Thursday, January 15, 2009

Whoa. UFO. Help!

In an effort to see more of our local area, we have started taking good ol' fashioned Sunday drives. There is so much to see, right here in our own backyard! I think we're in the perfect location. Just head 20 min in any direction (except East) and you're in the countryside, or up in the mountains. 20 min East puts you in the big city, heading for T-town.
We usually leave after lunch, we don't pack snacks because part of the fun is stopping to pick out something at a conbini (convenience store). Two weeks ago we headed up to Lake Tama and the area around the Seibu Dome. This weekend we went north, towards Mt. Mitake and Lake Okutama. We chose that area because from down in the plains where we are, we could see snow on the mountains, and we were determined to get to it! I'll blog more about the whole trip next, but this blog is about......a shrine to UFO's. At least as near as I can figure.

While at the lake, I noticed this on a hill above the lake (the white dome, not the crane):


I couldn't figure out what it was. It doesn't look anything remotely like the typical Japanese shrines and temples you can find all over the mountains. It reminded me more of a mosque or some sort of Indian (as in India) temple.
We got home and I posted the picture on a couple of local discussion forums I'm in to see if anyone knew anything. Turns out tons of people have taken pictures of the exact same thing, trying to figure out what it is. Jackpot! Kind of. I've managed to track down a website that I'm almost 100% positive is about this building. Unfortunately, it's all in Japanese! It definitely says something about UFOs, but there's also a statue of Dorimon (???). This is where all my lovely, new, blogging mommy friends married to handsome, Japanese men come in! Can anyone figure out anything from this site? UFO Shrine How cool it would be if it really is a UFO shrine?!?! But I'm sure it's something much more mundane. But it's still very interesting. I'm on a mission to figure this out! But I'll probably have to wait until Spring to go exploring, the roads get pretty bad up in the mountains during the winter, and from the looks of the website, it may not even be accessible by car. Oooooo, I'm so excited!




illahee said...

hm...well, i can't read the kanji well, and even DH isn't sure. but that's definitely a buddha statue in there. you know there's a strangely-shaped temple in nagasaki (city) that basically looks like a huge turtle. some kind of (weird, in my opinion) buddhist sect.

anyway, with a little research (but still all in japanese) i find that the mountains are shishikruayama and oderayama and you can only climb to the temple/top of the mountain. takes about 1.5 hours to the top of oderayama (where i believe the temple is.) check out this site:

sorry i can't tell you more about the temple.

the doraemon statue is at a local onsen. imagine taking a bath with him! lol

Robin Vistnes said...

It's like I can't even take it- the jealousy!!!
I want to be there -right now Kjell is yelling at Lana over the din of the vacuum...
But you- you are discovering UFO Shrines in Japan!

Slime said...

Thank you so much Illahee! A 1.5 hr hike? We'll definitely be waiting until spring! And thanks for the extra link! I'm sure I'll be tackling the hike w/out the hub, but Meg and Ethan will probably be up for it.

thefukases said...

OOOh a mystery! Feeling very Nancy Drew I decided to do some searching and it turns out it's a Thai style temple built by the Nichiren sect of Buddhism to hold Buddha's remains. And it's not the only one in Japan either. Here's a site with some English explanation about a similar one:

(scroll down to #4)

Sounds like quite the hike, hey?