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A temple with the wow factor
These days it takes a bit for me to be "wowed" when it comes to a temple or a shrine, as I have seen quite a number of them now in my time in Japan. Bishamondo, located in the heart of snow country in Minamiuonuma, still gave me that "wow!" feeling. Part of the fascination for me is the fact that the buildings here are constructed in a way that withstands really heavy snowfalls each winter - and have stood the test of time. The other part that I find incredible is that one of Japan's wackiest festivals is held here each year - the Naked Pushing Festival. Men dressed in nothing but loincloths head to the temple here for a dip in the fountain, in the middle of winter no less! I'm intrigued and will definitely be visiting to get a full understanding of the festival when it happens. Until then it's my quiet spot of solitude and best of all it's free to get in.