The original plan for today was to move from the ryokan to a near by coffee shop to kill several hours while writing post cards, then moving to the station to get the shinkansen for Okayama. While having breakfast, the woman (and 10 year old daughter) we were sharing our table with piped up that they had been to Sanjusangen-doh, where there are 1001 statues of the Kanon buddah, and how good it was.
One bus trip later and we arrive at the temple. From the outside it looks like an office car park and 1 story building, the temple, with the longest wooden building in Japan, was not visible from the outside.
The complex itself was rather plain. The building is very long, but just doesn’t really stand out. The background to it is that an emperor stood down, and became a monk who followed the Kanon buddah. he insisted that the building, with 33 bays. Most of the kannon statues were done by different craftsman, and those who did multiple ones still made sure there were differences, net result was 1001 (or more) different statues, which at first glance all look the same (they have variations in mouth, eye brows, clothes, etc). You enter the main temple building at one end, walk down past all these statues including a double size one in the middle, plus 12 shrine gaurdians, while trying not to disturb the few worshippers (you pay for entry, you pay for candles, you pay for insense wood for prayers, but hey this is buddism). At the far end you then walk back along a rear corridor with a few exhibits in it. Personally I was not exactly enchanted by the place, but it was rather different.
Now we’re back drinking coffee, writing postcards and about to head on our way to Okayama.
Final note about the second ryokan. It was not perfect, but it was still an o.k. place to stay. given the choice though, I’d most certainly go for the first one with some certainty.
Oh almost forgot one thing – a continuation of the umbrella thing. We could not be bothered carrying 500 yen’s worth of umbrella around with us so David gave his to the ryokan owner. I did like wise, and the pair of us were rewarded with a bag of macha candy – good deal 🙂