Day 5 already! Cannot imagine how time flies! After sleeping well at Daisenya Hotel, today we head down to Nagoya for sightseeing. As the trip down to Nagoya takes about 2-3 hours, we stopped by the Park and Rest Area for washroom time and souvenir hunt. We bought the Matcha Potaju or Matcha Potage. Nice for hot soup drink during cold days.
Our first stop at Nagoya was Atsuta Shrine. Atsuta Shrine (熱田神宮, Atsuta Jingū) is one of Shinto's most important shrines. It enshrines the Sun Goddess Amaterasu and stores the sacred sword Kusanagi, which is one of the three imperial regalia. Note, however, that the sword is never displayed to the public.
In the precincts of the shrine is a giant camphor tree around 1,000 years old which is said to have been planted by the saint Kobo-daishi (Kukai), who propagated Buddhism in Japan following Buddhist studies in China.
Ema (絵馬 picture-horse?) are small wooden plaques on which Shinto worshippers write their prayers or wishes. The ema are then left hanging up at the shrine, where the kami (spirits or gods) are believed to receive them. They bear various pictures, often of animals or other Shinto imagery, and many have the word gan'i (願意), meaning "wish", written along the side. In ancient times people would donate horses to the shrines for good favor; over time this was transferred to a wooden plaque with a picture of a horse, and later still to the various wooden plaques sold today for the same purpose.
Ema are sold for various wishes. Common reasons for buying a plaque are for success in work or on exams, marital bliss, to have children, and health. Some shrines specialize in certain types of these plaques, and the larger shrines may offer more than one. Sales of ema help support the shrine financially.
As we have some extra time, we decided to bring forward our Nagoya's second day tour, Tsuruma Park. Tsuruma Park, established in 1909, is a compromise between Japanese and Western styles. Its west area is a Western style park with fountain tower, big flower bed and rose garden. Its east area is a Japanese-style garden with a calamus garden. About 1,200 cherry blossom trees attract visitors in April, and festivals are held, including an azalea festival, rose festival and calamus festival. The park, with Nagoya City Public Hall, a library and a playground, is a place for citizens to relax.
Personally I like this type of sidare sakura (Drociloping Cherry Blossom).
After relaxing at Tsuruma Park, upon popular requests, we have our Additional Tour to Nagoya Aeon to buy souvenirs and Anello bags!!
At night after dinner, we went for our Additional Night Out tour to see Nagoya Station and to buy souvenirs and medical plasters.
On the way to the Nagoya Station, we saw these beautiful tiles on the pathway.
Seems like the 78 pieces are bigger and better to use.