ENOSHIMA: THE IWAYA CAVES

AFTER THE BEACH...

After an hour we headed out of the water and walked towards the islands again and started to head towards the temples and to the Iwaya caves. It paid to have a guide to explain the religious beliefs and practices of the people and the story behind the goddess. If you don’t have a guide make sure you have some data connections so you can research a bit of background an history.

Being a Christian all my life, temples are like water over my head, I cannot connect to the notion of having a polytheistic worship but the one thing I can understand is that stories inspire us to find a connection on a supernatural plane. Hearing the story of a 5 headed dragon falling in love with a goddess and pledging to change in return for her love, a story that is told over and over be it in Beauty and the Beast, or the rebel falling in love with the captured princess well, it is kind of like… a glorified Stockholm Syndrome.

 

The caves were mysterious and eerie but it somewhat gave my imagination something to feed on, with ancient beings living among mortals and creatures of myth being the villain that is engaged in a struggle where love overcomes all. Crouching through caves with a lantern and admiring the works of monks who dedicated their artwork to the goddess gave me sense or longing of adventure. That’s the romantic in me yearning for a bygone era that may or may not exist.

After much has been left to the imagination we were all subjected to the painful realization that what climbs down must climb back up. I tried to prove to myself that I can still climb 60-degree staircases which left most of us wheezing and catching our breath.

 

The walk to the Sea Candle at sunset was such a welcome relief. The strong winds were strangely refreshing and to cap off our day the gods (or goddesses) or in my case, God was gracious enough to clear the skies enough for us to see the form of Mt. Fuji in the background.

After the sun has fully set, we made our weary bodies walk back to the restaurant near the inn and enjoyed our humungous bowl of donburi of salmon and shirasu which was something similar to whitebait.

My body was weary and my spirit was longing for rest, the comfort a traditional inn gives was comforting and more especially the warmth the bath gave, it was as if the weariness slowly faded away and gave new meaning to having a relaxing evening. Such a perfect close to a perfect day of experiential travel.

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