|Outer gate of Ninja-dera. No pictures allowed inside!|
I was so excited to be in Kanazawa! So excited, I talked SMS into going to the Ninja Temple when it opened at 9! Ok, ok, the real name is Myoryuji or Ninja-dera. We showed up and a woman ran inside to take our “reservation” by intercom. They are very strict about having reservations even though ours ended up being for the first tour at 0945, 45 minutes after we showed up. It was a little strange but word to the wise, if you’re traveling during a busy season, have your hotel info desk make a reservation for you. This was suggested on the Internet but I didn’t listen! Also, I don’t think they speak a lot of English but there’s a translation of the 9 questions they ask you so just keep track of the question number when the person pauses for your answer. Fortunately, SMS’ Japanese is extremely jozu but I could follow along even though I was a little lost after the first question (“What is your name?”).
|Leading up to the main entrance|
The temple was really cool. We were given an English pamphlet about the temple and an English binder with a tour outline, including the discussed highlights. We sat with a large group and listened to a long pre-recorded intro before splitting up in several smaller groups for the tour. We started on stop 7 in the binder but covered everything in the approximately 30 minute tour. We saw the “hidden” multi-level structure with 7 floors when it only appears to be 3 from the outside. There were also concealed escape tunnels under floorboards, the seppuku room that could only be opened from the outside (once you’re in, you’re in until death), the trick door leading to a hidden passage or the normal stairs, the hidden worship room for the leader, the bodyguard room and the drop pits that invaders could fall into. It was super cool to see how creative (and paranoid) the designer was. A fortress-temple that is awesome to see!
|Kenrouken: The size attributes garden- spaciousness, tranquility, artifice, antiquity, water cources, and magnificent view|
|Iris season and ducks in Kenrouken|
After the temple, we walked to the Kenrokuen garden. It’s a gorgeous, strolling-style garden that’s a huge tourist attraction, of which there were plenty! We saw incredibly old trees with support poles and two beautiful lakes. We also fed koi fish! That was almost scary because they get into a feeding frenzy and almost hurl themselves onto the shore to get food.