Strolling Through Ashikaga, Japan & Grabbing Some Warabimochi Latte.
Blessings! First time posting in this community. We have something for everyone here on HIVE don't we? Today I will share my stroll through a historic Japanese town which is actually home to the first school in Japan. The town is in Tochigi prefecture and it is called Ashikaga. We had an amazing treat at the end discovering a Warabimochi café that served lattes with a traditional Japanese taste. Here is the google maps to the location of the café which is in the heart of the scenes to follow.
The streets of this part of Ashikaga made me feel like I had time travelled to the heian or Edo period, everything looked historic and artistic. I realize the longer I stay here, the more I appreciate thigs like this...maybe I am just getting old-er.
As we walked the streets we were greeted with "irasshaimase" which means welcome in English. We were offered some misou soup from the "Omiyage omise" (souvenir shop) staff. It did us good as the weather was chilly. To the left you can see an old style sembe (rice cracker) stall looking like it has been there for generations.
Yama-mon Entrance Gate, Bannaji Temple
The temple was a beauty and I got a shot of some pigeons flying by entrance. Many people seem to feed them along with the koi that are plentiful in the waters here. We said a prayer at the main sanctuary and I took some photos as we went along.
The attraction point of this temple to me was the figure in the midpoint of the roof know as the Onigawara, which translates to demon tile. I talk about Onigawara and Japanese temple design in this post if you are interested.
Here is the Onigawara of this temple close up. It would make a cool splinterlands character don't you think? It looks to me like a demon riding a dragon. Now that is an image that could make an entire story.
This statue to the side of the temple lawn reminded me of Raiden from Mortal Kombat, but I think his powers are more spiritual. Based on the beads in his left hand, I assume he is a Buddhist priest. After a little research I was able to find this from wiki.
Kūkai (空海; 27 July 774 – 22 April 835), also known posthumously as Kōbō Daishi (弘法大師, "The Grand Master who Propagated the Dharma"), was a Japanese Buddhist monk, calligrapher, and poet who founded the esoteric Shingon school of Buddhism. He travelled to China, where he studied Tangmi (Chinese Vajrayana Buddhism) under the monk Huiguo. Upon returning to Japan, he founded Shingon—the Japanese branch of Vajrayana Buddhism. With the blessing of several Emperors, Kūkai was able to preach Shingon teachings and found Shingon temples. Like other influential monks, Kūkai oversaw public works and constructions. Mount Kōya was chosen by him as a holy site, and he spent his later years there until his death in 835 C.E.
What We Really Came for
In all actuality the main reason we came to this part of Ashikaga was to give the kids a chance to play in an unfamiliar park. The added benefit is the adults got to enjoy the sights along the way. The other dad on the scene and myself played a few rounds of Onigokou (tag) with the kids for a bit. Good Sunday workout while giving the kids attention. The climbable dome in the pics below was the safe spot.
The Warabimochi Treats To End The Day
kamakura cafe, Ashikaga
One our walk back to the car, we saw many people taking selfies or "insta by" as they call it here with these whipped cream topped drinks in their hands. I asked a woman and her daughter how it tasted and she responded in English, "very good".
What separates these drinks from something you would have at Starbucks is that it is made with a jelly like substance at the bottom layer called Warabimochi. Warabimochi is a Japanese confection (Wagashi in Japanese) and it is made from warabiko (bracken starch-roots of trees) and covered or dipped in Kinako, which is a sweet toasted soybean flour. It is healthier than mochi which contains rice. They also sell the Warabimochi in confection form.
I had the Kamakura original blend coffee milk while my wife had the Kinako. The drinks had a really awesome taste and it wasn't too sweet. The chewy jelly Warabimochi really does taste great. The drink I had, the jelly had a strong coffee taste which complimented the dilution from the milk. These drinks were the perfect way to end the Sunday vibes. If you are in/when you pass through Japan, you have to try it. They have various locations across the country.
More in this post series about Ashikaga, Thanks For Reading
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|No More Samurai In Japan||Mexican Café In Ashikaga, Japan|