The hotel has a wonderful collection of perhaps 50 or more suits of Japanese armor, a beautiful laquer planiquin, saddles, muskets, portable Shinto shrine, and other historical objects. The suits of armor are lined up in glass cases surrounding the lobby. At the front desk, K asked for permission to look around which was enthusiastically granted.
I imagined how spooky it might be to wander into this lobby at night with no one around and feel the empty stares of the suits of armor..... Good thing I don't believe in g-g-g-ghosts.
Some of the suits had multiple family crests displayed. That seemed odd, but we learned the reason for it: wealthy warlords would rent out suits of armor to their less wealthy counterparts who had a battle to fight. Something like renting a tuxedo today, I suppose. Don't know if they wanted a large deposit - just in case.
Three of the suits were owned by members of the famous "47 Ako Roshi" - aslo known as the 47 Ronin (masterless Samurai) who avenged their master's death in the year 1702. They became legends and have been much glorified in books, movies, and television shows.
One particular suit of armor was of special interest to me. It had belonged to a warlord of the Satake Clan, the same family that sponsored Satake-ji temple in Hitachi Ota City that we visited on December 3 of last year.
As I mentioned in the previous post, Kasama is noted for its pottery. In fact, the new Ibaraki Ceramic Art Museum is there, and that's where we headed next. We enjoyed our picnic lunch in the parking lot of the museum.
The museum has huge aluminum doors at the entrance that automatically slide apart just as you approach them and close behind you, two meters inside there is another set that do the same thing. They reminded us of the beginning sequence of the 60's hit TV comedy series "Get Smart" which you can watch if click on the name.
The museum has modern and contemporary pottery, some of which was executed by artists with the distinction of being "Living National Treasures" of Japan. In one section there is a large screen where you can watch six short video presentations showing how different types of pottery is made. I think K was hoping to find some older examples of the art, but generally, the oldest we saw were from the early 20th century. There were several I would have liked to take home, but they wouldn't fit in my jacket.
After we left the museum, we browsed the stalls of artists offering their wares in an open air market.
Soon it was time to move on. Our pilgrimage was not over yet by a long shot.
To be continued....