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Driving, driving - oh, and Jesus Christ's Grave

Written on: Sunday August 9th, 2009

A journal entry from: Japan

Second post on May's trip during Golden week! After Nikko, we spent about two days driving and checking out the scenery. Our primary goal for the trip was to reach the northernmost tip of Honshu, in Aomori prefecture. We'd passed through there last year on the way to Hokkaido. This year, we were aiming for the axe-shaped Shimokita peninsula. Specifically, we were headed for Osore-san, a shrine located in a volcanic area that was – and for some people still is - believed to be the gate to hell. But, there was plenty to see along the way.


First, we passed through Tono. The Tono area is associated with Japanese folklore, the old Japanese ghosts, goblins, and superstitions. Partly this is because of book published early last century – the author, Kunio Yanagita, spent a lot of time living and researching folklore in Tono, which was an old-fashioned rural area, rich in these stories. So I was keen to take a look. Tono valley is a beautiful place, and I would love to go back and do a cycling tour sometime.


We then headed out to the eastern coast, and the saw-toothed coastline that stretched for a few hundred kilometres, a designated national park (Rikuchu-kaigen National Park). It was a great drive, although you couldn't see the coast from the road for long stretches. We stopped for a while and walked down to the beach to check it out.


The next morning we hit another spot that was definitely on out list – Shingo, Aomori. Shingo is a small, ordinary, little rural town, except for one thing – it's the last resting place of Jesus Christ. Yes, really, that Jesus Christ. According to local believers, Jesus was not killed and resurrected in the Middle East 2,000 years ago. Here's the story – Jesus came to Japan at age 21 and studied theology for 12 years, then returned to the Middle East. But he didn't die on the cross – in fact, it was his brother, Isukiri, who was crucified. Meanwhile, Jesus escaped to Japan, where he settled down in Shingo, married, had kids, and became a rice farmer. Believers claim to have documentation of this in the form of the testimony of Jesus, written down before he died. So, now, you can go to Shingo and visit the gravesite. There are two graves there – one for Jesus and one for his brother. (I think a piece of brother's ear or something is supposedly buried there.)


How could we not go?


It was great.