This past weekend I had set my hopes on Oktoberfest and then wandering through the Hakata toumyo (paper lantern viewing) and put my new camera through its night time paces, but Mother Nature had other ideas. It rained most of the day, but was pleasant when I took off for Oktoberfest. But by the time my friend Ruth and I had obtained food, and I went questing for dark beer, it began to rain again, in a persistent manner. Not to be deterred, after wurst and beer, we headed to Kushida shrine, which is very near Oktoberfest, where we ran into fellow co-workers Julia and Kate. There weren’t anywhere near as many lanterns as usual (but folks had thoughtfully put the kids’ lanterns into protective plastic bags) and the crowds were sparse. But for the first time, because of the lack of people, we were able to figure out how to get upstairs on one of the shrine buildings so we could look down on the main display, which turned out to be the festival’s mascots.
From there, we opted to walk to Gion station and see the lanterns at Tochoji temple, one of the other large displays. I’m sad we didn’t make it to the many small displays behind Gion, but wandering around in the dark in the rain wasn’t much fun (of course, it stopped raining by time I got home).
To make up for the lack of lanterns, on Sunday I headed to Dazaifu to the Kyushu National Museum, which is currently running an exhibition on the Choju-jinbutsu ginga, a set of 12th-13th century scrolls featuring animals frolicking, dressed as humans, etc The scrolls themselves were marvelous, though I had forgotten that not all parts of the four scrolls would be on display at once. What I’d failed to notice beforehand was that the rest of the exhibit focused on Buddhism of that time frame, and then a collection of treasures from the same temple as the scrolls, Kosan-ji. I was less enamored of the other parts of the exhibit, but I’m glad I made it to see the scrolls.
After, I did a bit of shopping at the museum, then wandered around the grounds of the shrine a bit, taking pictures. Daizafu is always lovely, if almost always super crowded. They were selling special ema, featuring beautiful waterfalls and dragons in a teal and white color scheme. I’m not sure what the occasion was, and could only find them for sale in special sets that were 5,000 yen, so no dragon ema for me.
This coming weekend, hope to visit a shrine in Fukuoka’s western ward (Nishi-ku).