I freaking love this place
21.01.2020 - 21.01.2020 5 °C
First stop today is Myouryuji Temple. Simply known as the Ninja dera !....today’s history lesson......the temple was built in 1643 in the Edo Period. The Shogun at the time, built many temples and fortified them so that if someone was going to attack, they had vantage points and places to hide warriors. At the time buildings were only allowed to be 2 stories high, so this Temple has 2 stories visible from the outside, but inside it is actually 4 stories with 7 levels......23 rooms and 29 staircases!! It was simply amazing! Probably one of our highlights! In 1162, a fallen samurai decided not to kill himself as was the custom of the times, but rather spend his retirement forming the country’s first ninja school, the Togakureryu. Between 1336 and 1600 the ninja culture peaked. Those times were defined by constant wars, so ninja skills were a plus for survival. Most ninja were not disgraced samurai , but seemingly ordinary peasants and farmers who learned the ninja art as a way of protecting their property. Women also became ninja, or kunoichi, and infiltrated enemy strongholds in the guise of dancers, concubines or servants where they would carry out assassinations or gather information. Starting in 1603, Japan’s stable and peaceful Edo period made ninja skills less important. The practice began dying out, but the art “ninjitsu” continued. There remains one man in Japan today who is believed to be the last real ninja left. He was to sought from the age of 6 by his father and studied chemistry, weather and psychology in addition to the physical training.
So there you have it.........less Bruce Lee and more lower class skills that came to be. Samurai were sworn to allegiance until death, usually by their own hand if needed whereas ninja were able to work for various people.
Anyhoo, back to our temple........, there were trick staircases ( two doors, looking the same) slide one stairs go up, slight right stairs go down, hidden stairs behind everything, a tunnel off the well that is said to lead underground to Kanazawa Castle, light stairs- the back of the main stairs from outside had shoji ( the white paper) so if enemies approached the guards saw their shadows and speared their feet or knew they were sneaking inside! It really was well worth the visit! I think Jack wanted to stay!
It was a rainy day so next we went to look at Kenrokuen Garden, which is listed as one of the best Japanese gardens in Japan, and it is! Even if you aren’t into gardens, the lay out, the ponds, streams, perfectly manicured trees are magnificent. We couldn’t work out why some had rope trees attached......it is so that when the snow falls, the weight of the snow doesn’t break the branches on the trees. The garden was started in 1676.......just imagine what some of these trees have seen? The changes in people, way of life, good and bad , hard to imagine! Even Jack enjoyed it........he actually loves history and the like so is a great little ( or not so little) traveller to have around! We also noticed that sometimes his sense of direction is better then ours!
Walking back to the markets we pass another Temple, Ishiura Jinja Shrine. It had rabbit like pictures of a cartoony thing everywhere! It turns out it is a fictional figure called Kima chan- it is the oldest temple in Kanazawa, built around 1500 years ago! It is said that this Temple grants you the wish of your soulmate so is very popular with girls! It was very kawaii ( cute!)
Off for more curry udon and then the boys went wandering and Judy and I went to visit the Higashi Chaya area, once an area that houses geiko and maiko ( and still does!) there are beautiful tea houses and all kinds of cool stuff.....first up we find little sweets filled with matcha flavoured soy beans....like pancakes on the outside sandwiching the filling! Worth the 10 minute wait! Then we find a sake tasting shop.........yup! Sake acquired and off to explore more!
We went back for a rest and then dinner, yet again! This is the Machiya we stayed in! Totally gorgeous right?