Everything about this temple looks pretty much like any other……except for the two six-metre tall red and blue daruma dolls sitting on the wings of the main hall. For those who don’t know, daruma is a traditional Japanese buddhist doll deemed to bring good luck when given as a gift of encouragement. I saw a large one in the far flung western part of Tokyo called Ome a few months ago, and these ones were probably of similar size.
On a Sunday morning back in August, I took the local train for a few hours to Hamamatsu Station having spent the previous night at my in-laws place (on my own) in Izu. It took about three hours to reach Hamamatsu and I quickly hopped (or jumped if you prefer! Reality is that I just stepped on to it of course!) on to the number 16-4 bus (two buses per hour) at bus stop 4 from outside Hamamatsu Station.
It took about 15 minutes and dropped me off right outside the temple where this comedic sign (below) can be seen.
The daruma temple in reality is known as Kokuzo-ji Temple and the address is 1325-1 Nippashicho, Minami-Ku. The place is full of daruma-related paraphernalia, especially inside where many of the lucky charms are on sale. They’re not cheap either!
One of the highlights of this temple was coming across this beautiful dog (below) which was tied on a very long lead and came to me though that was more to lick my sweaty legs rather than wanting to be stroked by me! I didn’t mind though!
I can’t say I was too aware of there being a castle in Hamamatsu until the day before when I was googling things to do in the area. I thought I’d better check it out but I didn’t bother going in this one as I have been through the motions of going in so many now that I don’t get anything out of them apart from a lighter wallet! As with just about every castle in Japan, this is a reconstruction (built in 1958) which is much smaller than the foundation.
As many people know, Japan is the king of vending machines and just about everything can be purchased from them. The vast majority of them are just drinks machines as was this one but it was a little different as it (below) had a range of thirst-quenching banana drinks at just 50 yen a pop! As a banana lover (not a euphemism for anything else!) I was in my element here and the two I tried were delicious.
The ACT Tower Observation building (below) could easily be seen in the distance but I wasn’t too interested in seeing the panoramic views on offer from it’s 45th floor.
I did walk towards it though and took a couple of vaguely interesting pictures (below) en-route. Not sure what the hedge cultivation is supposed to be but it’s pretty mean and scary-looking. A spiral staircase is always an arty-shot to capture.
Hamamatsu Museum of Musical Instruments (below) looked an interesting place but as a man of no musical ability whatsoever I thought that it might all be rather unappreciated by me so I only really passed by. Besides, I really didn’t have too much time as I had to move on late afternoon for what was the main reason for my visit to the area. Subsequently I took the train a couple of stops to Iwata to witness my Kashiawa Reysol boys lose against Jubilo Iwata.
Mishima was basically just a place to sleep as it wasn’t possible to return to my parents-in-law’s house due to the lateness of my arrival in the area. There was a bit of time the next morning to check out a couple of small sights, both relating to dolls which is rather apt given the daruma dolls which headline this post. Across the road from Mishimi Taisha Grand Shrine is tsurubekko (child doll drawing water from a well) and up the road closer to the station was Megumi-no-ko (Megumi and Ko, the name of the dolls).
Click here to read ‘The World’s Longest Wooden Pedestrian Bridge’
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Click here to read ‘Sightseeing In Shizuoka City’
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