Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Only the first week of March and already there are flowers decorating public spots like this giant stone head, just outside Shibuya Station (south exit). Known as Shibuya Moyai-zou, it looks like it belongs on Easter Island, but it comes from the island of Niijima, one of Japan's Izu Islands and part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park. There are 100 stone carvings like it on Niijimi's Moyai Hill (moyai meaning "to work together in effort").
Wikipedia's page about Niijima makes me want to go there, not just to see the humongous heads on the hill, but also to soak in the onsen, or hot spring, overlooking Yunohama Beach (supposedly it's built to resemble a Greek ruin and provides "stunning panoramic views" of the Pacific). Apparently you can take a two-hour jet boat or 9-hour overnight ferry from a Tokyo pier, though sometimes waters are too rough to dock (!). Maybe this is a trip for just the grownups. (Maybe my parents will stay with the boys! They will be here visiting for two weeks in April....guys?)
For the time being I will have to settle for the Shibuya station head, which, according to some random blog, was a gift from the people of Niijima to the city of Tokyo, in recognition of its 100 years under Tokyo's administrative supervision (should probably fact-check this).
I love that it has two faces. Here's the view from the back: