2011 Taiwan Nagano 1 Japan

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Before flying to Taiwan, I had five days to spend so I took a night bus and visited Nagano, Japan. I picked Nagano because of its proximity to Tokyo (less than 2 hours if you use High speed train) and the place is known for its hot springs. Also, I was hoping to see fall foliages on the mountain side.

(1) 「野沢温泉」(Nozawa Onsen)

Nozawa Onsen is a famous hot spring resort town in Japan. There are 13 public hot spring baths (and many many private hot springs inside hotels and homes). The following is one of such public hot spring bath and the bath is maintained by the community. The use of the bath is free. it is customary to leave a small donation if the person is not staying in a hotel nearby.

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The temperature of the bath varied largely from scalding hot to mildly hot depending upon which public hot spring bath you were in.
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Each public hot spring bath has a shrine and a deity is inside. The deity is placed there to protect the bath.
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(2) 「浦野酒舗」須坂市 (Suzaka city, Nagano)

An old liquor store. It would be hard to know this is a liquor store if the big sign mentioning a local Sake (酒) brand was not there.
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Interesting store-front decoration. My guess is that the object is to repel evil spirits, but no way to confirm this.
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(3) 「苗名滝」妙高市(Myouko city, Nagano)

It is called "Nae-na" Fall. It was quite an impressive water fall. I had a good hike from a train station to get there and on the way back but all other people used cars to get there. There was a large parking lot just next to the bridge so that most people can reach to the water fall within 10 minutes from their car.
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(4) 「善光寺」(Nagano city, Nagano)

This is "Zenko-ji" temple. The photo is the top portion of its sanmon gate, which is a gate to the compound.
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In ancient times, business thrived by targeting pilgrims. It is still the same after many hundreds of years.
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This gate is "Niomon" gate because it hosts two Nio guardians.
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Today's devotees. Ice cream cones are their favorite.
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