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Paul Garcia

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- At the end of the avenue of the red cedar trees is this. Oku-sha. Upper Togakushi Shrine. Right behind it is Mount Togakushi (1,900 meters above sea level). If I'm being honest, I wanted to walk further and head up there as well. But the area is corded so I assume you'd have to ask permission from the shrine staff. (This is a religious site after all.) And you'd have to have proper climbing gear because the mountain is basically a rock wall. Google Maps had at least one photo taken from up there, so a climb is possible. But maybe I'll leave that up to the experts. . #togakushi #okusha #shrine #japaneseshrine #cedar #trees #mountain #japanalps #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow
- At the end of the avenue of the red cedar trees is this. Oku-sha. Upper Togakushi Shrine. Right behind it is Mount Togakushi (1,900 meters above sea level). If I& #39;m being honest, I wanted to walk further and head up there as well. But the area is corded so I assume you& #39;d have to ask permission from the shrine staff. (This is a religious site after all.) And you& #39;d have to have proper climbing gear because the mountain is basically a rock wall. Google Maps had at least one photo taken from up there, so a climb is possible. But maybe I& #39;ll leave that up to the experts. . #togakushi #okusha #shrine #japaneseshrine #cedar #trees #mountain #japanalps #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow
- At the end of the avenue of the red cedar trees is this. Oku-sha. Upper Togakushi Shrine. Right behind it is Mount Togakushi (1,900 meters above sea level). If I'm being honest, I wanted to walk further and head up there as well. But the area is corded so I assume you'd have to ask permission from the shrine staff. (This is a religious site after all.) And you'd have to have proper climbing gear because the mountain is basically a rock wall. Google Maps had at least one photo taken from up there, so a climb is possible. But maybe I'll leave that up to the experts. . #togakushi #okusha #shrine #japaneseshrine #cedar #trees #mountain #japanalps #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow
- Once in a while I'd hear a clap. Just one, maybe two. Someone slapping his or her palms together. I'd look for the nearest shrine and chances are, someone's there praying. It's an ancient practice, I understand. A form of reverence for the 'kami', the Shinto dieties. I suppose the kami would hear you better when you pray in shrines like Togakushi Oku-sha. High up in the mountains. Deep in the woods. It's quiet, isolated. . #togakushi #okusha #shrine #japaneseshrine #cedar #trees #mountain #japanalps #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow #religion #shinto
- Once in a while I& #39;d hear a clap. Just one, maybe two. Someone slapping his or her palms together. I& #39;d look for the nearest shrine and chances are, someone& #39;s there praying. It& #39;s an ancient practice, I understand. A form of reverence for the & #39;kami & #39; , the Shinto dieties. I suppose the kami would hear you better when you pray in shrines like Togakushi Oku-sha. High up in the mountains. Deep in the woods. It& #39;s quiet, isolated. . #togakushi #okusha #shrine #japaneseshrine #cedar #trees #mountain #japanalps #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow #religion #shinto
- Once in a while I'd hear a clap. Just one, maybe two. Someone slapping his or her palms together. I'd look for the nearest shrine and chances are, someone's there praying. It's an ancient practice, I understand. A form of reverence for the 'kami', the Shinto dieties. I suppose the kami would hear you better when you pray in shrines like Togakushi Oku-sha. High up in the mountains. Deep in the woods. It's quiet, isolated. . #togakushi #okusha #shrine #japaneseshrine #cedar #trees #mountain #japanalps #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow #religion #shinto
- Sloped torii. Found along one side of the inclined, tree-lined, snow-dusted trail to Oku-sha in Togakushi. I'd see the Japanese bow as they enter or exit gates like this. I was to learn later that the torii, especially so in very spiritual places like this, marks the border between the holy and the worldly. . #themoreyouknow #TIL #togakushi #okusha #shrine #japaneseshrine #cedar #trees #mountain #japanalps #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow #torii #toriigate
- Sloped torii. Found along one side of the inclined, tree-lined, snow-dusted trail to Oku-sha in Togakushi. I& #39;d see the Japanese bow as they enter or exit gates like this. I was to learn later that the torii, especially so in very spiritual places like this, marks the border between the holy and the worldly. . #themoreyouknow #TIL #togakushi #okusha #shrine #japaneseshrine #cedar #trees #mountain #japanalps #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow #torii #toriigate
- Sloped torii. Found along one side of the inclined, tree-lined, snow-dusted trail to Oku-sha in Togakushi. I'd see the Japanese bow as they enter or exit gates like this. I was to learn later that the torii, especially so in very spiritual places like this, marks the border between the holy and the worldly. . #themoreyouknow #TIL #togakushi #okusha #shrine #japaneseshrine #cedar #trees #mountain #japanalps #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow #torii #toriigate
- I always go back to that 2012 NYT article about 'thin' places. The essay, quoting a Celtic saying, said that heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in thin places, that distance is even shorter. It's where we're able to catch glimpses of the divine, whatever your version of the 'divine' is. Maybe the Japanese knew something about those sort of places, too. So they created a set of shrines on this serrated mountain, Togakushi. The highest shrine, Oku-sha, is at the end of this avenue of 400-year old red cedar trees. There are a few places like this in the world.Β I find that for me, those places are where I'm shrunk down to next to nothing. A pebble, a speck of dust. Maybe it's why I like mountains and the outdoors so much. Everything is so larger than life that I'm forced to accept that what I have, problems and other worldly concerns, mean very little. Nothing. . #togakushi #okusha #shrine #japaneseshrine #cedar #trees #mountain #japanalps #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow
- I always go back to that 2012 NYT article about & #39;thin & #39; places. The essay, quoting a Celtic saying, said that heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in thin places, that distance is even shorter. It& #39;s where we& #39;re able to catch glimpses of the divine, whatever your version of the & #39;divine & #39; is. Maybe the Japanese knew something about those sort of places, too. So they created a set of shrines on this serrated mountain, Togakushi. The highest shrine, Oku-sha, is at the end of this avenue of 400-year old red cedar trees. There are a few places like this in the world.Β I find that for me, those places are where I& #39;m shrunk down to next to nothing. A pebble, a speck of dust. Maybe it& #39;s why I like mountains and the outdoors so much. Everything is so larger than life that I& #39;m forced to accept that what I have, problems and other worldly concerns, mean very little. Nothing. . #togakushi #okusha #shrine #japaneseshrine #cedar #trees #mountain #japanalps #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow
- I always go back to that 2012 NYT article about 'thin' places. The essay, quoting a Celtic saying, said that heaven and earth are only three feet apart, but in thin places, that distance is even shorter. It's where we're able to catch glimpses of the divine, whatever your version of the 'divine' is. Maybe the Japanese knew something about those sort of places, too. So they created a set of shrines on this serrated mountain, Togakushi. The highest shrine, Oku-sha, is at the end of this avenue of 400-year old red cedar trees. There are a few places like this in the world.Β I find that for me, those places are where I'm shrunk down to next to nothing. A pebble, a speck of dust. Maybe it's why I like mountains and the outdoors so much. Everything is so larger than life that I'm forced to accept that what I have, problems and other worldly concerns, mean very little. Nothing. . #togakushi #okusha #shrine #japaneseshrine #cedar #trees #mountain #japanalps #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow
- And they're gone. That's their hot spring pool right there. After about an hour, many of the snow monkeys went up the mountain, some went downstream to play around in the river. Though it was midday so maybe they would return later on when the day gets colder. It was pretty cold already, if I may say so myself. Could've definitely used a hot spring bath then, especially in this setting. Pretty sweet bathing spot TBH. #japan #jigokudani #nagano #yamanouchi #snowmonkey #travel #traveljapan #japantravel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #hotsprings #hotspring
- And they& #39;re gone. That& #39;s their hot spring pool right there. After about an hour, many of the snow monkeys went up the mountain, some went downstream to play around in the river. Though it was midday so maybe they would return later on when the day gets colder. It was pretty cold already, if I may say so myself. Could& #39;ve definitely used a hot spring bath then, especially in this setting. Pretty sweet bathing spot TBH. #japan #jigokudani #nagano #yamanouchi #snowmonkey #travel #traveljapan #japantravel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #hotsprings #hotspring
- And they're gone. That's their hot spring pool right there. After about an hour, many of the snow monkeys went up the mountain, some went downstream to play around in the river. Though it was midday so maybe they would return later on when the day gets colder. It was pretty cold already, if I may say so myself. Could've definitely used a hot spring bath then, especially in this setting. Pretty sweet bathing spot TBH. #japan #jigokudani #nagano #yamanouchi #snowmonkey #travel #traveljapan #japantravel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #hotsprings #hotspring
- Snow monkeyssss! 😍 πŸ΅πŸ’πŸ΅πŸ’πŸ˜ . Not a big fan of animal attractions because in most cases, captives experience abuse all for the benefit of tourists like me. I made an exception this time because these Japanese macaques are free to come and go. We were lucky that they are even here in the valley because it's autumn when they're up in the mountains eating and fattening up for the coming winter. . Also, mating. Which kind of explains the extra agressive behavior (they have fights!) that park staff warn visitors about. These are very much wild animals, so things like sticking your cameras to their faces (I have a superzoom), touching them, or even gesturing with your two hands that you want to cuddle and carry them πŸ€— are dumb and ill-advised. . One could argue that they are partly 'domesticated' because they are fed nuts and berries by park staff to entice them to stay in the valley. One might be correct. Though official park statement said that this provides a source of nutrition especially during the snowy months when there is very little food out there. Debatable, sure. And if any wildlife expert can enlighten this casual tourist, by all means. . Winter is the best time to see them because they will most likely be bathing, peacefully chilling in the hot springs. . #japan #jigokudani #nagano #snowmonkey #macaque #japanesemacaque #hotspring #travel #wildlife #monkey #monkeys #traveljapan #japantravel #getoutside #outdoors
- Snow monkeyssss! 😍 πŸ΅πŸ’πŸ΅πŸ’πŸ˜ . Not a big fan of animal attractions because in most cases, captives experience abuse all for the benefit of tourists like me. I made an exception this time because these Japanese macaques are free to come and go. We were lucky that they are even here in the valley because it& #39;s autumn when they& #39;re up in the mountains eating and fattening up for the coming winter. . Also, mating. Which kind of explains the extra agressive behavior (they have fights!) that park staff warn visitors about. These are very much wild animals, so things like sticking your cameras to their faces (I have a superzoom), touching them, or even gesturing with your two hands that you want to cuddle and carry them πŸ€— are dumb and ill-advised. . One could argue that they are partly & #39;domesticated & #39; because they are fed nuts and berries by park staff to entice them to stay in the valley. One might be correct. Though official park statement said that this provides a source of nutrition especially during the snowy months when there is very little food out there. Debatable, sure. And if any wildlife expert can enlighten this casual tourist, by all means. . Winter is the best time to see them because they will most likely be bathing, peacefully chilling in the hot springs. . #japan #jigokudani #nagano #snowmonkey #macaque #japanesemacaque #hotspring #travel #wildlife #monkey #monkeys #traveljapan #japantravel #getoutside #outdoors
- Snow monkeyssss! 😍 πŸ΅πŸ’πŸ΅πŸ’πŸ˜ . Not a big fan of animal attractions because in most cases, captives experience abuse all for the benefit of tourists like me. I made an exception this time because these Japanese macaques are free to come and go. We were lucky that they are even here in the valley because it's autumn when they're up in the mountains eating and fattening up for the coming winter. . Also, mating. Which kind of explains the extra agressive behavior (they have fights!) that park staff warn visitors about. These are very much wild animals, so things like sticking your cameras to their faces (I have a superzoom), touching them, or even gesturing with your two hands that you want to cuddle and carry them πŸ€— are dumb and ill-advised. . One could argue that they are partly 'domesticated' because they are fed nuts and berries by park staff to entice them to stay in the valley. One might be correct. Though official park statement said that this provides a source of nutrition especially during the snowy months when there is very little food out there. Debatable, sure. And if any wildlife expert can enlighten this casual tourist, by all means. . Winter is the best time to see them because they will most likely be bathing, peacefully chilling in the hot springs. . #japan #jigokudani #nagano #snowmonkey #macaque #japanesemacaque #hotspring #travel #wildlife #monkey #monkeys #traveljapan #japantravel #getoutside #outdoors
- Big, deep realization I had looking at this sunset. It really hit me right there and then. How could I have missed it up until that moment? . . . I need to get a steadicam, or one of them steadicam mounts for my phone. πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜… . . . Kamikochi sunset for the books! #chubumountainsnationalpark #chubumountains #chogatake #kamikochi #hotaka #japanalps #kitaalps #hidamountains #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow #sunset
- Big, deep realization I had looking at this sunset. It really hit me right there and then. How could I have missed it up until that moment? . . . I need to get a steadicam, or one of them steadicam mounts for my phone. πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜… . . . Kamikochi sunset for the books! #chubumountainsnationalpark #chubumountains #chogatake #kamikochi #hotaka #japanalps #kitaalps #hidamountains #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow #sunset
- Big, deep realization I had looking at this sunset. It really hit me right there and then. How could I have missed it up until that moment? . . . I need to get a steadicam, or one of them steadicam mounts for my phone. πŸ˜…πŸ˜…πŸ˜… . . . Kamikochi sunset for the books! #chubumountainsnationalpark #chubumountains #chogatake #kamikochi #hotaka #japanalps #kitaalps #hidamountains #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow #sunset
- The view from the highest spot on the trail from which I decided to turn back. I climbed this the third day I was in Kamikochi, a second hike to reach another peak. I was close to the finish line, too. The top of active volcano Yakedake (second photo) was only a couple hundred meters away. But the looming rain, which turned out to be a storm in another part of Japan, and the steep, precarious trails augmented by steel ladders and ropes, where one wrong step could easily spell serious trouble, just did not feel right for this solo hiker. So I turned back. It's very hard to do that. Decide, for one's own safety, to turn back. But solo hikers like me, I think, need that protocol. Something doesn't feel right? Turn back. Climb the mountain another day. I'm still trying to make it so I assign an equal amount of achievement to both reaching the finish line and to turning back for safety. It's a process. #chubumountainsnationalpark #chubumountains #chogatake #kamikochi #hotaka #japanalps #kitaalps #hidamountains #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow #yakedake #mountyake #mtyake
- The view from the highest spot on the trail from which I decided to turn back. I climbed this the third day I was in Kamikochi, a second hike to reach another peak. I was close to the finish line, too. The top of active volcano Yakedake (second photo) was only a couple hundred meters away. But the looming rain, which turned out to be a storm in another part of Japan, and the steep, precarious trails augmented by steel ladders and ropes, where one wrong step could easily spell serious trouble, just did not feel right for this solo hiker. So I turned back. It& #39;s very hard to do that. Decide, for one& #39;s own safety, to turn back. But solo hikers like me, I think, need that protocol. Something doesn& #39;t feel right? Turn back. Climb the mountain another day. I& #39;m still trying to make it so I assign an equal amount of achievement to both reaching the finish line and to turning back for safety. It& #39;s a process. #chubumountainsnationalpark #chubumountains #chogatake #kamikochi #hotaka #japanalps #kitaalps #hidamountains #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow #yakedake #mountyake #mtyake
- The view from the highest spot on the trail from which I decided to turn back. I climbed this the third day I was in Kamikochi, a second hike to reach another peak. I was close to the finish line, too. The top of active volcano Yakedake (second photo) was only a couple hundred meters away. But the looming rain, which turned out to be a storm in another part of Japan, and the steep, precarious trails augmented by steel ladders and ropes, where one wrong step could easily spell serious trouble, just did not feel right for this solo hiker. So I turned back. It's very hard to do that. Decide, for one's own safety, to turn back. But solo hikers like me, I think, need that protocol. Something doesn't feel right? Turn back. Climb the mountain another day. I'm still trying to make it so I assign an equal amount of achievement to both reaching the finish line and to turning back for safety. It's a process. #chubumountainsnationalpark #chubumountains #chogatake #kamikochi #hotaka #japanalps #kitaalps #hidamountains #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow #yakedake #mountyake #mtyake
- The ever present dwarf bamboo in the forest floor of Kamikochi. Climbing up, they're sort of my reminder that I have ways to go up the mountain. Which can be a bummer. Climbing down though, once I start seeing these, I knew I was close to the finish line. Which is good, but also sad. Which makes me want to do another hike, and another, and another. #chubumountainsnationalpark #chubumountains #chogatake #kamikochi #hotaka #japanalps #kitaalps #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow #hidamountains
- The ever present dwarf bamboo in the forest floor of Kamikochi. Climbing up, they& #39;re sort of my reminder that I have ways to go up the mountain. Which can be a bummer. Climbing down though, once I start seeing these, I knew I was close to the finish line. Which is good, but also sad. Which makes me want to do another hike, and another, and another. #chubumountainsnationalpark #chubumountains #chogatake #kamikochi #hotaka #japanalps #kitaalps #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow #hidamountains
- The ever present dwarf bamboo in the forest floor of Kamikochi. Climbing up, they're sort of my reminder that I have ways to go up the mountain. Which can be a bummer. Climbing down though, once I start seeing these, I knew I was close to the finish line. Which is good, but also sad. Which makes me want to do another hike, and another, and another. #chubumountainsnationalpark #chubumountains #chogatake #kamikochi #hotaka #japanalps #kitaalps #nagano #japan #hike #hiking #trek #trekking #mountain #japantravel #traveljapan #travel #outdoors #getoutside #autumn #fall #snow #hidamountains

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