Nunobashi Kanjoe Festival

Tateyama, Japan

About 30 minutes before the sun rises, it’s dark and I’m ascending up the side of Mount Tateyama. I’m struggling with my breathing while air is thin, at 3000m.

After Mounts Fuji and Haku, this is one of the three holy mountains of Japan, and there’s a temple at the top. I’m going to be granted salvation and gain a spot in Sukhavati, Japanese paradise if I reach there.  After all the hardship, on my way up, I’ve survived a walk through hell, a valley of severe volcanic activity, belching stinking sulfurous gases, it isn’t as easy as sprinting on the oval.

Nunobashi Kanjoe in Tateyama

I would say lucky me to be a man as women were not allowed on the mountain until 1869 – those who attempt to climb were turned into cedar trees as it’s said that the female goddess was resentful. To take part in the sacred ritual of Nunobashi Kanjoe, was their only method of salvation, literally “Purification on the Cloth Bridge” in the town of Tateyama. From 1603 to 1868 the years this was practiced also termed as Edo Period, then fell out of favor, until it was revived in 1996. It was my luck to be here at the right time because it only happens every three years.

The red Nunobashi Bridge which spans Sanzu-no-kawa, the Buddhist equivalent of the River Styx, is the centerpiece of the ceremony. It was believed this connects the material human world to the supernatural home of the gods.

To chant in the Enmado, You don’t have to be Buddhist

Buddhist monks chanting sutras in the Enmado, temple to the god of death, is how the day begins with requesting for protection for the women. Clad in white kimonos, they assemble outside ,and once they enter, start to pray for the pardon of their sins. The monks place incense ash from the shrine to the women who wipe it across their chests as purification while chanting continues.

As observed, the gathering is not all Japanese and there’s a smattering of European and Chinese faces among the 110 women. Evidently, these people applied via the internet and it’s not required to be Buddhist. Rather it’s regarded as a chance to meet your true self and evaluate what’s in your heart but places are tight.

Woman: Don’t look downward

They put on conical straw hats and are blindfolded as they leave the temple, is the next phase of the ceremony. When you can’t see, the hill down to the bridge is precipitous and uneven and not easy to negotiate. However, while they’re crossing the bridge, the women mustn’t look down, or they’ll seize sight of demons who will pull them into the river. Led by musicians playing Gagaku court music during the procession, and lotus petal purification papers are thrown by monks at the front into the air, opening the way to the other world.

 

Reasons to Visit Johor Bahru

Just across the small country of Singapore is Malaysia. A number of Singaporeans visit Johor Bahru for shopping and some down time. You will see a lot of people from all over the world in Johor Bahru. Most of them are tourists exploring the place, and stopping by to shop.

Annie’s Culture

Every girl who comes here feels like a pampered princess. The place is accessible and very easy to get to. Annie’s Culture is a boutique with a beauty parlour, a spa and a cafe. You can grab a quick caffeine fix while enjoying their manicure and pedicure services. You can also get a massage and go shopping. The beauticians here are very friendly, so don’t hesitate to start a conversation.

Rusty Market

If you are looking for clothes and antiques, this is a very popular place in Johor Bahru. This second-hand flea bazaar has a lot of cheap things to offer. You just need to brave the crowd, and find your way in the maze of stalls. You will surely find something that you fancy and when you get your hands on it, don’t forget to bargain.

Assam Curry Fish Head

There are many restaurants that offer Assam Curry Fish Head in Johor Bahru, but the Jadi Baru Botak is the most popular and loved by many. You need to try their curry fish head at least once when you’re here, because they have the best.

Johor Premium Outlets

This is the ultimate shopper’s paradise. On top of the great currency exchange rate, you will your favourite luxury brands offering so many discounts and promotions.

Friendly Locals

The locals here are very friendly, and willing to help so if you ever get lost, just ask them for directions.

If you are coming here with family or friends, make sure that you have your mobile phones so you can communicate and let them know where you are.

West Side Story

For most people, when it comes to romantic holiday destinations, Cleveland is firmly off the radar but, for those willing to give the city a chance, there are some excellent attractions that are perfect for couples.

A well-known culinary attraction and a good place to start our romantic adventure is the city’s West Side Market that’s worth the try for couples. For food enthusiasts, strolling through its aisles of fresh and cooked-food stalls is a hugely satisfying experience and the moment made even better by the market’s historic setting.

Purchase some food at the market and have a romantic outdoor meal at Edgewater Park if the weather’s nice outside, which is just a few minutes away by car. This park offers great views of the city skyline and is set on Lake Erie.

While in Cleveland, one neighborhood that couples should make a point to visit is University Circle. For couples who love to reminisce the yesteryears, they will find tree-lined streets, historic houses and a host of attractions that are really suitable for them.

Another great place to visit is the Cleveland Botanical Garden and is the place to go for a romantic stroll. Visitors can visit the garden’s glasshouse, which has sections devoted to both the Costa Rican rainforest and the Madagascar spiny desert once visitors are done exploring its ten acres of polished gardens.

There’s a must do for art lovers as they will be pleased to know that University Circle hosts both the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland (MOCA).

The Cleveland Museum of Art is the larger of the two museums and accommodates a collection of more than 40,000 pieces that spans several centuries and continents, should be travelers’ first stop. From the museum’s huge endowment, it has allowed it to collect some truly exemplary pieces and keep the admission free for all visitors at the same time.

Not far away is MOCA, and has only moved into its new, visually noticeable home, which was outlined by acclaimed architect Farshid Moussavi. MOCA, however, is exceptional for it’s a non-collecting institution, which means that its appeal to visitors in the exhibitions it hosts.

Couples should also consider staying at the Glidden House Hotel to get the most of their trip to Cleveland. 

Exploring Turkey

While you are exploring in this area of Turkey, you will want to take various tours. This area is absolutely encircling by ruins, nature’s hidden gems like beautiful islands, hidden lagoons, caves and huge mountains. If you are hungry for daring physical activity like into paragliding or just feeling adventurous.

For thousands of years, flying has been a dream of man and is now affordable and safe unlike before so we are one lucky generation. Give it a shot. You will always cherish the memory and look back on that moment you were able to fly. Just arrive at their office on the Oludeniz beach if you decide to try it.

To reach the mountain, the drive up takes about forty minutes and in itself is worth the time spent. You will be instructed to put on your flight suit upon arriving and after a few minutes of simple instructions. The pilot will then bind you with strap into the double harness in front of his and after raising the chute, you both run for the edge of the cliff. The current of air captures your chute and mildly lifts you into the clear blue sky. Once up there, you can see the view of the beach, the lagoon and the nearby islands are jaw-dropping.

On the cruise with the boat, you will soon unearth the beauty of the many islands while having a great time with their fun adoring staff. For a truly enjoyable day, the pauses along the coast for swimming and a delectable lunch are the right touch. You can even hike to the top of a large waterfall on one of the stops, at Butterfly Valley. The climb is quite risky but worth it.

There are ancient Grecian churches scattered along the top of green hills and cliffs on another island, the St. Nicholas. Their age, about 1500 years, are visible in their decay, but they are extraordinary. Be sure to bring your camera because it would be a shame not to be able to share a glimpse of their ancient, yet time remaining beauty with friends and family.