Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday, Apr 20th, Sendai, Japan


One of our tour travelers said she thought this tour should be re-titled "Eating your way across Japan".  The variety of food offered at all meals, especially breakfast, exceeds most tours and we're sure we must have gained some pounds.  The airlines charge us for luggage weight, wait until they start looking at a tax on really personal carry-on.

Today, we learned about the guy that George Lucas chose as a model for the character of Darth Vadar in his sci-fi movie Star Wars.  Date Masamune (1567-1632), a "one-eyed dragon" daimyos who founded Sendai, he wore black armor and a golden helmet.

We visited Zuiganji Temple today, which Masamune rebuilt in 1609 to serve as his family temple.  The temple had been constructed in 828 by a legendary priest, Jihaku Daishi, who spread Buddhism through northern Japan.  The site is in Matsushima Bay, an area thought at the time to be so beautiful that it must be close to paradise.  In that era, monks made pilgrimages to Zuiganji from as far away as Kyoto, and for centuries lived in caves nearby.

Masamune employed 150 master carpenters to construct the temple,  Treasures (30,000) from 1000 years of Japanese history were on display in the museum here, but photographs were not allowed inside.

The Spanish Ambassador, Sebastian Viscaino, invited by Date to visit in 1614, said, "The best stone building in the world is our "El Escorial Palace in Madrid, and the best wooden building in the world is Zuiganji Temple".  The nearby garden was equally spectacular.

After returning to Sendai by train, we walked around the area of our hotel visiting five more urban temples.  We are in awe of the amount of work undertaken to develop the buildings and grounds of these temples, and enjoyed immensely the many trees and flowers both familiar and new to us.

To see all of the photos taken today, click on Friday, Apr 20th, Sendai, Japan.

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