'm not sure :)

    http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/arrange/attractions/facilities/shrines_temples/83dn3a000000ejle.html

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  4. Hi Cailin,
    the link you have is to a different Jodo-ji. There are more than a dozen Jodo-ji's in Hiroshima.
    I dont know how to mark a google map,.. I should learn :)
    The temple is in the middle of nowhere, maybe a local bus a few times a day. Its located in the village of Shijihara on Route 433, NW of Hiroshima City.

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