Blogger's Note: This post has some adult... "themes" in it. But if you can get past the conservative American in you, you'll realize that the "themes" can be found on the side of a rural Japanese road in plain view. We just happened to stop and get a better view of the, ahem, "themes."
|Motonosumi Inari Shrine|
Gwen and I have like minds: She decided to throw in a "surprise" stop and really kick the day trip off right with the Mara Kannon Shrine in Tawarayama (warning: this is the "adult theme" part):
Looks like your average roadside shrine... until you get a closer look, starting with the "welcome" sign:
And then walk up the hill to the shrine:
|I like how they are all the same size... no pissing contests... LOL.|
|Don't ask... (but I'm still telling)|
|Yes... yes I did.|
If you click on the photo above, you can get a summary of the story behind the shrine. Essentially, some poor guy ended up... "theme"-less and so now this place is a fertility shrine. I am not sure how that works, but let's just go with it. And fertility is relative: it can be taken literally, or you can wish for a successful business or plentiful crop. I went with the successful business. And this shrine is not to be confused with the Nagoya Fertility Festival I attended last year.
Once we had our fill of... "theme," it was time to jump back in the vans and head to one of CNN's Most Beautiful Places in Japan: Motonosumi Inari Shrine in Nagato.
|My friend Carolyn... modeling the fact that the torii gates needed a coat of paint.|
|Proof I was there...|
|Look, Ma, no handrails...|
Next up: Omijima Boat Tour. For some reason this kind of reminded me of the submarine ride at Disneyland, but I think it was mostly the shape of the boat, but who knows? We never went under water, but if you leave the windows open while the boat is moving, you will get splashed. Luckily, it was a warm, sunny day!
Here are my photos of the "Sea Alps," weird orange tide, and what I jokingly call the sacrificial altar rock. Of course, I am sure these things are explained during the tour, but the tour is all in Japanese. It was kind of fun making up our own names and stories for everything, though...
|"Hungry Rhinoceros Rock" (See... empty belly)|
|"Three-Car Garage Island"|
|"Guarded by Teeth Cave"|
|We got to go inside two or three of the caves. The natural lines on the rock were interesting.|
|I think these are petroglyphs...? Or a really brave grafitti artist was here.|
|We have no idea what was causing these sections of red tide around some of the beaches and caves. We surmised that it could be breeding plankton.|
|Ah, yes, the "Sacrificial Rock Altar." There are ropes tied at the top of this rock... below is a slightly better view...|
|Doesn't it look like something out of the Clash of the Titans? The 1980's version, of course... Japan is the home of Godzilla, after all.|
|More proof I was there...|
So, the only photo I have from the onsen is this:
Of course, I don't have photos of this because photos are not allowed: onsens are public baths and you must be naked to use them. If you're interested in learning more about onsens, you can check out this post. Again, if you can get past the conservative American in you, onsens are incredibly relaxing and I have come to the conclusion that you really can't be great friends with someone until you've sat naked in a pool of hot mineral water with them. However, with this philosophy, I think it may be tough for me to make new friends once I return to the States.