Friday, December 28, 2012

Zenko-ji in Nagano

In the morning we immediately walked to Tokyo Station, reserved our seats with our JR passes and got a Shinkansen train to Nagano.  Shinkansen trains go up to 130 mph.  Why do we not have these in the States?!

I love that you can get hot drinks in vending machines.  This hot coffee with milk (in a can) was delicious, and so convenient. 
Just an hour and a half later we arrived at our destination.  Nagano is the base for all of the ski resorts in this prefecture.  We were not planning on staying but they have large coin lockers at the train station (koin rokka in Japanese) and a cool temple nearby so we took a quick train break. 
The walk to the temple is basically just one street, about 2 km, with lots of interesting sights along the way. 
Nagano is very proud to have hosted the winter Olympics in 1998. 
But this has just reminded Fred that he wants to be in the Olympics before he dies.  He has decided that the senior Olympics may be his only hope.
This is the entrance to Zenko-ji, a Buddhist temple founded in the seventh century.
A rice ball with miso.
We had about an hour before our train left for Yudanaka so we stopped in for a bite to eat.  The lady taking our order didn't speak English so we had to go outside to order, by pointing to plastic food items on display.  No, we did not point to the appetizer above... it was a gift!  Deep fried fish spine, I think.  Mmmmmm?

1 comment:

  1. What a great start to your Asian adventure. I, too, remember fondly the vending machines in Japan. The hot coffee, soup, noodles. What a great idea and at each rest stop, we would search them out. Japan has become infamous for its vending machines. Pictures of ever stranger items being sold, such as batteries, eggs, or even underwear can be found almost everywhere.

    Nothing is as strange as the "gift" of fish spines. Wow. I had a hard time there with some of the food.

    Looks like you've hit the ground running, as usual. I love it all.


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