Izushi Castle, sitting on top of a hill, is a quiet town with historical relics and a Shinto shrine. The old houses remind visitors of the times in the Edo period where the town was lined with samurai houses and old shops. It was a pity that we visited the place on a rainy day. The silver lining was that the place was tranquil and serene, and offered us travelers a breath of fresh air, listening to the running water in a nearby stream. The wooden bridge over the stream looked antique, too.
On the road up to the Shrine, there are 157 stone steps decorated with 37 bright orange colored “gates”. These gate-like architecture, called Torii in Japanese (literally bird perches), symbolizes the transition from the profane to the sacred. The literal meaning of the word Torii originates from the birds resting on top of the gates. These gates are believed to ward off evil spirits and mark the entrance to the shrine. I really enjoyed the bright colors and authentic wooden style of the gates, and together with the long staircase, the atmosphere was calm and solemn.
The four photos above are my favorites, especially the one with the dripping water. If we had more time to explore this beautiful little town, we might have got lost in the old times…
I hope by now you are not bored with the cherry blossoms, however, I think it is a spectacular sight to see them in the rain. The water drops seemed to add a sense of purity and elegance to the blossoming flowers.
A stroll in the old town was rewarding – there are shops selling various kinds of stuff, some more exotic than others. The colorful umbrellas instantly caught my sight. There were also fiery red chillis which I dare not try. We did have a taste of sakura-flavored ice-cream from one of the sweet shops, and it was quite refreshing.
The lower picture above showed a pink sakura. This species was not as common as the white ones, we were glad to have met and photographed it. The following is the gallery of images taken in the old Izushi Castle: