Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Finally able to tour the Kintai Bridge area...

I know I've been living in Iwakuni about 7 months, but it's taken me this long to tour the Kintai Bridge area, the bridge being the one that is in the back of our Christmas card picture. The photo looked something like the one below, only had my family's pictured in it, not my mother-in-law, Peggy., and sister-in-law Jill.

For 930 yen, roughly $10, we were going to buy  package that allowed us the cross the bridge twice and then take a ropeway up the mountain to tour Kintai Castle. Unfortunately, the ropeway is closed until Feb. 1, so we toured the area below the castle, where the lords and ladies who ruled the area lived until the 1800's. After walking through a series of greenbelts, moats and fountains that make up Kikko Park, we toured the White Snake Observatory, which Jill wasn't too sure of. She is not a fan of snakes, even rare white ones.

This small building was the entire "observatory," which cost 100 yen each to visit. The White Snake Shrine facility I toured last month was much more impressive.

Being winter, the gardens were not at all beautiful, but there was still a calm serenity about them. This was the koi pond in the Japanese Garden, and it had string strung across it. We contemplated what it might be fore, from tarp support, to a barrier against birds of prey to a net to catch large tree limbs and other debris that might fall in the water. We decided it was probably to keep birds of prey from hunting the koi.

I am not sure who this statue is of, but there is a motion sensor that plays music as you walk by. I assume it is the music written on the stone.

There is a Shinto shrine here, as well, called Kikko Shrine, and Peggy and Jill are pictured in the walkway in front of the shrine. We did not go in.

My father is a big fan of touring cemeteries and reading the headstones, Odd, I know, unless you know my history major and military antique collecting father. Then you begin to understand. So, as we toured the Kikkawa Clan cemetery, where Kikkawa lords and their "legal wives" (that is what it said on the English interpretation of the gravestones... I want to know where the illegal wives are buried), as well as their children, were put to rest from the 1600's to the 1800's, I thought of my father. So, Dad, these pictures are for you.

As with many societies back then, many children died before the age of 4.This was a daughter's grave.

The much larger grave markers of a lord and his legal wife. The translated grave marker is below.

After we toured Kikko Park and the Kikawa Clan Cemetery, we headed off to our reservations at the Wataboshi restaurant. This is a sort of ladies' luncheon place where a single menu is served, and it changes every day. We tried about 14 different things and liked all but a few. We had no idea what we were eating since the menu was in Japanese, but our waitress spoke English and was able to help us out. The most interesting thing: When I peered into a pretty blue bowl and found small tentacles staring at me. Yes, I ate them, they were chewy, but tasted mainly of the tangy dressing that was on them. Jill and I gave the dish a thumbs up. Peggy tried it but couldn't get past the tentacles, so thumbs down for her.

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