Temple Pilgrimage

My Japanese coworkers have told me about a nice temple/shrine that is off in Sakurai. I came here once before looking for it, but never ended up finding it. A friend and I wanted to go take pictures and we ended up back in Sakurai so we went on a search. There was a huge Torii gate that I had seen a couple times on the train so I figured that must be the location. Turns out it was.

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That being said we didn’t go there directly. We went to the gate, but it was a little separated from the actual shrine area. It worked out well though because we found a really pretty area that had a small river flowing that was lined with gorgeous sakura trees. The cherry blossoms had just sprung about a few days before so we both wanted to get some good spring pictures. This location turned out gorgeous. It wasn’t our originally goal, but I am glad we ended up there.

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We took our time wandering around that area then headed off back towards the actual shrine. Thanks to google maps we found it and made our way there. There were a few food stalls leading up the path to the shrine. Once inside there was a decent amount of people. The area was inside a beautiful forest filled area of town. We wondered, we took pictures, we kept moving. The entire walk cycle was a little pilgrimage to other shrines that were pretty close by. We found a beautiful hill that was covered in plum blossoms and cherry blossoms. It had drawn quite the crowd and for good reason. We could look out over the area from the top while also being surrounded by beautiful pink petals. The path circled down the hill and through a small bamboo forest. It was a beautiful exit from the shrine.

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We bought some takoyaki (breaded dough balls with octopus inside) and sat down for a rest. Right in front of us a small parade of sorts moved through heading back towards the shrine. There were hundreds of people in costume and even people riding horses. I am not sure what the occasion was but it was cool to watch. That went on for around 10 minutes then we continued to look at the food stalls. There was one selling dried fruit right next to us. I freakin love dried fruit so I bought a ton. They had oranges, strawberries, mango, blueberries, ginger and a bunch others. The strawberries there were honestly a different level from what I have had before. I would love to know how they make the fruit like that. Next stop was right before the station to head home. Got some cherry blossom flavored ice cream and enjoyed the quiet atmosphere of the town.

Spring is defiantly one of my favorite seasons. It is so nice to have some warmth back in my life and I love to see the plants coming back as well. Everywhere just becomes so much livelier. Thanks for reading, peace.

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