Usa Jingu lies on the Kunisaki Peninsula in northern Oita Prefecture. Founded in the year 725, Usa Jingu is the most important of all the Hachiman shrines.
A national treasure and "a sacred place," the shrine is identified with the legendary 3-4th century emperor of Japan, Emperor Ojin. My daughter and I have a deep interest in Japanese culture and history, and I appreciate the respect Japan shows for its heritage.
We began our self tour after I bought a cloth hat from a shopkeeper near the entrance. We then spent part of the afternoon slowly walking the grounds of the shrine and taking some pictures
When we had finished we were hot and tired, and we purchased some drinks from a vending machine. We sat on a bench and rested. That is where I must have left my money bag, a small zippered pouch decorated in a floral pattern.
A series of events transpired - discovery of the loss, a frantic search for loose yen to pay the bus fare, kind taxi drivers noticing our distress and directing us to a police box, filing a police report that took a long time due to language difficulties, a ride to the nearest 7/11 to use an international ATM, and being dropped off at the JR station.
After this, we took a taxi ride back to Usa Jingu and we ran towards the cement bench near the vending machine. The bench was empty. Our hopes dimming rapidly, we asked the hat vendor and the tea shop proprietors if anyone had turned in a small flowered pouch. Clearly sympathetic, the shopkeepers shook their heads. There was nothing else we could do, so we took the bus back to the JR and returned to Nakatsu, minus 90,000 yen ($900) and three lapel pins from a Fukuoka gashapon machine.
I guess this was a crime of opportunity. My mistake became someone's sudden windfall. I hope whoever took our money had a greater need than Amanda and me.
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