Monday, May 5, 2014

Yamadera

静けさや岩にしみ入る蝉の声 
Silence, and penetrating into the rocks — the cry of the cicada 
— Matsuo Bashō


Today I visited Yamadera, a very small town in the Tohoku region, and it's temple.  It is famous for being the spot where poet Matsuo Bashō wrote one of his most famous haiku poems.  The temple itself sits atop of a mountain overlooking the town.

You can just see a part of the temple at the very top of the mountain near the centre of this picture.



A closer view.



Kokeshi dolls for sale in a store on the way to the temple entrance.



A little girl painting her own kokeshi doll.


There were a lot of little stores selling various goods and taking advantage of all the tourists visiting the temple.  I stopped to buy a small snack...something I had seen before but had never tried, dango.  Dango is a treat that is made from rice flour and comes in the form of balls on a stick.  The stick of dango I bought came with a touch of hot mustard on each ball.

Other than the initial taste of hot mustard (which disappeared quickly) there was absolutely no taste to these at all.  They were also very, very chewy...like a rubber ball.   I saw a lot of people eating them, especially a lot of kids, but I'm not sure what it is about these that appeals to people.  A rubber ball probably has more flavour.



The start of the one thousand steps to the top.




The first temple after less than 100 steps.



Statues of Bashō along the way.




More stairs to go.





Almost there.



Made it.







The viewing platform.



The view was worth the climb but too bad it was clouded over and threatening to rain.



Heading back down.






The mountain top temple buildings.