It was quite apt that I visited this shrine as I was suffering with a painful foot injury not that the walk to and from it will have helped at all! Those of a squeamish nature should probably skip ahead to the next paragraph! Just a couple of days before this day trip to Gunma Prefecture I stubbed my big toe and cracked it’s nail a bit which in turn led to me picking at it and subsequently tearing off a bit too much. This then resulted in walking in a strange way and putting extra pressure on my calf muscles as I tried to ease pressure on my toe.
Once I was done at the buddha statue made up of 20,000 insects, I took another bus for just under ten minutes to try and track down this shrine (Akoudacho, Tatebayashi) with a difference. It was around a dozen minutes on foot and not so surprisingly was completely devoid of any other people.
Whilst regular shrines possess wooden plaques known as ema, this place had metallic sandal-shaped ones for visitors to write their wishes on with the idea being that they relate to having healthy feet. It costs ¥500 to purchase one.
The shrine was absolutely plastered with them and the shiny reflections coming off them did add something to the feel of the place.
From there I hobbled on to my final destination which was located within Tsutsujigaoka Park (3278 Hanayamacho, Tatebayashi) which is about 20 minutes away on foot! This park is a big attraction in itself, especially during the Spring when over 10,000 azaleas are in bloom. However, I was there to try and find something far less pleasing on the eye.
Sugar Hill Cafe is a prominent part of the park and all I knew was that there was a huge Frankenstein head somewhere near it. However, after walking around the area for a fair bit I just could not see it anyway. Just past the cafe was some kind of park office so I asked there and thankfully someone knew and in typical Japanese hospitality he escorted me to the place which was about five minutes walk north-east of the park. It really would’ve been impossible to have found it without him so I was extremely grateful.
The blue building was originally a haunted house before closing down to the number of visitors dwindling. Once upon a time there were some other remains of the haunted house but now all that can be seen is this Frankenstein head. Everyone else wandering through the park or the backstreets and lanes to the side of it, seemed completely oblivious to the existence of this monster face. For the record, there is nothing else in the warehouse!
It was actually a very picturesque park but I didn’t hang about for too long as I was keen to get back to the Tokyo Fox Global Operations Centre.
A bit further down the road en-route to Tatebayashi Station was this interesting looking building (below) which I later found out was the Mukai Chiaki Children’s Science Museum.
Due to my foot injury, I didn’t really want to walk back but it would’ve taken a lot longer had I waited for the bus. Luckily, I didn’t have anything planned for the following day so could rest my foot ahead of my trip to Fukushima and Yamagata Prefectures the day after that.
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