No visit to Japan is complete without a visit to a Shinto Shrine and a Buddhist Temple or two. They are beautiful places, simultaneously serene and peaceful and bustling and crowded. Feasts for the eyes and for the soul.
We started our tour of Japan at Asakusa, at the Asakusa Shrine and the adjacent Senso-Ji Temple. This little guy was guarding the shrine:
At Shinto shrines you can buy a paper fortune. It's a fun thing to do -- you make a donation, shake a can and the paper with your fortune pops out. If you like your fortune, you keep it. If you don't, you tie it on a rack or tree to ensure that it doesn't come true. You have to love that kind of flexibility:
But, I thought, deer? Aggressive? How can that be?
And then I was attacked by a herd of hungry deer, fully expecting to be fed. If you don't comply, they nip you on the backside. Or grab your shirt and pull. Or butt you on the leg. Ask me how I know:
The temple itself was huge. And no deer are allowed in the immediate vicinity, which made it very peaceful:
The temple was huge. There were several other Buddhas:
In Nara, we also visited Kasuga-taisha, known for the bronze lanterns inside the shrine and the stone lanterns lining the paths and walkways of the shrine:
The entrance from the shopping center was full of paper lanterns:
I bought charms at several shrines. They should cover me for prosperity, health, wisdom and safe travel:
Coming next: Museums in Tokyo and Kyoto