Today too, I would like to take you to one of the places that I always discover along the way during my regular tours. Sometimes it's pure coincidence, the other times a little hint is enough to bring a little variety into my everyday life.
That' s the case with our discovery today, the Nakayama-Jinja 中山神社. Nakayama means "in the middle of the mountain", and Jinja is the Japanese word for shrine, so I was on my way to a shrine in the middle of mountain, or better in the forest. But in the end I didn't need to walk that far, and the starting point for my exploration was right next to a side street in a small village.
Lately, I try to get to know a little more of my immediate surroundings and I use every opportunity which comes along. And here in Japan this includes a lot of temples and shrines, which always attract and fascinate me because of their unique atmosphere.
So today it was once again a shrine, located at the edge of the forest, but the access was from a small settlement. Between two gardens I found this Tori, the shrine gate, which quickly indicated to me that I was on the right track.
So here we go, let's take a look together at what lies ahead....
As soon as we passed through the gate, we could see that we were about to enter the dense green of the forest and noise and stress would not accompany us there. I was already very much looking forward, to an eternal relaxation but also to a little stimulation for my sould, I could already feel such a mystical sensation in the air.
The first steps in the forest showed me right away that I would probably not get lost. The path was clear and my mood got even better with every step.
After the first turn I saw a similar picture, only that the stairs became longer and longer and seemed to have no end. Exactly as I had wanted it, next to mighty cedar trees I could only hear the silence and the occasional rustling of the forest. Simply wonderful, and so I stepped slowly but determinedly further and further upwards and breathed in deeply the smell of the forest.
In Shintoism, gods are sometimes found in trees, springs, or even mountains. This very Japanese religion is closely connected with nature, but this does not mean that it is a purely natural religion. The Japanese emperor is traditionally the head of Shintoism, which was therefore also instituionalized to a certain degree, but fortunately we were far from that here in the forest.
A small memorial site for those killed in the war was a little off the trail. Shintoism was closely connected with nationalism here in Japan at the beginning of the last century, which unfortunately did not lead only to the good. The people remembered here, however, can not be blamed for this, others have to take the responsibility.
A little pause, a deep breath and a reflection full of gratitude for what is important - and then I went on my way with calm steps.
And then we almost arrived at the shrine. Two guardian demons and two huge cedars lined the last section of the path, it is exactly these images that always make me want to find and walk in such places.
The shrine itself was rather simple, but that's exactly what I had hoped for and expected. Anything else would also be inappropriate and would not fit here.
Only this poster pointed out that other people come by here from time to time.
がんばろう日本！ Ganbarou Nihon
A little cheering and rooting for the country can be found in many places in Japan. Sometimes more and sometimes less appropriate, but here in the middle of the forest not necessarily at the wrong place.
Of course I also looked behind the shrine building, since I'm already here, I don't want to miss anything.Of course you have to be careful here in the forest, cause as it is always so wet and humidity here in Japan you will find lots of insects everwhere. On the ground and in the air and also on the trees. And I don't really want to run through a spider's web over and over again, especially in autumn there are a lot of them to avoid.
There were even some outbuildings, in one of these should be a Mikoshi, a portable shrine, which is carried during Shinto processions down the mountain through the village. Unfortunately it was not possible to take a look inside the buildings.
The whole complex must have been built a long time ago, even the guardan dogs here have already put on a decent layer of moss and they are also slightly weathered. But this does not diminish the charm of this temple, quite the opposite I would say.
Even here in the forest on the mountain you can still find some stone lanterns, which are not only found at Shinto shrines, but also at Buddhist temples. On special occasions, these are illuminated, which probably makes a very big impression here in the forest. I would really like to experience that once.
The way back was invigorating as well, as it offered a similar picture as shortly before on my way up. Mighty trees and fresh dense greenery lined the stairs down, where I strode down full of new energy. I still had a little work ahead of me, but that really didn't bother me after this round through the forest right now.
Out of the forest I went back into the ending day, and I was glad to have made this little detour, to a place that probably most people in our area had not yet visited. Blame yourself - that's all I can say, but don't worry, as I'm going to tell you all about it, so maybe you can stop by here on the next occasion. Relaxing and uplifting at the same time, body and soul can take a little break here and then tackle the next tasks with fresh momentum.
That was our little round to the Nakayama shrine, I hope while checking out this post you were able to find a little break from everyday life. I enjoy showing you what fascinates me so much here in Japan. I'll be back soon with new pictures and impressions from the land of the rising sun, but for today I will say goodbye and vanish into the evening.
[//]:# (!pinmapple 37.730785 lat 139.133464 long 中山神社 Nakayama-Jinja - A shrine deep in the forest d3scr)