Located in the geographical center of Japan, Ikushima-Tarushima Jinja worships the Shinto Deities Ikushima-no-okami, the God of Fertility and Vitality and Tarushima-no-okami, the God of Fulfilment. The architectural style of the main shrine is one of the oldest in Japan, located on a small island surrounded by a pond.
Visiting the complex shrine of Lake Suwa, the Suwa Taisha or Suwa Grand Shrine, dating back to the late 7th century as indicated in the Kojiki. Enshrouded by conflicting myths surrounding its Kami, I was particularly fond of the ancient ambience of these shrines.
Often overlooked castle in Nagano prefecture, Takashima Castle proves to be a little special due to its brown exterior. Though the donjon, yagura and castle gates are reconstructions, a visit to this castle is recommended if you are visiting the Lake Suwa area.
Quiet day at the Nyakuichioji Jinja in Omachi. In July, the shrine hosts the Nyakuichioji Jinja Reisai, a festival centering on kodomo yabusame (child horseback archery), which is rare in Japan.
An informative experience at the Chojiya Salt Road Museum, showcasing the life and materials from the Chikuni Kaido, the road used to transport salt from the sea of Japan to the old Shinano Province (now Nagano Prefecture).
Continuing my temples visit in Bessho Onsen, I visited Kitamuki Kannon, literally “Facing-North Kannon”, which is unusual as temples usually faces south. This Tendai sect. temple faces the Buddha statue in famous Zenkoji in Nagano directly and is popular as a love fulfillment spot.
Visiting Anraku-ji, the oldest Soto sect. of Zen Buddhism temple in Nagano which boost the only surviving octagonal pagoda in Japan. Located near Bessho Onsen, 30 minutes away from Ueda city, this temple deserves more attention for its history and links to Kencho-ji’s Rankei Doryu.
Hakuba in green season offers a plethora of outdoor activities such as hiking, kayaking, mountain-biking and more. I hiked to Happo-ike or Happo Pond on this clear weather to see the beautiful pond with the reflection of the Hakuba Sanzan – Mt. Shakushi, Mt. Yari, and Mt. Shirouma.
Continuing my hike in Kamikochi, from Kappabashi (Kappa Bridge) to Myojin-ike (Myojin Pond).
Awed by the beautiful autumn foliage, magnificent views of Northern Japan Alps, and the clear Azusa river in a day-trip hike in Kamikochi, part of the Chubu Sangaku National Park.
Admiring autumn leaves through a short hike from Togakushi-hokosha (lower shrine) to Togakushi-okusha (upper shrine), located in former Togakure, said to be the birthplace of the Togakure-ryu Ninja School.