Last night I passed Nihonbashi and had a few minutes to take some snapshots. Nihonbashi is a bridge that counts as the geographical point zero of Japan, it is from this span that the all road distances are calculated and is considered the true center of both Japan and Tokyo. Today it is a somewhat sad sight as the river has long since been built over by a huge expressway and the bridge itself is barely noticeable. As I was standing on the bridge taking these photos a group of young men in business suites stopped next to me and asked each other in loud voices what was so special about this place. As listened to their conversation I realized that even people who walk across this bridge every day have a fairly hazy grasp as to the significance of the place. Well, now you guys know better and the next time you ride in a taxi or a bus over the bridge you can recalibrate your mental compass and imagine yourself at Japan’s point zero! Besides, the old dragon and lion statues on the bridge itself are very cool, in a sort of Japanese-gothic!
Update 2011 March 31st: According to this Twitpic by twitter user @Haragoo_love it seems that Godaigou Temple has survived the March 11 tsunami without major damage. That’s a huge relief for me as I worried a lot about this little temple. Hope to post more photos later.
In Matsushima city I visited this rather famous (among tourists anyway) temple, the Godaidou, which was originally erected in the year 807, although the present structure dates back only to 1604. The temple is situated on a small rock island connected to the mainland by a rather curious (and dangerous) bridge called Sukashi Bridge. The road up to the temple is lined with trees and cloth lines hung heavy with good luck charms and fortune telling slips. As you might know from reading this blog, people often buy fortune telling slips when they visit a temple or a shrine, of the news are good, they put it in their wallets but if the fortunes is less than positive they tie it up nearby and hope that the bad luck will stay away. The temple walls are covered in intricate carvings, some of them representing all the animals in the Chinese zodiac, and here are the monkey, the rooster and the rabbit.