On the next morning checked out from Hirayu onsen ryokan and drove to Myoko Kogen via Matsumoto. First dropped by the Hirayu folk museum, followed by the Daio Wasabi farm in the outskirts of Matsumoto.
Wasabi can only survive in places with good water quality. The farm is huge and was featured in the movie “Dreams” by Kurosawa Akira in the 80s.
Arrived at Nojiri-ko, Niigata Prefecture and had Italian lunch at the lake rim. Though it was a hot day, the light breeze was very much welcomed. Afterwards, we visited the Nojiri Naumann Elephant museum which contains prehistoric fossils of animals including Mammoth Elephant, giant deers, which roamed the Earth 28K years ago. The fossils were excavated around Nojiri-ko.
Before hotel checkin we drove uphill to Naena falls, listed as one of top 100 waterfalls in Japan. Hiked for about 25 min. It was our second visit.
On the next morning after checkout, we dropped by Imori-ike with nice view of Mt Myoko as backdrop. The small pond was full of lotus flowers in full blossom.
Dropped by Kagami-ike (“Mirror pond”) in Togakushi briefly while returning to Nagano city. In latter, dropped by Zenko-ji again to have a glimpse of a stolen but recovered wooden Buddha statue, which is believed to possess healing power to whomever has touched it.
When we were in Japan in Dec 2022, it was reported in the local news that it was recovered in Kyushu after being stolen.
Had lunch in Nagano city and took Shinkansen back to Tokyo afterwards, where we stayed for 2 more days before returning to Hong Kong.
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