Nov 052007
 

Another day in Nagano. Lots of walking.

LOTS of it.

I got up late. I slept in until 9:30 a.m. because I was tired.

I’m sure Nagano has a lot of great Olympic-related sights, but I decided to skip those. It just didn’t do anything for me, and if I can’t ride the bobsled, what’s the point? (Also, I didn’t want to risk injury on the skating rink at M-Wave.)

Zenkoji

First off was Zenkoji Temple. It’s famous. Or at least the mobs and mobs of people there led me to believe that. It was pretty, but I didn’t get much more out of it than that. Maybe I’m suffering from temple burnout. It was just a huge crush of middle-aged and elderly people shuffling around in tour groups having their pictures taken in staged settings. The photographer would have bleachers set up in the standard “Here’s where I take the group picture” place, and they all lined up and dutifully went through with it.

Definitely not my cup of tea.

I did take a few pictures of it:

Heading to the temple:

Outside Zenkoji Temple

Looking back in the direction I just came:

Heading to Zenkoji Temple

The outer gate is impressive:

Zenkoji Temple, Outer Gate

You can see the inner gate in the distance. Here’s a shopping street full of restaurants and souvenir shops:

Zenkoji Temple, Shopping Area

Getting closer to the inner gate, but there’s nothing to see–it’s closed for renovation.

Zenkoji Temple, Inner Gate

Entering the temple (more shichi-go-san, but no children present today, just tour groups of seniors):

Zenkoji Temple, going in.

Turtles Chillin’ Out:

Zenkoji Temple, Turtles Relaxing.

Shots of Various Temple Buildings:

This is a backlit shot of the inner gate, if I remember correctly.

Zenkoji Temple

Zenkoji Temple

Zenkoji Temple

Zenkoji Temple

Heading out to JR Nagano:

Passing down the souvenir shop street again:

Zenkoji Temple, Heading Out.

Zenkoji Temple, Shopping Area.

After the 1.4 Km hike there, I took the bus to the station to get lunch and get some ideas for seeing mountains and scenic stuff. Something that didn’t involve mobs of tourists and bleachers. Since it was noon, the department store was open, so I bought some sandwiches and a chocolate croissant.

I took a few photos of the area around JR Nagano:

Downtown Nagano

Downtown Nagano

Downtown Nagano

Downtown Nagano

Okay, this post is getting long. Time to break it into two parts. Togakushi is in Part Two!

  2 Responses to “Nagano: Zenkoji and Togakushi: Part One, Zenkoji and Nagano”

  1. “Speaking of weird music. At 5 p.m. in Togakushi, I heard mysterious organ music, with no discernable source. It was some sort of church music, too, which is really odd for rural Japan, but I suppose there‚Äôs a perfectly good Japanese Reason for it.”

    Dude, that’s like the church bell or the town hall clock. Just telling people it’s 5pm. You usually get one in the morning about 9am too. The loudspeakers are also used for public announcements too, like, “Run, or you’ll all die”

  2. Yeah, I figured as much. I didn’t hear those sorts of things in other parts of Japan, but I was mostly in the bigger cities.

    When I was in Okazaki, I remember hearing the chimes from the local high school at random times during the day, but I never heard anything like the organ music in Togakushi.

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