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Nagano and Togakushi

In the morning, we drove on south to Nagano where we saw the imposing Zenkoji temple, then ascending a steep mountain road with another spiral viaduct and tunnel system to Togakushi where there are a series of Shinto hill shrines in the misty wilderness. We stayed the night in the wooded entrance to a pilgrimage track back to Zenpo and in the morning walked in the misty rain to the uppermost shrine, a mile-long walk uphill to the base of a sheer escarpment where the shrine stood beside a tumbling stream.

Views of Zenkoji

In the courtyard there are a series of attached shrines, a pond with turtles and a number of Buddha statues.

Ancillary shrines in the courtyard

Altars of the ancillary shrines in the courtyard

School children playing water games in the fountain

The craft market street beside the temple

The road climbs steeply into the mountains ascending a spiral to gain extra height.

A view back from the mountains into the Nagano valley

Coming to the top of the pass we see the mountain above the Togakushi shrines

A little lake at the summit of the pass

The pastures overlooking Togakushi mountain were full of wild flowers

We stopped at a lower shrine on the road winding up to the mountaintop which had a huge flight of steps leading up through the forest hillside.

We then drove up the mountain road to where the entrances are to the distant shrines along the cliff face of the mountain.

A sacred cryptomeria tree.

The next morning we took an early walk for miles through the forest to one of the most distant shrines right at the foot of the mountain cliff face.

You can barely see the people in the far distance under the huge conifers.

Coming to the cliff-face shrine

Lunch in a secluded shelter in the park in the misty rain

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