Today is Culture Day here in Japan, which is a national holiday. Tohoku University’s student exchange division offered a day trip to Yamagata and I signed up for that. Yamagata is both the name of the western neighboring prefecture (from Sendai, which is in Miyagi prefecture) and that prefecture’s capital city. Getting there took a one-and-a-half hour trip by bus through Honshu’s central mountains. We got to see some nice landscape on the way. Hint: This is going to be a very picture-heavy post.
Our first stop was a pottery school. This cute little guy was guarding the entrance.
After a short introduction (how to make a plate, cup or bowl and general rules in case we want to make anything else), we were each given a chunk of clay to make something. Of course, the time was too short to get the results properly baked, so we left them at the school with the promise that they would be delivered to us sometime next month. This is what I made, I hope you recognize it. 😉
Close to the pottery school I took this picture of autumn leaves and some berries. I don’t know what those are, but I like the photo. We also got some tea in the pottery school’s shop. 🙂
The next stop was the Yamadera Basho Memorial Museum. Inside, photography was not allowed, so I don’t have pictures of that. Bashō was a very famous Haiku poet. The museum was interesting, but I think I’ll need to learn a lot more Japanese before I can really appreciate Haikus.
We had lunch at a restaurant near the Yamadera temple, which would be the final stop. I think for the European reader the most noteworthy item were the green, ice-cooled noodles.
Apparently, Yamadera is really famous in Japan, and I have to admit that the area is really beautiful. Sadly the weather was cloudy with some drops of rain, which made it difficult to get good photos. An huge part of the time was spent climbing ancient stairs through the forest.
This huge gate marked the entrance to the top area. As you can see, there was still some climbing to do after the gate, and some trees are even higher.
One of the temple buildings near the top:
A tree with beautiful read leaves, standing on the edge of the precipice.
The view of the valley below was magnificent, and I love how the mountain tops in the distance are shrouded in clouds.
As we climbed down, the clouds opened, and we saw a rainbow over the river. A wonderful symbol of God’s faithfulness. 🙂
“If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;
Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”
When we returned to the dorm it was getting dark, but I don’t mind. This was a nice holiday!