Day 31/35 – Saturday August 2nd
Today was great. We were joined by host families and friends, and took a charter bus into the mountains in the eastern outskirts of Okazaki.
First destination, Tenon-ji. A temple built during the Ashigaka shogunate, this place is a gem. It was built by the same carpenters who built the original Kinkaku in Kyoto. After Kinkaku was destroyed by arson in 1950, it was to Tenon-ji that the master carpenters designated to re-construct it came to learn how it was built. What was surprising, and wonderful, was that for most of the Japanese participants (who had expected a typical yamadera) the secrets of Tenon-ji was a first for them too. They loved it.
The drystone walls are also quite amazing, and the Meiji and Taisho period artworks inside the main hall are fascinating. They depict scenes from the Sino-Japanese and Russo-Japanese wars, as well as military processions.
From here we headed to our BBQ. Deep in the forest (the road is far too narrow for our charter bus), we enjoyed the shade, cooler air, nice cold creeks flowing through, really great tebasaki （手羽先）, chickens roasted in the wood fired pizza oven, suika-wari, barbecued Ayu fish, cold beer on-tap and much else. Not a bad way to spend a day with host families and friends. We will do this again next year.