You Don't Know.
I went to 山形県 (Yamagata prefecture) with a co-worker and three of his friends on Saturday.
First up: 湯殿山 (Yudono Mountain) where we visited a shrine. We had to walk along chilly cobblestones in bare feet and then we could walk through a hot spring stream. Frigid feet but I'm probably one of the few foreigners who get to experience it.
We ate a big lunch including a イワナ (iwana fish) for free since the driver today was an influential Priest.
Miira, Miira in the wall. A mummy under glass (ミイラ/miira = mummy.)
Little messages blessed by a priest that float in a little pond.
A dragon fountain for cleansing your hands and your soul.
I'm not sure what this fatted calf represents, but it is a cool statue.
This chubby fellow has been offered a couple of shots of booze to help him along his way.
A babbling brook that brooks no babbling.
Next we went to 羽黒山 (Haguro Mt) to another shrine and there was a traditional wedding progress. Cool. This looks like one of the lions from Okinawa.
A row of 風車 (kaza-guruma: literally wind-cars but we call them pinwheels.) These are planted to pray for aborted children or those who've died by miscarriage.
More children's graves including some Mardi Gras-like dolls.
This tree has been around for over 1000 years. Funny, it doesn't look a day over 900.
A really big bell for awakening sleepy spirits.
Final stop was 五重ノ塔 (goju no to,) A 5-story Pagoda that's a National treasure!