2019年10月09日

'Lake Suwa', found in central Nagano Prefecture, is known as 'Omiwatari' Shinto ritual performed in severe winter.

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Lake Suwa, the perimeter of 17 kilometers, height above sea level of 760 meters and average depth of 4.7 meters, lies in Suwa Basin in Nagano Prefecture. It used to thickly freeze over the entire surface every winter, so that a military drill such as tank driving training and fighter taking off and landing training were carried out making the most of the thick ice. Repeated freezing over suddenly causes pressure ridges on the surface of the thick ice with a loud noise, which is called Omiwatari in this neighborhood. The locals thought these ice ridges must be the traces of a god and goddess of the shrine both sides of the lake. Two gods met each other in the middle of the lake on foot. This Omiwatari ritual dates back to the 12th century according to the old documents. However, the chance of their dating is dropping recently due to global warming.

Licensed tour guide, travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 09:22 | Nagoya and the central districts | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2019年10月07日

The history of 'Kamikochi', a leading mountainous scenic spot in Japan, dates back to 1896 when a British missionary, Walter Weston, introduced this place to the world.

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Walter Weston is known as the father of modern mountain-climbing in Japan. Because Japanese style mountain climbing was just for belief and discipline, or hunting at that time. He taught modern mountain climbing as a sport to Japanese people for the first time. Since then, many alpinists both within and outside Japan have started to visit here. When Higashi-Kunino-Miya, one of the princes of Japan, visited here in 1916, the mountain trails were largely repaired. Thanks to this environmental improvement program, Kamikochi has been widely known as a base of climbing as well as a scenic spot for common people. A flat highland expanding both sides of the Azusa 1,500 meters high above sea level, Kamikochi attracts more than 1.2 million visitors a year. There also stand many hotels, and the classic one in the second picture is the Kamikochi Imperial Hotel, the oldest high-end hotel here. The first picture shows the distant view of the peaks of the Hodaka over 3,000 meters high, Japan's third highest mountain range, seen from the central part of Kamikochi.

Licensed tour guide, travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 14:20 | Nagoya and the central districts | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする

2019年09月24日

'Shima-onsen' hot spring resort in Nakanojo Town, Gunma Prefecture, has been known for spa treatments since the 16th century.

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Shima means 40 thousands, which was named after the fact that this hot spring is effective against 40 thousand types of diseases. This resort town can be reached by car from nearby train station on JR Azuma-line, running on a 17km-long mountain road along Shima mountain stream. This road comes to the dead-end here in Shima area, and a nostalgic cozy resort town has been formed near the beautiful stream as shown in the second picture. Many people having a chronic disease strived to go up the gentle slope to Shima-onsen all the way from Nakanojo train station. The first picture shows 'Sekizenkan ryokan', one of the leading ryokans here. This originally was just for a spa treatment though, Sekizenkan also turns to be known as a high-end Japanese ryokan with a hot spring private bath after repeated extension works. A part of the old building and the oldest public bath room are designated as Registered Tangible Cultural Properties. This time-honored ryokan was depicted as a stage of 'Spirited Away' by Hayao Miyazaki, thus the young guests are frequently found recently.

Licensed tour guide, travel consultant,
Masahisa Takaki.

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posted by masahisa at 16:27 | Nagoya and the central districts | このブログの読者になる | 更新情報をチェックする