I opened my eyes at 7 am at the Taizando farmhouse which is run by Mr and Mrs. Fujii. I had a nice Japanese dinner with Mr and Mrs. Fujii and their son the night before. They are very nice people. The food and the local-brew Japanese sake here tastes great.
I put on a warm jacket and started my morning walk around the farmhouse with a camera. The rice paddy, the misty mountains, the tress and the rising sun create a beautiful view. It is so peaceful around the house.
For about an hour, I enjoyed walking around the Taizando farmhouse. After I got back, I had homemade Japanese breakfast which consisted of salty grilled salmon, fresh vegetables, miso soup and homemade rice. It was a happy start to the day.
I visited the Kinpo shrine on a sunny morning in late autumn. I told my guide that I was not interested in visiting the tourist areas or famous restaurants and izakayas. I wanted to visit a quiet place where the locals go. My guide gave me a few suggestions. I decided to visit the Kinpo shrine, because it is not widely known. My guide told me that the Kinpo shrine is the treasure of the town and its ground is fully covered in deep green moss. Apparently, he has visited the shrine many times but it is usually very empty.
This shrine is worth visiting. Quiet and peaceful spaces like this help me clear my mind.
My guide and I visited the shrine. During our walk to the entrance of the shrine which took about 10 minutes, we did not encounter anyone and saw no cars or bikes. We parked the car in the big parking lot. When I opened the door and stepped out, I felt the moisture and the thickness of the green moss.
At the entrance, you will see a wooden gate. Through the rectangular opening, you can see the the steps made out of stone that are fully covered in thick and wet moss. There are many tall, straight cedar trees in the area. I peeked inside the shrine but it was empty. The shrine was a private place for the God and myself.
When you look up to the wooden gate, you will find 2 human-shaped creatures watching you. On the horizontal wooden bar, there is an engraving of a cloud. There is also the Shine-nawa, which is the sacred straw ropes with Shide, that are folded with white paper hanging down.
After about a 20 minute walk from the gate, I saw the main shrine. I felt welcomed. I cleaned my hands and mouth with pure water and stepped up to the main shrine. It was so quiet.
A pair of Komainu guardian dogs stand in front of the main shrine. One of Komainu looked like it was smiling at me.
The wooden shrine was so inspiring and it purified me. Kinpo shrine is worth visiting if you want to feel the Japanese culture. Because this shrine is very quiet, you will not meet anybody. You can experience the shrine without any disturbance.
For your information
Name of shrine : Kinpo Shrine
Address : Tazawakoumeza, Senboku-shi, Akita, Japan
Access: from Kakunodate JR Station, take Taxi about 15 min.
Question: Please mail to firstname.lastname@example.org (Tazawako Tourism Information Center）
Related information : http://www.city.semboku.akita.jp/en/sightseeing/spot/05_kinpou.html
Photograph and text by meguru hayata