Nagano, Japan – Day 3(a)

start of the day
The day was still gloomy and I could not even see any sun 😦

JR East special
There is a promotional from Japan Rail East, 3 days flexible pass for only 10,000 Yen. This promotion runs from Sept 1 till Nov 30, 2010. You can choose the days you want to use the pass for all JR East network and the best thing is you can buy either before you go to Japan or after you arrive in Japan. But do remember to bring along your return e-ticket as proof but if you do forget it like me, just be nice to the customer service and they would be nice to you in return 🙂

perfect weather
Almost could not believe my eyes when my Shinkansen got out of Tokyo…PERFECT weather!

railway day 1

Nagano City is the capital of Nagano Prefecture and was the site of the Olympic Winter Games 1998. The city evolved as temple town around Zenkoji, Nagano’s most famous attraction and one of Japan’s most popular temples.

Japan guide
1st stop of the day would be Nagano City, the train station was celebrating Railway day as they were asking passengers to don their uniform and have photographs taken for keepsake…which I gamely did…

nagano JR station
Testing out the sweep panorama feature on my loaned Sony NEX 5 camera.

railway day
There was a small exhibition of sorts at the main area in which replica of the Nagano city with the different types of trains that run through the city were on displayed.

along nagano city
Decided to take a little detour in the city towards the next destination in the nice weather.

sewerage
As usual, the painted sewerage covers found across Japan.

salt packs
Amazed by the salt packs along the street for winter. Ain’t they preapared?

before zenkoji
After 1 hour of walking, finally arrived at Zenkoji. This would be the stretch of stores lined up selling the specialties in Nagano.

buns

Oyaki (おやき?) is a Japanese dumpling made from a fermented buckwheat dough wrapped around a stuffing of Japanese vegetables, fruit, or anko bean paste and then roasted on an iron pan. The resulting bun is then either steamed or broiled and eaten hot. Oyaki are popular and widely available in Nagano Prefecture which is famous for the dish.

Wiki

perfect weather
It was a nice 20 degrees that afternoon.

zenkoji 2

Zenkō-ji (善光寺) is a Buddhist temple located in Nagano, Japan. The temple was built in the 7th century. Nagano City, established in 1897, was originally a town built around the temple. Historically, the Zenkō-ji is perhaps most famous for its involvement in the battles between Uesugi Kenshin and Takeda Shingen in the 16th century, when it served as one of Kenshin’s bases of operations. Currently, the Zenkō-ji is one of the last few remaining pilgrimage sites in Japan.

Wki

zenkoji 1

The Rokujizō are located to the right of the Daikanjin. The Rokujizō are statues of the six Bodhisattvas, who gave up Buddhist enlightenment, in order to provide salvation to others. The Bodhisattvas are said to be able to commune with the six realms of hell, starvation, beasts, carnage, human beings and divine beings.

Wki

getting blessed
The incense burner in front of the Zenkō-ji. Visitors rub the incense smoke on their bodies for good health and fortune, which I did too 😛

zenkoji
More photos of the compound

soba crepes
Guess what, Soba Crepe!

nagano city train
The inter-city train (you cannot use your JR pass here) I thought I was transported back to the 60s!

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