Honshu

Hinomisaki Shrine

Located 8 kilometers north of Izumo Taisha Grand Shrine lies another ancient shrine painted red and encircled by a grove of old pine trees. The vermillion-lacquered Hinomisaki Shrine was built in honor of two sibling deities with a prominent presence in Japanese mythology; Amaterasu, the goddess of the sun, and her younger brother Susano, the god of storms and the sea. Thus, the shrine is divided into two parts – the Upper Shrine (Kami-no-miya) and Sunset Shrine (Hishizumi-no-miya).

The thrilling Tojinbo Cliffs

Tojinbo Cliffs enjoy the dubious distinction of being the most loved suicide spot in Japan. For the wandering souls like me, the enthralling, rugged cliffs eroded by the raging waves of the Sea of Japan combined with the mesmerizing sunset is certainly more than likely to cause skipped heartbeats.

The shrines of Nikko

Today Mani & I visit the temples of Nikko in Tochigi. The vibrant temples at this World Heritage site are strikingly different in appearance from other temples I have witnessed in Japan. The lavishly decorated pillars and other structures are covered in a gold leaves and multitude carvings conveying expressions of religious belief as well as scholarship and philosophy.

An evening along Bandai Bridge

Bandai Bridge is considered as the symbol of Niigata and is one of the city’s most scenic spots, especially at night. After dropping our luggage at the hotel, we walked down to the bridge from the Showa period, lit up like a Christmas tree over the Shinano River. The 1964 quake shattered Niigata, but the arch shaped, stone bridge stood strong among the rubble even as everything around it crumbled.

The ruins of Sannai-Maruyama

We step back in time to the Jomon period at the Sannai-Maruyama Ruins. The ruins in the southwest of Aomori is the largest ruins of a Jomon-period village in Japan. Most of the excavated items have been reburied for preservation, but a few excavation sites and artifacts are on display along with reconstructed dwellings, giving us a sense of the daily life of ancient times.