Nagano July 2006

Saturday - Nagano July 2006


Saturday 29th July 2006

Spent the morning and early afternoon in Nagano city. Had a guided tour of Zenkoji temple, and then shojin ryori (buddhist monk's food) in one of the outlying buildings. After that we headed over to a town called Obose and tried our hand at glass engraving. We then rounded off the afternoon going for a bit of a drive to look at some waterfalls.

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09:59:58 This was the view from our hotel room in the morning - not hugely inspiring, but there were some nice misty mountains off in the distance.

11:22:52 This is mear near the entrance to the Zenkoji temple complex.

11:23:21 Chie had booked for us to have lunch at one of the shukuboh (temple lodgings) within the grounds, and to our surprise they'd put a sign out the front with Chie's name on, welcoming us.

12:04:37 This is one of the main gatehouses leading towards the temple, and in the foreground you can just about see Chie and our personal tour guide.

12:11:10 The main building of Zenkoji.

13:00:27 Unfortunately we couldn't take pictures inside, so here's a picture of as walking back again after our tour of the interior.

13:05:09 So Junchan joined us from here on, and we enjoyed a shojin ryori (Buddhist monk's food) lunch nearby the temple.

14:05:27 As it happened Junchan's car was parked the other side, so we had to walk past the temple again, and it seemed only right to get a couple more pictures in.

14:05:36 Same again in landscape, but perhaps with a bit too much ground!

14:07:09 An "arty" shot with some pebbles piled on a boulder, and a lantern in the background.

14:08:47 All of these lanterns seemed to have lots of pebbles piled on them.

14:08:53 Zenkoji from the back.

15:33:37 The next venue of the day was in a small town called Obose. Here there was a sort of glass engraving workshop, where we did a short engraving course.

15:34:06 Me and Chie with our works in progress.

15:59:55 This is me at the kind of engraving / sand blasting machine (I'm sure this has a proper name) which was used to permanently etch on our chosen patterns.

16:00:33 The side of my head, and a peek through the little window into the engraving chamber, err, thing.

16:00:39 You can just about see my hands in the special gloves at work here. It was like those cabinets scientists use to do experiments with deadly bacteria / radioactive substances.

16:01:04 I think Chie stood on a stool to take this one.

16:01:08 ...and more of the same.

16:07:10 Here's my finished article - a small jug (you know, the sort you use to pour water into whisky). The logo I put on (based on a stencil they supplied) is a Japanese fish called a Harisenbon - I think it's a kind of puffer / blow fish.

16:13:34 Chie hard at work.

16:13:46 The action going on inside the chamber.

16:32:11 A random picture of a house with a thatched rood, taken from the car after we left the glass engraving place.

16:40:13 Any set of pictures would seem desperately lacking, if it didn't include at least one shot of me being mauled by a giant metallic stag beetle.

17:21:29 The next stop on our tour took us up into the moutains a bit to see a couple of waterfalls. This is the first of the two, of the "appreciate as part of the scenery from a distance" variety.

17:21:56 Hmmm the effect of the waterfall is almost lost in this picture. Surprisingly even though it was right over the other side of this valley, we could still hear it from where we were standing.

17:22:13 A bit of a close-up.

17:22:31 I liked these wisps of clouds drifting across the heavily forest covered mountain side - very Asian looking to me.

17:23:19 The waterfall again, and a few wisps of clouds.

17:23:30 A glance down towards the bottom of the waterfall.

17:25:16 More wisps clouds drifting across almost jungle-esque mountain sides.

17:25:45 A scary looking spider on the handrail of the steps up to the viewing platform.

17:26:42 A picture of the sign to remember where it was we were - apparently Takayama village.

17:27:23 One last shot of those clouds etc before getting back in the car and heading on to the next waterfall.

17:31:21 So the second waterfall - the Kaminari Taki (Thunder Falls) was apparently on thr Matsukawa River.

17:34:21 Junchan heading down the steps towards the second waterfall.

17:34:51 This was of the "get right up to it and get soaked" variety of waterfall. It even had one of those sorts of caves that let you walk behind it - amazing.

17:35:18 The girls walking behind the waterfall. I'd only really seen this kind of thing in films before, so I was absolutely amazed by it. A bit difficult to get good photos though - we were right up against it so it was hard to take in the whole thing in a single shot, and also the light was a bit challenging.

17:35:25 It was coming down with some force!

17:35:49 This is taken from inside the cave - so I'm standing behind it here, looking through the waterfall. A bit difficult to get that across in a picture, but trust me it was quite breathtaking!

17:35:55 The girls in the cave behind the falls - unfortunately I forgot to include the actuall waterfall in this shot!


17:36:52 A better picture taken by Junchan of me and Chie - you can actually see some of the waterfall here.

17:37:34 Chie walking down the slippery steps to the viewing platform the other side of the fall.

17:38:00 Chie on the steps again.

17:38:10 So this is the waterfall as seen from the little viewing platform.

17:38:17 We were getting really soaked standing here!

17:39:31 A couple of attempts to get shots with us standing in front of the waterfall - although a bit difficult given that the viewing platform wasn't all that big!

17:39:52 Same again with me and Chie in.

17:40:50 The girls heading back up the stairs, while I waited down on the viewing platform to try and get a shot from below...

17:41:03 Not sure you can really see the girls here!

17:41:13 ...or here!

17:42:01 Not sure any of these pictures really do justice of the experience of actually being there - I can't say it enough, it was just amazing.

17:42:39 Hmmmm maybe this was taken by accident.

17:42:53 A view down to the river below, before heading off...