CAA Saskatchewan Summer 2018 - Page 40

1 2 3 4 5 6 japan: Most InstagraMMable 1. MOUNT FUJI 2. TAIYAKI CAKES 3. MATSUSAKA CASTLE 4. KIMONO FESTIVAL 5. MISOGI FESTIVAL 6. NOH MASKS Japan’s tallest mountain— and still-active volcano—stands at an elevation of 3,776 metres. The Japanese consider it a sacred site and many make annual pilgrim- mages. Head to the onsen (spa) town of Lake Kawaguchiko for the best views. The ultimate Japanese street food, taiyaki are fish-shaped cakes with sugary fillings. First baked in a Tokyo sweet shop in 1909, they’re made of waffle batter and are typically filled with sweet azuki bean paste, choco- late, custard or matcha. Though it’s now in ruins, this historic castle dates to 1588 when it was built by samurai warrior Ujisato Gamo. The impressive walls still stand, as do the Gojoban- Yashiki (castle guardhouses), where its brave samurai defenders lived. Nagahama’s annual Kimono Garden Party welcomes a thousand-plus robe-wearing women, who flock to the city like a swarm of fluttering butterflies. The event attracts women and girls sporting traditional or modern kimonos. Held every December in the city of Gifu, hundreds of local men perform the misogi (purifica- tion) ritual in the Nagara River. The cold-water swim looks like a Japanese ver- sion of Canada’s polar bear dip, but it’s actually a 600-year-old Shinto ritual. Masks have been used in Japanese ceremonies since ancient times. Today, they take centre stage in Noh plays, a traditional form of theatre. There are hundreds of different Noh masks, each representing different people, animals and facial expressions. 40 Summer 2018 CAA SASKATCHeWAN Cool, quirky and stunning sights in the Land of the Rising Sun