April 23rd

Today was a very long but really amazing day. I took the train to Shiogama early in the morning to watch a Shrine Festival there. As I got out of the train, I already saw some street stores and kids’ attractions of a street festival. They had many different things here. For kids and families and everyone to enjoy (for example they made a huge sushi roll together) and they also sold a lot of food.

But I didn’t stop here and walked on to the Shrine instead. I didn’t really know when or where exactly the festival would be, so I hoped to get to the right place somehow.
Arriving at the Shrine, I found many people dressed in formal or traditional clothes and also many children who took part in this. So, I decided to just stay there and wait with them. But nothing happened for more than one hour. Then, finally, all the white dressed people walked to another place and I just followed them.
Here were some small attractions like a music show. The white-people walked into a house, came back out, prayed and then walked back. I just followed them back. Now more than two hours had passed. I met someone here who is from Germany, too. I was very happy about that and we talked a lot while we were waiting for something to happen. After one more hour all the people moved to the portable (or not so portable since heavy) Shrine. Now more and more people gathered all around us and we were happy to have such a good viewing spot. After waiting even longer, it finally started. They introduced several people, did some ceremonial acts and then many white dressed guys lifted the heavy Shrine and showed it around before walking down the 202 STAIRS! They fucking moved down so many stairs with that huge and heavy Shrine! It was amazing to watch and when they arrived at the ground, everyone was applauding.

Then all of the traditionally dressed persons started to walk around the town like a parade. And the people in white carried the Shrine with them until they got back to the Shrine area. Here they had to get that thing back up the stairs again, but I didn’t watch this.
I had moved to the street festival with my new friend. We tried some of the food there (pink chocolate bananas and blue chocolate strawberries as well as natto sushi).
We talked a lot and enjoyed the time we spend together.

In the afternoon, I had to move on, because I wanted to take a sightseeing boat through Matsushima bay to Matsushima and walk around here as well. So, I did and I arrived there when the sun was already going down. I walked to Godai-do Temple, which was on one of the many islands in Matsushima Bay. It was really cute and pretty.
My next stop was Fukuurajima island. It is one of the larger islands in this bay and has a natural botanical garden on it. I walked around here for half an hour, enjoying the trees and the nature in general. I also got down to a small beach where no one was but me. It was amazing. Plus the way down there seemed like a little adventure track, so I enjoyed it even more. Then I continued my round trip and got to see even more of the amazing sea and islands all around.
On this island there is a small park with many beautiful sakura trees in it, so I got to take a look at these, too. It was amazing! I simply love these beautiful places where I can enjoy nature and pretend like there’s nothing around.

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But I had to move on fast to get to the Zuiganji-Temple. I had to pay an entrance fee of 700 yen but with this I could also enter the Museum and have a look into the kitchen as well as walking around inside the temple (both the kitchen and the temple are national treasures). The temple was simply beautiful! The fusuma (those paper doors used in traditional Japanese houses) were coated with gold and then hand-painted by very famous painters of the era of DATE Masamune (Edo Period, 800 years ago).

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When I continued to the next temple, I found it to be closed. Because of this, I didn’t even approach the tea house I wanted to visit and only walked the long way to Saigyo Modoshi no Matsu Park, from which I had an amazing view at the bay as well as at several sakura trees there. It was stunning. Breathtaking. Amazing.

Way too soon the sun had faded and I walked back to the station to take my train back to Sendai and then walk to my hotel.

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