難波の南蛮、戎橋の夷。

Nagoya 2- The Marathon

On my second day, I set an alarm and rose earlier to begin the walk southwards to Atsuta Shrine.

Atsuta is a rather special site, mentioned in the creation myths of the earliest known Japanese writings.  It is the alleged reliquary of the sword Kusanagi, one of the three regalia of the imperial house, as well as the memorial shrine of Yamato Takeru, archetypal Japanese warrior of legend.  It’s also one of the shrines that has kept a little of its old forest, even in the middle of the city.

Atsuta is a bit further south, almost to the port district. The neighborhood is a little strange...yet I could tell there was a powerful presence there. Mist literally spilled out from the edges of the woods.

The mysterious gate to nowhere, alone in the forest. There's nothing behind that gate but more woods and no path. They say it's almost never opened.

There are seven great holy trees in the Atsuta forest. This one is reputedly over a thousand years old.

The main compound of Atsuta itself. Strangely enough, the wood was so new it was still fragrant. I wonder if they still ritually destroy the shrine buildings every once in a while, like they do at Ise and used to do at virtually every shrine in Japan.

Holiest of holies, the inner compound. That's how you know the place is serious, when it has a forbidden shrine within the shrine. If the sword is indeed at Atsuta, it might be within.

The new worship hall for the faithful was built AROUND the trees.

Infused with peaceful strength, I headed a few blocks west to Shiratori Garden.  Despite its fantastically traditional layout, the garden was only opened in 1991.  It’s great to see some of that old spirit is still alive.

Aahhh…AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!

CITY SPACE! This is what Nagoya looks like to the south. A lot of lumberyards.

Denny's. That's right, Denny's. I've never seen a single Denny's anywhere else in Japan. I come here and find five of them without trying. Nagoya: City of Denny's?

Yes, after my cleansing experience in the green, I turned around and walked all the way back across the city, to see more of its city-ness and get a little closer to the architecture.

Nagoya only has a handful of true high-rise buildings, all of them built in the last decade or so- but some seriously cool architecture.

This is Nagoya Station, actually the physically largest train station building in the world. Incidentally, Kyoto station is second place.

In my last post, I mentioned that what makes Nagoya's cityscape different from Osaka's, is that in Nagoya buildings of all sizes are mixed up together, rather than being pretty consistent by area. This picture illustrates that perfectly.

 

I stuck around the city late into the night before returning to my hotel, feet tired as mad.  A curious Google Earth pathtrace revealed I had walked something on the order of 18 miles.  Hey, I got the most out of my one full day in Nagoya.

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3 responses

  1. lord kelvin

    Love Atsuta. The 1000 year old tree is projecting energy to me. Hmm, ready to marathon on Hiei?

    March 5, 2011 at 2:19 PM

    • Well, I do plan on a big cross-prefectural Hiei journey at some point, climbing from the Kyoto side and descending into Otsu, Shiga prefecture.

      March 8, 2011 at 1:31 PM

  2. lord kelvin

    Get that encephalitis vaccine before you head into the vast, demon-filled forest.

    March 13, 2011 at 2:38 AM

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