Goshuin numbers 13 and 14 are from the 戸隠神社奥社 (Togakushi Jinjya Okusha) and the Kuzuryusha, the same as stamps 8 and 9. As impressive as the path to the shrines are in summer or fall, it might be even more impressive in the winter, when there’s about two, two-and-a-half feet of snow on the ground. I wasn’t sure we’d even be able to access them because of the snow!
My fears were unfounded, though, because when we got to the entrance, we saw a narrow, one-person-wide path had been pounded into the snow by the visitors who had come before us. The size of the path meant that if you ran into someone going the opposite direction as you, someone was gonna have to step off the path. And that meant sinking probably another six inches below the path. Hunter and I had lots of fun stepping off the path, to the gratitude of the people who passed us.
I was in awe of the amount of snow on the ground; so was Hunter! Even though he lives in Wisconsin and is no stranger to snow and cold, I guess the snow doesn’t usually accumulate this much. At one point, we both jumped off the trail into deep snow and sunk up to our waists! People looked at us like we were crazy…
Eventually…. we made it to the top. The small waterfall that flows nearby was frozen solid, and the place to purify your hands was inaccessible; the snow was up to its roof! We trudged up to the Upper Shrine, made an offering, then I got my stamps and we carefully made our way back down the mountain. At the bottom, I treated Hunter to lunch at the wonderful soba restaurant that made me fall in love with tenzaru soba. It ended up being one of his favorite meals while he was in Japan!
Date received: December 30, 2017