A brief tale of my travels through Japan (in particular Sapporo, my second home). I started travelling to Japan in 2003, and have made 9 trips since then... I've been married (to T-chan), bought my first house, and had one child (our son, L-kun) and now a second one (our daughter, C-chan).
I'm writing this in 2012, so it's sort of like going back in a time machine. Eventually I will get back to current day!...
1st February, 2003 - There are a number of unusual shrines in Kamakura, one such is Zeniari Benten shrine... which was established around 1185 AD. It's approached through a rock cave through to a gorge, at the rear of which is another cave with a water pool. The entrance is guarded by a number of plain torii gates (they are donated by people that have received good luck from worshipong here, or those aspiring to). There is also a large number of ema boards placed around the shrine, on which believers write their wishes for the local God (kami) to respond to.
This shrine is famous for coin-washing - as a means of wishing good luck to get wealthy. Indeed, zeni means coin, and arai means washing.That tradition has extended to note-washing, where peole wash their cash notes in the rock pool, and dry them off over giant incense burners. Though small, this is one of the most popular shrines in Kamakura, but easily missed by foreigners.