Monday, December 8, 2008

Japan Day 5

Our plan for our last day in Japan was pretty simple: get up, wander around Senso-ji temple, grab our bags from the hotel and make our way out to the airport and head home.

First though, our hotel was basically next door to the Bandai HQ, and we planned to pop in to see what it had to offer.

But there was a gigantic queue.

So we wandered on.

The approach to Senso-ji is a sort of elongated market street, with an assortment of gifty type stores and food stalls. We bought some indefinite sweets and bowls of noodles for breakfast.

In contrast to the other tempes we saw, Senso-ji almost seemed like a working temple -- the majority of people seemed to be locals there to worship rather than tourists (whether Japanese or gaijin) there to gawp.

A particular thing of this temple is rubbing the smoke of the incense from the main burner into your skin to ensure good health.

Another is the Nade Botokesan Buddha, which you are supposed to touch to receive good luck.

Some of the rituals seemed to involve extremely cute little children.

This looked a mighty lot like a maypole:

As we were leaving the main complex again, it seemed that the incense on the main burner was burning rather too well.

We spent a while trying fairly unsuccessfully to take a nice self-portrait.

Carefully avoiding Denny's (!)

We found a nice cafe that sold us coffee and a nice sweetened bread thing opposite yet more Bodhisattvas.

We then bought more sweets that were being made in this fantastic automated contraption.

We walked back to the hotel, stopping for a quick hug.

Then got the train back out to the airport, where we we slightly ridiculously early.

To finish, here are some of the funnier signs we saw on our trip.

It was never really an option, but I'm really glad we didn't try to drive in Japan.

To make up for the end of the trip, we had pretty cool views of Ruapehu from our domestic flight from Auckland back to Palmy.

It wasn't all bad though; we badly need some time sleeping in our own bed after all that!

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