The day I went to Takeda Shrine, I really didn't feel like doing any sort of sightseeing as the weather was gloomy and rainy. The usual mountainous landscapes and scenic green panorama of wild nature didn't look so attractive the day before when it was beautiful, sunny, and pleasantly warm, quite a surprise for a late autumn day. I felt like lazing around, drinking a warm cup of coffee and eating a chocolate cake rather than having an excursion into the unknown. However, my friend "S." couldn't sit in one place for longer than 10 minutes and I knew he wanted to go out and show me something I haven't seen before. In the guise of inviting me to a great cafe serving and great quality coffee, we departed in the late afternoon and had a stroll around a little town called Kaseda (Minamisatsuma). I absolutely couldn't imagine a coffee shop being located in this small countryside place but I decided not to express my doubts. As we were walking along the main road to the outskirts, we noticed an old wooden tori, a sure sign of a shrine. "S." knows how much I love old traditional jinjas and the tranquil ambience that surrounds them. Discovering new shrines, explicitly those which have been forgotten in people's memories is something what I enjoy the most during my travels. I was certainly not disappointed! It turned out that the shrine we walked into was Takeda shrine, one of the most charming little wooden masterpieces I've seen so far. You could argue that there is absolutely nothing outstanding about it, but the fact that it was simple in its appearance made it look extraordinary and sophisticated. Japanese craftsmanship is truly amazing! I was enchanted, once again. To my big astonishment, there was a cafe nearby located in the old building which in the past served as a hospital. It turned out to be a cozy and intimate place with a very distinctive retro style. What was quite interesting about it was the fact that there was a shop inside selling handmade local products promoting the craftsmanship of Minamisatsuma. Having said that, this amiable cafe served the best coffee I've ever had, not to mention the handmade chocolate cake! That made my day. Access: The best way to get to Minamisatsuma town is to rent a car. Alternatively, take a bus from Kagoshima airport (鹿児島空港) to Minamisatsuma city.
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