Monday, July 26, 2010


We woke up early. Surprisingly we had a good night sleep with the sounds of rushing river outside.
We came down to eat our breakfast. The two kids were now labeled as "vegetarian", which is a bit funny considering Roy's food preferences.

Once again the setting was impressive and elaborate. We enjoyed breakfast, although the fact that it included rice made it easier on some of us.

We checked out of the hotel, and went for a hike. Outside was nice and cool (first time since we came to Japan!). We took a path that went upriver for 3km or so.

The path crossed areas that were more of a marsh than river. The morning fog hang over the water and gave the place a more mysterious feeling.

This time in the morning we didn't see the large crowds of people, although we did pass few people on the trail. Few times we passed groups that were dressed and geared for what look like a serious trek (large backpacks, heavy shows, and walking sticks). We felt surprisingly light (sandals and camera) compared with them.

We reached a place where the path went onto a wooden ramp over marshy lands.

In some places it took a rather strange twists to get through.

At one of these turns we suddenly run into a troop of monkeys. These are Japanese Macaque monkeys, that are well known for their intelligence.

They were arranged around the path, and were clearly using it for transportation, although they did get on and off of it. They were collecting some kind of plants (or bugs off the plants) along the road.

Some of them were more cautious of us, while others were not bothered by our presence.

One mother with a rather young baby was a bit off from the rest and totally ignoring us. One tourist was standing next to her and she simple walked around the tourist when we wanted to get to the next plant. The baby was very active and trying different things and also mimicking the mother's behaviors. He was was very very cute.

All the while, his mother was busy eating. She kept moving, and whenever he realized she is not next to him, he would jump and run to hide next to her.

We continued up-river and reached a pond.

This pond was known to people in the area for a long time and was considered a holy place where the spirits convene. There is a temple next to it (which we didn't visit), but instead toured around the pond.

It was very still and very clear. With beautiful reflection of beauty around it.

In the clear water fish swimming next to us seemed as though they were suspended in the air.

The pond ended in a small stream that made its way to the river.

We crossed the bridge and made our way back on the other side.

By now it was a bit hotter and there were more people around. We saw another monkey troop, but they were not as nice and run away from the crowds.

After finishing the train we began the long way to Tokyo. It involved a bus to the nearest town with rail service. From there a local rail to Matsumoto. There we reserved seats on the Shinkansen to Tokyo. We had an hour to get a nice lunch in a restaurant in the train station. We then boarded the train and in two hours were in Shinjuku, one of the busiest rail stations in Tokyo. From there we took a local subway to our hotel.

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