Probably the biggest and most famous temple in Kawasaki city right on the south western border with Tokyo is the Kawasaki Daishi. It is a huge temple complex divided into several different parts, one of which is dedicated to traffic safety and cars! The temple building itself is a modernistic almost south east asian looking building in the middle of a huge parking lot where cars are staged in group depending on their order of taking part in the ceremony. Once an hour monks hold a ceremony praying for the safety and good fortune of the cars and their passengers and most people who have their cars blessed do so once a year. The ceremony itself costs 5000 yen but it is customary to give an additional donation to the temple when you return. Cars thus blessed gets a small bumper sticker that looks quite neat. You can see it on the temple’s home page. I was very lucky with the weather this day!
In Bungotakada City on the north east part of Kyushu in Oita Prefecture I found this collection of classic Japanese cars. The city is famous for it’s “Showanomachi”, or Showa Era City, a sort of time capsuled city where everything remains as it would have looked in the middle of the Showa ear (1950′s to 1960′s). The cars include a splashing yellow Subaru from 1972 and a blue three wheeled Daihatsu from 1970 and a very cool looking Nissan truck. More photos from Showanomachi to come!
At Roppongi Hills you can enjoy a meal or a drink while checking out the tenth installment of the famous Dragon Quest game series. There’s a special menu, cardboard figures on display and even a car decorated in the usual itasha fashion. The handsome waiter didn’t flinch at all when I took his picture and they even had the famous blue slime nikuman for sale! Although not for take out I was informed. I missed them when they went on sale in the convenience stores a few months ago. If you are a fan of the Dragon Quest games you must attend! This whole thing is done in collaboration with the official Dragon Quest bar in Roppongi that I have passed a hundred times but never had the courage to enter. One of these days I will have to make a blog post about it!
Walking in Roppongi I saw these two gloriously decorated cars parked on the side of the road just outside Tokyo Midtown. Itasha, the practice of anime fans to decorate their cars with the favorite anime series has been going on for quite some time but it’s always fun to see them in the wild! An Audi and an Alfa Romeo, fun thing is, both parked outside the Roppongi Mercedes dealership. I love how the owners of these cars are so fantastically devoted to their favorite shows that they would decorate a multi-million yen sports car like this. Both of the owners were standing near the cars when I stopped to snap these but they didn’t mind at all. Must be getting used to the cameras by now!