On Sunday we finally kicked the sightseeing off with a trip to our first (of what i'm sure will be many) shrines here in Japan. Usa shrine is just a few minutes from Jo's house but is a truly spectacular sight to see. Designated as a national teasure this shinto shrine is the head shrine of 40,000 located across the country (according to the badly written English brochure).
On the way in you walk through a massive bright orange tori gate before arriving at a pool of water which you are supposed to cleanse your hands at by dipping the cup made of bamboo into the water and then pouring it over your hands. From there you walk through beautiful maple trees, up far too many steps for the summer heat and up to the shrine itself. Nathan had a go at clapping twice, bowing and then saying his pray... but not before throwing a handful of coins into the front of the shrine. After slow amble (it was too hot to manage anything else) we walked back down and found the nearest vending machine for something to cool us down. All in all it was a great way to mark the start of our sightseeing!