Today we headed into the mountains to the resort town of Yufuin. We had a great guide who is slowly learning how to make jokes in English - thanks Mickey (and baby Bob). The town was developed into a tourist haven about 20 years ago and although it has very beautiful scenery the shops have become very touristy and the numbers of visitors have sky-rocketed.
However, Mickey took us on a really nice walk around the smaller streets of the town and also gave us an insight into some of the history of the area.
There are two major religions in Japan and most people incorporate both into their daily lives. Over Dad's trip we have seen many places in which these religions, Buddhism and Shinto, are combined in areas, as well as areas where they are separated - Shinto was the national religion, however after World War II Japan was forced to separate religion and politics and Shinto and Buddhism were separated as a result. One example of this is the shrine gate in the lake at Yufuin - it was shifted from a temple after the religions were separated. The result is a very peaceful tori gate.... with a not-so-peaceful history.
For more information about the religions in Japan the following link has some quite good information: Japan Guide