After lunch we headed up the mountain to the shrines. There are all kinds of shrines.
Our tour guide did a great job of describing them, I did a poor job of writing down what they were. I just took pictures ….
The colors were spectacular.
Japanese maples are prized in Canada, because they often do not survive in the harsh winter. Their leaves are very elegant.
A hidden face carved into the stairs.
At the shrine you can purchase your fortune. If you do not like what it says you tie it to this wall and the monks will burn it, banishing the bad fortune. The wall was very full …
The shrines are hundreds of years old and beautiful.
If I remember correctly, this one is dedicated to the Emperor.
NOVEMBER! Did I mention at the top of a mountain? Flowers!
A fun fact on why so many people suffer from hay fever in Japan:
Hay fever was relatively uncommon in Japan until the early 1960s. Shortly after World War II, reforestation policies resulted in large forests of cryptomeria and Japanese cypress trees, which were an important resource for the construction industry. As these trees matured, they started to produce large amounts of pollen. Peak production of pollen occurs in trees of 30 years and older. As the Japanese economy developed in the 1970s and 1980s, cheaper imported building materials decreased the demand for cryptomeria and Japanese cypress materials. This resulted in increasing forest density and aging trees, further contributing to pollen production and thus, hay fever. In 1970, about 50% of cryptomeria were more than 10 years old, and just 25% were more than 20 years old. By 2000, almost 85% of cryptomeria were over 20 years old, and more than 60% of trees were over 30 years old. This cryptomeria aging trend has continued since then, and though cryptomeria forest acreage has hardly increased since 1980, pollen production has continued to increase. Furthermore, urbanization of land in Japan led to increasing coverage of soft soil and grass land by concrete and asphalt. Pollen settling on such hard surfaces can easily be swept up again by winds to recirculate and contribute to hay fever. As a result, approximately 25 million people (about 20% of the population) currently suffer from this type of seasonal hay fever in Japan.
Once past the shrines, we went for a hike along the ridges. Big hay fever causing trees were everywhere.
And this guy was nowhere to be seen. He definitely was not cutting the trees down.
At one point we climbed up a large rock to see this guy.
Via a chain and these beautiful, polished tree roots.
As you would expect on a mountaintop, it is very peaceful.
And they were nice enough to carve steps for us to climb on the hiking trail.
With random shrines along the way.
As we finished the hike, we stopped off to enjoy some hot sake.
And marvel at the Japanese love of their dogs. Every dog was dressed for the chill. Every single dog … (smile)
A wonderful way to spend a fall day.