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Newer Page 407 of 968 Older Full Trip Report
Japan Nagano Hiking Zenkoji

21 October 2016

It happened again

Hiking the hills behind Zenkoji

I really only intended to visit the big Temple. The Zenkoji temple is the main attraction in Nagano, so I thought I had better go take a look at the temple and the streets surrounding it selling plastic junk and Chinese made chopsticks.
I could not find where to pay, I read online it costs about $5, but I didnt pay anyone anything and just wandered about for a few minutes.
Thats about all the time it takes to see a temple really, and that includes pondering time, going around it in both directions, and using the free bathroom.
The hill behind it looked nice.

I really had no intention of climbing anything today, as my photos show, I wasnt even wearing my proper hiking boots, just my minimalist low sided lightweight urban slippers.
However since I awoke at 5am and had finished looking at the temple by 7:30, I decided to see if there was a way up the hill. There was, and it was great.

After a 90 minute ascent, the top turned out to be an abandoned building, with a completely overgrown carpark, and signs that had all been removed. No vending machine for a drink (I had no water).
This was very strange, I thought it was an excellent hike, lots to see, not dangerous, and theres even a different path to take back down. I never saw anyone of course. I guess Japanese people only play Pokemon Go now or something.
Pokemon Go caused the big building on top of the mountain which is the only place you can admire the view below from to close down. Shame on Nintendo.

After going down the different path, I found it let out one street over from where I started, so I went back through the temple and waded through the masses of tour groups, as a new feature they had constructed a 4 tier stadium for tour groups to amass upon and have their photo taken.
Also there were children dressed in traditional clothes screaming a lot, very unusual to see screaming children in Japan. Perhaps they were cermonial robes for sacrificial children.

UPDATE: I was sitting here using my laptop with the tv on barely audible, when the tv made a strange alarm like noise, a map of Japan with a dot appeared on it, and seconds later every channel was interupted by live earthquake news.
It seems there was a 6.6 magnitude earthquake about 300km west of here. The webcam footage they somehow have on tv seconds later makes it look impressive, but it seems there was no damage.
Despite the map of Japan suggesting Nagano felt it as magnitude 2, I felt nothing.

Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - This is the main expesive boutique steet in Nagano for purchasing wedding dresses and jam. I believe its called Chuo Dori. If you need anything beside

This is the main expesive boutique steet in Nagano for purchasing wedding dresses and jam. I believe its called Chuo Dori. If you need anything besides a wedding dress or jam, look elsewhere.


Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - The Daimon Gate. Cool name for a gate. Note that guy in front of me with the backpack. Wherever I would go, he would follow. Then go in front of me an

The Daimon Gate. Cool name for a gate.
Note that guy in front of me with the backpack. Wherever I would go, he would follow. Then go in front of me and stand there. This happened on at least 9 occasions, even if I doubled back or went sideways.
Eventually I just pushed him down the stairs.


Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - Nice view, including red tree of course.

Nice view, including red tree of course.


Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - DRONE DISABLED

DRONE DISABLED


Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - Todays version of bear panic signage is obviously drone panic signage. Sign companies in Japan are worth billions.

Todays version of bear panic signage is obviously drone panic signage. Sign companies in Japan are worth billions.


Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - Here he is again!

Here he is again!


Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - More of the temple.

More of the temple.


Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - This is nothing to do with the temple and is just an office building built near the temple to pretend its part of the temple.

This is nothing to do with the temple and is just an office building built near the temple to pretend its part of the temple.


Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - Now I am looking for my path up the hill, first I went through a graveyard with a great view.

Now I am looking for my path up the hill, first I went through a graveyard with a great view.


Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - Then I found my excellent path. Steep in places but mainly switch backs. As far as I can tell, the area is part of the national historic highland fore

Then I found my excellent path. Steep in places but mainly switch backs. As far as I can tell, the area is part of the national historic highland forest area for the preservation of nationally significant acorns, pine cones and associated seed pods which may fall from trees at certain times during the year.


Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - Evidence that I am wearing the wrong shoes for this kind of activty. These shoes are designed so you can feel through the sole what you are walking on

Evidence that I am wearing the wrong shoes for this kind of activty. These shoes are designed so you can feel through the sole what you are walking on.
Every acorn is what I felt. They do however have a nice rubber enclosed toe area, in case I need to kick an advancing bear in the face.


Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - I saw no people, but I saw lots of evidence people do at some point use this path. If you light the paper crane at the bottom you can make a prayer th

I saw no people, but I saw lots of evidence people do at some point use this path. If you light the paper crane at the bottom you can make a prayer that they will all burn, and they will.


Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - The path is a lot lower down than yesterday, but theres still plenty of color to admire if thats your thing. I paused to listen to falling leaves.

The path is a lot lower down than yesterday, but theres still plenty of color to admire if thats your thing. I paused to listen to falling leaves.


Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - <a href=https://falseguide.com/japan6/c-149.jpg>Link to Hi Resolution 3000x2000 version</a> This is only about half way up, but the view is impressive

Link to Hi Resolution 3000x2000 version
This is only about half way up, but the view is impressive. Nagano looks massive from here. Luckily I took this photo, because there is absolutely no view at the top.


Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - Instead the top has this building. Presumably the view is great from the top of this building, but its completel abandoned. The car park was all crack

Instead the top has this building. Presumably the view is great from the top of this building, but its completel abandoned. The car park was all cracked with huge weeds growing out of it, and all the signage had been removed. I wanted to break in and climb to the top.


Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - The pathway down lead me through some farming areas. With no one around, it would have been pretty easy to steal some wheat and make my own Soba.

The pathway down lead me through some farming areas. With no one around, it would have been pretty easy to steal some wheat and make my own Soba.


Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - Eventually I got to a nice park, which filled up with school children, so I had to leave before I was reported to the police for hanging around school

Eventually I got to a nice park, which filled up with school children, so I had to leave before I was reported to the police for hanging around school children.


Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - The temple area shops were now all open and full of people stocking up on commerative pens, fans and hair clips.

The temple area shops were now all open and full of people stocking up on commerative pens, fans and hair clips.


Japan-Nagano-Hiking-Zenkoji - At lunch time, I thought the covered shopping street might have people, but no. A few are using it as a way to avoid the sun, but it is still ridiculo

At lunch time, I thought the covered shopping street might have people, but no. A few are using it as a way to avoid the sun, but it is still ridiculously quiet. Its Friday afternoon, surely people go out to lunch? Where do they go? The subway store seemed full.


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