It was the start of the Plum Blossom Festival at Yushima Tenjin on the weekend as it was a public holiday long weekend. Although the blossoms had barely started to come out, quite a few people came to pay their respects at the temple:
Shinjuku Gyoen actually comprises three gardens together: a Japanese traditional garden, an English landscape garden and a French formal garden. These are from the French garden, looking out towards Aoyama.
We went for a stroll around Shinjuku Gyoen to see the Autumn leaves – they are pretty spectacular in the Japanese traditional garden. There is also a small restaurant in the middle that does a nice set lunch.
As we were travelling back from Takayama to Nagoya I kept noticing these mysterious stones and stone monuments in the small villages along the route. I’m still not sure what they are but I guess they are family graves of some kind or possibly, as they seemed to be beside rice paddies, a harvest offering.
One of the features of the city of Takayama itself, apart from the festival, are the merchant’s houses that have been wonderfully preserved. This is Kusakabe Heritage House, one of the oldest, that was owned by a money lender’s family.