Nagano’s Autumn Cinnamon
I feel like I’m running after the sunset’s shadow… Autumn seemed to be endless until now, but it cannot resist anymore to the winter. Air is fresh, dry, even brittle; slowly but inexorably, the snow has started sprinkling the top of the mountains. In Tokyo, it’s over, we can only see bare branches on the trees and the last dead leaves have been swept way a while ago.
But hopefuly there’s still a land resisting to the invader ! Here we are back in Nagano’s district, where remain the last and beautiful cinamon colors..
Mostly know for his ski resorts, Hakuba’s village is also a very nice place to be in the end of autumn. That’s where took place 1998’s Winter Olympic Games.
I have already been arround several times, to see an abandoned hospital and also to visit Matsumoto with some friends. While on the road, we had seen several lakes and even stopped by to take a few pictures, but we hadn’t taken the path around them. This time, the lakes and their surroundings are almost the unique purpose of our trip to Nagano !
Aoki’s Lake is the 3rd clearest lake in Japan. According to a legend, there would be a very deep hole in its center, connecting it to the Japan’s See, 40 kilometers away from there…really ?
Only 4 km away lies Kisaki’s Lake, which is even more beautiful in my opinion. The camping zone is a particularly magical place, completely deserted in this season : magnificent trees, crystal-clear water, perfect calm, and icing on the cake, the land is bathed by the morning sun.
I have the impression that many people get both lakes mixed up, because some very similar pictures or descriptions can be found for each of them. I hope I got that right 😉
Kagokawa’s River is a famous shooting point for Japanese photographers. But if I was living there, I would just love pacing up and down this river. All these places and landscapes remind me some child memories and week end treks in the Pyrénées mountains (France). If only we could find there a small inn serving good fondue !
There’s a last place that I absolutely wanted to visit…a swamp, about one or two hours driving across the moutains after Chino. That should be awesome.
But Shirabakas’s Lake, unexpectly found during the journey, has been a great surprise ! That’s a place with inns, resorts, and aquatic attractions. The lake itself is artificial.
For aventure seekers and explorers, there’s even a haikyo : a sort of freshly abandoned amusement park, really easy to find and to access (ok, fair warning, nothing comparable to Gukanjima ! ).
Between the lake and the foot of the moutain, there are many artists, especially painters and sculptors. They do run numerous galleries and workshops. The area is know as Yatsugatake, which is also the name of the extinct volcano that can be seen in the background on the left. It is said that this volcano was once higher than the Fuji-san, which later caught up with the Yatsugatake.
We have know fetched our destination : here are the Yashimagahara Swamps ! But…the place is actually the less impressive spot seen within the day. Inevitably, having visited the famous Senjogahara swamps a few days before, this one looks a bit dull. It is pretty small (one can make the path arroung in no more that an hour) and there’s only a small pond in the middle. The interesting discovery there has been these spindle flowers, that I noticed for the first time. Thanks by the way to those who helped me finding what that was on Totoro Times Facebook page.
We just have a last place to visit to celebrate the end of autumn. That’s a very special place which will remind us in the same time the remarkable beginning of another season in Japan (not winter !). Some ideas maybe ?
Traduction by Yersina.