Went away last weekend to Nagano with the fam. I asked them where they’d like to go if they had a weekend and this is what they picked. They picked it because of a TV show, Taiga Drama. It is a period drama, usually with lots of swords, horses, armor, and the like. This one is about a guy called Sanada Yukimura, who lived in Nagano.

I swear, the whole thing is a coordinated event between NHK (the public broadcasting company, like the BBC) and local tourism boards. A couple of years back, it was Iwate prefecture. Now it’sNagano’s turn.

I suppose it doesn’t really matter; I had such a good time.  Castles, temples, hidden mountain shrines. What’s not to like?

Below is Zenkoji Temple. The street leading up to it was very touristy, but tastefully period.




Togakushi Shrine is off the beaten path. You have to walk 2km to reach it. The path is surrounded by enormous cedar trees.


Togakushi walkway


The shrine itself is small, but just under these cliff like mountains. It is supposed to be the place where Amaterassu Omikami, the deity that created Japan is supposed to be from. The “to” part of Togakushi means door, and “gakushi” means to hide. So it’s a shrine with a hidden entrance in the mountains where the goddess of creation lives. Like I said before, what’s not to like?


Kitamuki Kannon temple is kilometers away from the Zenkouji temple and perfectly faces the first temple. Anyway, it’s very photogenic.







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