The day after our Forest Adventure, we did a bit of sight seeing. The owner of the guest house recommended visiting Seifukuji Temple, Kaizando to see the carved ceilings. I must admit I wasn't expecting much, as my mom says, once you have seen one temple, you have seen them all.
But have you?
The carvings are amazing and extremely high quality, Uncho Ishikawa is known as the Michael Angelo of Japan. We weren't allowed to take photos inside, which seems so antiquated these days as long as a flash is not used, no damage will come of the paintwork. So here are some photos around the place...
Outside the temple gates there is a place to purify yourself, or at least wash your hands.... I loved this dragon!
These carvings have been weathered by time but you can see how much detail goes into it.
There was a small garden in the grounds and tucked in the back I spied a small staircase, so we went for a nosey, at the top was a fertility shrine, is there anywhere else in the world where you go for a walk in the woods and end up looking at a decorated giant penis?
The temple is now protected under another building structure, from the outside it looks a lot bigger than it actually is.
After the temple we headed off to a sake brewery (my husband is a big lover of sake!) and Niigata is famous for it's rice, the fresh water from the mountains and just the right soil apparently make for perfect rice growing. Of course, sake is distilled from rice and so the sake in the area is famous too!
The place is called Uonuma No Sato and it is a collection of buildings, there are a couple of shops and cafes. The staff canteen is the lovely looking building as you drive up to the complex and you can eat in there. A good hearty meal with as much miso soup and rice as you like for ¥1000.
To do a tour it's best to book ahead, we didn't and couldn't be bothered to wait around for 2 hours to join the next one. Many of the buildings there are stunning, including this kitchen that is used for demo's and lessons...
There is also a shop in the sake distillery that is kept cool using snow from the winter, it was pretty chilly in there!
It was an interesting couple of hours but we didn't get to do any of the tour stuff so I'm not sure how good that was. DH was happy to leave with some sake that is only available from that neck of the woods, so all is well in the world.