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  • Day20

    Bears

    May 28, 2016 in Japan ⋅ ☁️ 12 °C

    One of the things i was most anxious to see in the Nagano area was Togakushi. A shrine in a forested mountainous area just about an hour away from Nagano. Marina helped me out with all the bus schedules and gave me some great tips on where to get some delicious cold soba noodles. The busstop from Nagano station was a bit tricky to find but i got there on time to buy a busticket and be on my way. There are a total of 5 shrines to be visited and i had planned for at least 3. The first two are just a straight 30 minute walk away from the entrance of the park and consisted mainly of a beautiful walk on a path through gigantic, hundreds of years old trees. The sunny weather made it even better. I got some nice seals for my goshuincho and walked back to the big entrance gate where the paths split up to some nice single tracks through the woods. An absolutely wonderful walk, that is until i saw the big sign with kanji and hiragana printed big and red and a picture of a bear. Now i would not say that i was nervous or scared but i walked the trail roughly twice as fast as indicated on the map. After a while i calmed down a bit and actually enjoyed the wonderful sight of some small lakes and shrines right in the middle of the woods. I ended up at the last shrine and after seeing what i believed was a wedding, i headed to the restaurant that Marina recommended to me. Now cold soba is a specialty of that area but this one had also a dipping soup/broth/sauce that was made of ground up walnut. You just pick up the soba and dip it into the walnut mix. It's so incredibly tasty. The people at the table behind me must have heard me grunt of joy while is was eating. I got back just in time for the bus to Nagano and after a day of walking i just fell asleep in the bus. (just like most locals. When in Rome... ;-)) Before heading back to the guest house i made a quick stop at Zenko-ji temple. I had been here befor at my first stay in Suzaka but had not been able to get a seal for my book. After that it was off to the guest house where some new people from Germany and Canada had arrived and another great evening with talks and beers followed. This is getting repetitive. ;-)Read more