15th February: Nagano

Though most of the group went back to the snow monkeys, I was amongst those who elected to explore Nagano.

Here, we are looking straight up at a dragon carved above the wooden gate of a temple.

From near the first image but looking in the opposite direction, we are above the roofs of the town.  There are the traditional windows behind the elegant street lamps, overhead wires and a stray television aerial.    The roofs are covered in heavy snow with footprints, two stories above the street.  Some would be birds and some appear clearly human.

A strange figure at the side of the road.  Perhaps a hermaphroditic bear clutching a flask of saki.

Street scene

Not a bus stop.

This is a place at the side of the street to soak your feet in warm thermal water.  The natural hot spring water comes out of the bamboo tube into the stone bowl and thence down the channel to the trough.  I would guess that the stone bowl would also be a place to rinse your hands and warm them up.

Beware when you walk the streets at night…

This is close to the preceding photograph and probably associated with a Shinto shrine but I don’t remember the precise context.

Looking through an ancient gate.  We looked through some gates in Kyoto and Nara to sublimely arranged Zen gardens but I don’t think there is any particular rearrangement of nature going on here.

Onsen-ji Temple

This is Onsen-ji Temple (or Hot Spring Temple).  As it happens, this is the 1,000th image I have posted in this blog.

In front of Onsen-ji at the right, this I presume is a female Bodhisattva, in the falling snow.

This is Onsen-ji‘s great brass bell.  Not for the use of the public, of course.

We are ten or twelve kilometres from the centre of Nagano city here, in an old area close to Jigokudani Snow Monkeys ParkNagano itself originally formed around the Zenko-ji Buddhist Temple in the seventh century.   The area was also the site of the ferocious Battle of Kawanakajima in the Sengoku or Warring States Period.  More recently, Nagano hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics.

Street scene

Street scene

This is at the side of the road.  I think it is part of a Shinto Shrine and people would make a donation for the small wooden plates, then inscribe them as a wish fulfillment exercise.


An onsen (hot baths) on the street.  The door at the right is the entrance for males.

A view up the valley.  I imagine there could be quite a torrent here in flood when the snow melts.  That would be a ski slope on the hill in the distance.  Certainly not a glacier.

In a carpark I found a map of Australia, courtesy of snow, tarmac and tyres.  Just missing the top of Queensland and a bit more definition for the Gulf of Carpentaria.

One comment on “15th February: Nagano

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