We arrived in time to see the Hydrangea Festival in all its glory. This is one of my favorite flowers. The hillside is covered in these glorious blossoms of every hue possible.
When you turn around at the top of the Hydrangea Festival hillside you can see the peaceful bay in the distance.
From my earliest memory this was the icon image of Japan. I was thrilled to be able to see it up close, in person. It has a very serene presence. Originally it was inside a building but that structure was long ago destroyed leaving it to weather the elements alone. Looks pretty good for being outside all these years.
Another Shinto Temple with the requiste hike.
And after your hike, this fellow is all that greets you.
And the wall of wishes.
Interesting to observe that such wishing walls in China are covered in red paper while in Japan it's all white.
Can you tell the difference between a traditional Chinese market street and a Japanese market street?
Rain or shine, a Japanese garden is an oasis of peace. This particular garden surrounds a Tea House where we witnessed a traditional tea ceremony; probably the most over-hyped ceremony in the world.
John and I drank hot water because we don't drink tea, and according to the folks on our tour we lucked out since the tea cermony tea (according to them) tastes like mud. This is apparently a well-known fact because just before the tea is served everyone is given a small piece of candy to suck on to help the unsuspecting tongue endure what is about to come.