although, i guess it's now my 1001st post, since i didn't get this written up on sunday like i intended...oh well!

on saturday i had the afternoon to myself so i thought i'd go around town and show you places i like. i was a bit ambitious, though, because i still wasn't feeling well and didn't get to every place. stupid cold! it was also really windy and very cloudy so some pics didn't come out very well. but i did visit munakata taisha (the big shrine in town) and then went to the beach for a few minutes.

the shrine is the largest in munakata, and apparently an important one culturally. i just know that they have a beautiful kiku (chrysanthemum) festival in the fall and i get lots of pictures of beautiful flowers. yoshi tells me it's the first shrine to bless cars (!) and i've seen the priest and shrine girls out there shaking paper at cars while the owners bow their heads. very odd to this american girl, but there you go! i always want to take a picture when i see this, but i just can't bring myself to do it. feels intrusive somehow.

there are two huge torii gates leading up to the main gate. this is the second one (it's hard to get a decent shot of the first one.)

main torii (munakata taisha)

then, of course, there's a pond with loads of fat koi, and a small bridge.

tree reflection

hungry fish

i couldn't get very good pictures of the fish, i kept getting reflections of the trees. i suspect this is because the water is so murky.

bridge detail

this is probably a pretty common shot: the temizuya with the bamboo dippers all lined up. lots of dippers here, probably for the bus loads of oldies that visit regularly....

all lined up

catching water

then on to the main gate, and the guardian dogs (lions?) on either side. you can see they are guarding sake, very important that!

main gate (munakata taisha)


i couldn't get a very good shot of the honden, the light was not favorable. and there were plenty of people there that day so i didn't want to get right up there and take pictures. anyway, i got this one of these mini-shrines. at least, i think they're mini-shrines. i didn't ask. but they look like little shrines to me, so let's pretend they're mini-shrines, ok?

inside the main gate

i think that most people who visit this shrine only go here, but there are two more shrines. this is a gate that leads to the path taking you to #2 and #3 shrines (takamiya).


ok, so the next photos don't really mean much except i was 'testing' the zoom on my two lenses. bear with me while i check it out.




all three were taken from the same place, pretty cool! so, anyway, i walked toward this torii because it looked pretty. and there are rocks on it. i don't quite understand why people put rocks on the torii. from what i've been told people believe they will have good luck if they put a rock up there. this torii wasn't very tall, so lots of rocks.


mossy path



so, the main path to the other shrines isn't all that interesting. there are lanterns and other stone objects along the way, as well as the torii at the back of the main shrine.


back torii

this torii is quite tall, so not so many rocks up there...

munakata jinja

the second shrine was off to the left of the torii, and this building was off to the right:


i don't think it's a part of the shrine, but i liked the way it looked there on the road. hm.

anyway, the third shrine was up the mountain a bit. lots of stairs. and lanterns on the stairs. at the top was a lonely shrine where you could write your wishes and tie them up for the gods. there was also some kind of hallowed ground with some sake for offerings. lastly, there was a graveyard off to the side, but i didn't take any photos of that.

path to stairs



then i went back down the hill and to my car to drive to the gelato place. i took a picture of the 'shopping center' (anchored by the conbini 'poplar') and of the place itself, but they were crappy photos, so sorry, nothing to see here. i did go inside but since none of the flavors tempted me, i didn't buy any and so i didn't take pictures inside. however, they make the gelato right there, and only sell what they make that day. most days, even in winter, they usually sell out. they also make 'interesting' flavors, though the only strange (to me) flavor they had that day was tomato. i really like the surfer flavor (sorry, can't remember the exact name) which is salty, not really the first thing you think of for ice cream or gelato!

anyway, a bit up the road is the beach, where the waves were pretty frothy. no surfers, which surprised me a bit.



and then, a surprise on the beach: