Tag Archives: tag1

Jigokudani Monkey Park

With Spring sneaking up on us, we took a day trip up to Nagano prefecture to see the onsen monkeys! Even though most of the snow was gone, there were still plenty of monkeys to see. These are the ones  on the monkey cam so it was neat to see them up close.

Driving to Jigokudani Monkey Park

Driving to Jigokudani Monkey Park

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1.6km walk to the park – covered in ice. Guess it keeps the tour groups out.

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a monkey! in the snow!

No running by the pool!

No running by the pool!

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wet monkey

Hanging out

Hanging out

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monkey business behind the scenes

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having a hot drink of water

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but Mommmmm you checked for mites yesterday.

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Japanese macaque

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little monkey

 

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Historic Villages of Shirakawa

About 2 hrs from Gero is the historic village of Shirakawa. For a few weeks of the year, they illuminate the gassho-zukuri farmhouses. I had seen pictures on the internet, and it looked really cool, so we were game for the drive. Dietz and I hopped in the car, manned only with our phone GPS. It was snowing like crazy (and pretty cold) at Ogimachi, but it was beautiful. If you want to look at it when it’s not a winter wonderland, check it out here.

 

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The Shinkansen

Everyone knows that Japan is bullet train land. We have been lucky enough to hop a ride on it every now and again. It is fast, clean, quiet, and efficient… much like everything else in Japan. (cont’d)

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The Golden Pavilion

…wow! And it really is golden! (cont’d)

 

 

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伏見稲荷大社 – Fushimi Inari Shrine

The first stop in Kyoto was the Fushimi Inari Shrine. If you have ever seen pictures of Japan you probably have seen it! This shrine has hundreds of torii gates snaking along a path. It is very beautiful. We went early in the morning and the light coming down through the trees and over the gates made for a very beautiful experience.

In addition to walking through the gates we also went into the shrine and had the new company blessed by the priests. It was very calming to watch and participate in the ceremony. The name of the company was written on a piece of paper, the paper was brought in on a tray and then placed in front of the altar. Words were spoken over it and then a palm (?) branch was presented to us and it was placed on the table. Two claps, bow, two claps. At the end of the ceremony they gave us a small sip of saki.

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Koinobori

On the way back from lunch we saw a parking lot full of koinobori (windsocks in the shape of carp) that are flown to celebrate Children’s Day (May 5). The carp is a strong and powerful fish and is highly regarded in Japan. They fly the koinobori in honor of their sons, so they might grow up strong.

Koinobori

Flying in the wind!

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