The Kawasaki Daishi temple, also officially known as the Heikenji temple, is the most important temple of the city of Kawasaki. The street leading to the temple features many gift stores. Red darumas are among the favourite gifts. This street is also famous for its candies: to add to the festive atmosphere, candy makers cut the candies loudly with large knives in rythm with traditional Japanese music. We visited the temple in July during the wind chime festival when many chime manufacturers exhibit their art at the temple. It is also a great occasion to taste delicious Japanese street food at the many Yatai.
The Uga Shrine is located on an island in the middle of Lake Nojiri. The only way to access it is by a taking a cruise boat from Nojiri city. The cruise does a brief tour of the lake before stopping on the Island. You can spend as much time as you like visiting the shrine since you can hop on subsequent cruises as well for the return trip.
The Ikushimatarushima Shrine dates from the 9th century. The main prayer hall is built on a small island in the middle of a pond and most of the structures are of the classic vermillion red which is used to decorate shrines throughout Japan. The shrine structures, water elements, and vegetation blend beautifully.
Shuri Castle was the main palace of the Ryukyu kingdom from 1429 to 1879. The current castle is a reconstruction of the original which was destroyed during the war. In addition to the visit of the castle keep, traditional Okinawan dance demonstrations are given for free on the premises of the castle.
Sefa Utaki is a historical sacred site that was once one of the most sacred place of worship for Ryukyu people. It is apparently where the goddess of creation came down to Earth. The sacred site is kept in a natural state. Many walking paths lead to impressive rock formations through the dense forest.
The cave of Shirumichu is though of being the place where gods Shirumichu and Amamichu, the creator gods of Okinawa, gave their first birth. It is now a popular place to pray for pregnancy and safe delivery.
Zakimi Castle is a Ryukyu castle in Okinawa whose walls and foundations have been restored. The castle was built in the 15th century and belonged to the famed general Gosamaru. The site is now a UNESCO world heritage site and is open to visitors for free.