The first stop was the White Snake Shrine, (cue "Here I Go Again" or 'Is This Love") which was recently reconstructed, using wood from the lands of the family who is descendants of the original rulers of Iwakuni. The wood is a sort of cedar called hinoki. The very top of the shrine is decorated in actual gold. We were able to take rare photographs inside of the shrine because the shrine's grand opening isn't until Sunday, and the gods have not yet "arrived." The shrine's opening is especially well-timed because the next year in the Chinese New Year is the year of the snake.
|The ceiling of the shrine|
|A view from the entrance of the shrine.|
|A view of the entrance of the shrine|
|This is the altar in the shrine.|
I, on the other hand, take after the Kasal side of the family and my paternal cousins and I enjoy a wide variety of animals. Here I am enjoying a 12-year-old female Iwakuni white snake, who seemed to lik me... She remained posed and very calm while I held her, while she tried to escape many of the other (more nervous) tourists.
|The half-dozen or so white snakes on display get to enjoy a year-round tropical climate,while the hundreds of others in captivity remain outside.|
|This snake skin shed is in the shape of the kanji symbol meaning "happiness." This skin kanji adorns the shrine's brochures and other collateral.|
|The snakes enjoying "Hawaii."|
|White Snake and me.|
|This baby was born in August.|
|There were about 8 rows of cages like this one, plus more around the perimeter of the room.|
|Peeking out the top of his igloo's hole.|
|My lunch tray... I love all the little dishes. I hate for my food to touch!|
|The menu for Dec. 7, 2012. Unfortunately, I cannot read it.|
This to-scale wood plan is on the wall of the warehouse so that if anything needs to be repaired on the bridge, the pieces can be made the right size and shape.
|The black Velcro straps represent steel bindings helping to hold the bridge together.|
|Me on top of the replica bridge.|
|The tour group|
|These are old supports from the bridge.|
|A funny thing: This yellow board on top is called something in Japanese that sounds like "ovary."|
|I was lucky enough to get a scrap piece of wood that was from the asme wood that was used for part of the Kintsai bridge. I plan to do somethings crappy with it once the family and I have a fabulous photo of us in front of the bridge.|