- - - 10/21/2012 - - -

Togakushi Day2

Filed under: — Andy @ 5:10 am

As we left our Ryokan early in the morning on day 2 we headed towards the ‘middle shrine’. Near the shrine is one of the most famous Soba shops in all of Nagano. We wrote our names down on the waiting list and hoped to come back in the afternoon. After a brief stop at the shrine we took the hiking course to ‘mirror lake’. It was another perfect day for hiking with fall colors all around us. There was a bit of wind so the reflection was not great, but the view was still pretty amazing. After the lake it was off to Togakushi Ninja Village, a ninja themed amusement park where kids (and adults ;)) can enjoy being a ninja for the day. Tired from climbing around all the obstacle courses we stopped to relax in the local Onsen for a bit. We went back to the famous Soba place for lunch, and even though they had called our name a long time ago they still let us in without the standard 2 hour+ wait. After the delicious Soba lunch, we hiked to the two ‘lower shrines’. Finally, as we headed back to Nagano station and back home, we stopped to tour Zenkouji the large and famous 1,400 year old temple in Nagano city.

- - - 10/20/2012 - - -

Togakushi Day1

Filed under: — Andy @ 4:48 am

Over the weekend I visited Togakushi in Nagano. Togakushi is famous for it’s ninja heritage, famous shrines, delicious Soba, and challenging mountain. To think of it, with as long as I have been in Japan I am amazed I haven’t yet visited the area.

We started off the first morning bright and early at the Togakushi Ninja museum. Of course there was displays of ninja gear and such, but the ninja mystery house was the best part. Without a guide it was up to us to navigate through the house to the exit, which meant finding all the hidden doors, and passageways ourselves. After the museum, we headed off to walk the path to ‘Okusha’ or the ‘interior shrine’. From there it was up towards Mt. Togakushi. It was a full day’s climb with plenty of challenges and sights along the way. The best part was a section called ‘the ants crossing’, which was a very narrow rocky ridge with steep drops on both sides. Also, the fall colors on the mountain were amazing.

- - - 10/13/2012 - - -

Watane Ichi #2

Filed under: — Andy @ 1:09 am

The second Watane Market was very similar to the first one with many of the same booths and workshops yet still just as interesting. This time I brought along my girlfriend… We made our own plates, ate the delicious foods, did some yoga, and also made another hemp bracelet.

My friend and artist.

leather workshop

some of the good foods

designing our plates

getting ready for yoga

- - - 10/8/2012 - - -

Mt. Kumotori

Filed under: — Andy @ 12:48 am

For the three day weekend my friends and I did a two day climb of Mt. Kumotori. At over 2000 meters it is the highest mountain in the Tokyo area, but the peak also borders Saitama and Yamanashi.