Hanamomo-no-sato is a large garden of peach trees located in the mountains of Nagano Prefecture. The best time to visit the region is at the end of April or at the beginning of May when the trees are in full bloom. At that time, the small village is filled with the white, pink, and red color of the peach flowers. It is a great place to do Ohanami, the Japanese picnic, so bring snacks to eat with your favorite beer or sake.
The Ikushimatarushima Shrine dates from the 9th century. The main prayer hall is built on a small island in the middle of a pond and most of the structures are of the classic vermillion red which is used to decorate shrines throughout Japan. The shrine structures, water elements, and vegetation blend beautifully.
I like to visit Japanese temples, rain or shine. Bad weather allows you to see things through a different light. It adds many little details to the overall experience. From water dripping off the roofs, statues and vegetation to the sound of wind going through trees and buildings. There is also less people, so you can visit at your pace, fast or slowly. I prefer the later since I tend to stop and take photos here and there. A very “Zen” experience!
Kitamuki Kannon is a lovely temple in the Beshoonsen area. There I got a new stamp in my Stamp Book which I update on-line when I get some time. It is quite practical for me since I tend to forget which stamp comes from which temple! I usually don’t write it down and rely on Ayako to tell me!
The Anrakuji temple’s fame comes from the wooden pagoda which was built without any screws or nails, a feat of ancient Japanese architecture!