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October 26, 2008 - Ise

Very early in the morning Makiko arrived at my hotel to begin our three day travel to Ise, Takayama, and back to Tokyo. We boarded the Japan Rail train to Nagoya, then transfered to a different train that would take us to Ise to visit SAKAI Masami. Masami is a fifth generation netsuke carver from the Masanao family and has been inviting me to visit her for many years.

This collection of photos has been tremendously pared down from the 75 photos that I took this day. There is so much to see here!

Mount Fuji in the distance


I have spared you from having to look at all of the photos that I took while on the train. All of the train rides were very fascinating to me. There is little unused land. Seen from the train were houses and businesses, land for growing crops and gardens, roadways, and very little else but beautiful hills and mountainsides that are not suitable for building upon. Some of the steep hillsides are used for fruit trees and tea bushes. Space is limited so what land there is, is used very intensely.

I was fortunate to catch this view of houses on the edge of a waterway. The JR train moves very fast!


We had a beautiful lunch and are at one of two shrines that we visited on this drizzly day. The forest was beautiful and quiet. We visted two shrines, the outer shrine, and elsewhere, the inner shrine. I believe that the inner shrine is called Jingū. The first part of the pathway to the inner shrine was very lively and colorful, lined with shops of many kinds. We enjoyed visiting many of these establishments, stopping in one to see Masami's netsuke that were on display there.

After leaving the busy area we entered a quiet and darkened forest, winding our way with others, moving towards the shrine to worship. As one walks, the noisy, busy world moves farther away as the trees and mountains offer their enduring peace and beauty.

On the left is Hiroko, Masami's sister, Masami and Makiko on the right. I think that we are on a walk to see the outer shrine in this photo.


On our way, a graceful interplay of roof lines caught my eye.




Stone stairway up to the inner shrine.