Monday, March 5, 2012

wrapping up my day in iga

After checking out Ueno Park the next place I wanted to visit was Iga's Teramachi. I didn't know what a teramachi was I just thought it would be an area full of old buildings. I really like architecture from centuries ago because they are always so beautiful and quaint. Anyways once I got there I just realized it was a street full of temples which makes sense since teramachi means temple town. We got kind of lost trying to find the Teramachi because our map wasn't very detailed and only had streets labelled in English. However there were hardly any street signs to be seen and if there was any, they weren't in English so I don't know how people expect us to find places with this disconnect between the information provided and what is actually in the real world. Anyways we ended up finding our way to the Ueno Tenjingu Shrine and still couldn't see anything that looked like it would be the Teramachi. After wandering some more we finally asked someone who pointed us in the right direction. The street you need to go down is outside of the Tenjingu Shrine area. If you are at the side entrance to the temple area you need to make a left and then left again at the intersection.

side entrance you need to exit from
The street you need to go down terminates at the wall of the Tenjingu Shrine which should make it easier since you only have one direction to go down. After a couple of shops you will make a right turn after a bank and that will be the start of the Teramachi. You'll know you've arrived if you see this huge sign board which can't be seen from the street until you've actually made that right turn... again how useful!

teramachi street guide - only in japanese
The Teramachi of Iga consists of seven temples. I will attempt to label each one properly but since I forgot the order I went to each one that might prove a little problematic.. Oh well if you're in the area I'm sure you'll check out all of them at once anyways. At this point all the temples were closed so you couldn't go inside but the grounds were still open so we could still check out the exterior and all the different shrines they had which is all I'm really interested in anyways. It was crazy to see so many temples all in a row and each one of them had such different architecture. The cool thing I noticed is that the monks and nuns or whoever maintains the temples lived in a separate compound on the temple grounds. The housing complexes themselves were pretty big and looked really nice on their own. I'm not sure if I've ever seen temples in Taiwan having such huge residential compounds on the premises... I'm not actually sure what religion these temples practice but I assume it is a mix of Shintoism and Buddhism.

Jyogyoji
Myotenji
Myotenji was weird in that the architecture was very new and modern. Not something I expected for a temple.

Myoshoji
Zenpukuin
Manpukuji
Nenbutsuji
Daichoji
I hope I labelled them correctly. I had to look through my pictures and try to figure out the angle they were taken and from that try to deduce on which side of the street they were on and then consult a map for the name... If anyone who can read Japanese can tell me if the romaji matches the Japanese on the signs that would be awesome! I'm looking at you Vinnie and Seiko!

While wandering around we randomly came across one of the storage sheds for the danjiri mentioned in my previous post.


There is even a sign that shows you which danjiri is located inside. The Danjiri Museum is actually designed to look like a danjiri shed which is pretty cool since it essentially acts like a danjiri shed. After getting a little lost trying to get back to the train station, we headed back to Tsu to eat some unagi! Tsu is known for having some excellent unagi restaurants so where better to try my first ever freshwater eel? Unagi is commonly served as unadon which is basically sliced eel served on a bed of rice. The sliced eel is actually known as unagi kabayaki which means grilled eel coated with a sweet sauce. They had just recently raised the prices for unagi so it was just my luck that I came when I did. The restaurant we went to is called Shintamatai and I basically got the cheapest dish of unagi that they had. For some reason unagi that was served separately from the rice was a lot more expensive...

the menu was only in japanese...

I got the small unagi meal that cost 945 yen and came with two slices of unagi. It came with a bowl of eel liver soup which tasted better than it sounds. The unagi was delicious and definitely worth the price. I can't believe I've never had unagi before this. There was also green tea which ehh I've never been much of a green tea drinker. I'm a black tea girl all the way!  So glad I'm getting exposed to different types of Japanese food besides sushi, ramen and katsu.

The Details
Shintamatei
hours: weekdays: 11:00-14:00 16:00-20:00  weekends & holidays: 11:00-20:00
closed on Mondays
tel: 059-224-0008
website: http://www.shintamatei.co.jp/index.html (japanese only)

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