Yanaka, Nezu, and Sendagi

 

After briefly stopping to admire the Imperial Palace we head to the quirky little areas of Yanaka, Nezu and Sendagi.

Briefly stopping to ponder what on earth this rather graphic billboard is advertising!

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The area was unharmed during the firebombings in WWII, so there are plenty of temples and old buildings from the Edo Period still standing.

There are also a lot of cat themed shops and sights to be found dotted around!

Whether they are golden good luck kitties nestled in with Dara dolls  . .

Or painted multi-coloured felines reminding us that No Cat, No Life!

We also experience our first ever Japanese cemetery. They are incredibly calm and beautiful.

A Buddhist gravestone usually has an obelisk with the deceased person’s family name carved in it, and sometimes an image such as a Buddha or family crest.

If family or friends are physically unable to visit a love one’s grave they can pay a Buddhist priest to write a special prayer on a wood plaque which is left at the gravesite.

These are the tall wooden sticks you see behind the stones above and below.

Below are a selection of deities found in the cemetery including a cozy looking fellow in a red knitted cap. This is a common sight.

In Japan, the color red is associated closely with a few deities in Shinto and Buddhist traditions, and statues of these deities are often decked in red clothing or painted red

The wrappd up little dude above is most likely to be Jizo Bosatsu – Protector of Children, Childbirth, and the Torments of Hell

One of Japan’s most beloved deities, Jizō is the guardian of travellers, the hell realm, children, and motherhood.

Everywhere in Japan, you will find statues of Jizō Bosatsu wearing a red or white cap and bib, adorned with toys, protected by scarfs, or piled high with stones offered by bereaved parents.

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We then enjoyed a quick jaunt around Shinobazu pond in Ueno Park where you can rent a kitsch swan boat!

Mega cute! The boats were packing up for the night so we couldn’t hire one though.

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Then another selection of wooden Ema. Wishes written by the devout and the hopeful.

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