Day 7 (cont) – Yoshida Shrine and Mt Yoshida – Unexpected Gems

Yahiko was an unexpected gem! If you are visiting Niigata, I highly recommend this day trip! It’s about an hour away from Niigata station and the two main sights, Yahiko Shrine and Mt Yahiko are worth at least a half-day visit.

A tower just outside the JR station welcomes you once you exit it. I was wowed by the views of the snowy mountains just behind.

Along the walk to the shrine, saw a shop selling these chewy mochi-style skinned red bean cakes. Of course, I had to try one and while not mind-blowing, it was a pleasant snack.

And I was lucky, at least in my opinion, that it started snowing! It’s not my first time seeing snow, but somehow, my impression is that it’s the first time I was actually caught in a snowfall. Really enjoyed walking to the shrine in the snowfall.

The usual red torii gates welcoming visitors and separating the ‘sacred’ from the ‘human’ world.

Stream just behind the Torii gate. The ‘bridge’ is non-functional, just a really nice decoration across the stream.

Path leading up to the shrine – usual corridor of majestic trees.

A pair of stones where you can make your prayer/wish and then try to lift the stone. If the stone feels light, your wish will be granted!

Second Torii gate before the main shrine.

This is certainly a beautiful shrine…

… especially with the snowcapped mountains as a backdrop.

A colletion of smaller shrines next to the main shrine.

I decided to take the ropeway up the Mount Yahiko. I was worried that the ropeway would be closed but was glad to find that it was open. The rope way is jut a shirt walk behind the shrine. It wasn’t cheap, about 1500 yen (if I recall) but it was totally worth it!

View of the snowcapped trees as the cable car went up.

This was the scene that greeted me once I stepped out of the ropeway station. It was definitely not what I had expected but boy was I stoked! It was like entering another world, just 5 minutes away.

On the right of the ropeway exit was a beautiful zig-zag path up to another observation post. I would have loved to have done the trek but my track shoes were really not suited for the walk, especially on the slippery ice. Reminds me that the next time I decide to do a visit to a snowy place, I’d better have the right shoewear.

Do you wanna build a snowman? YES! But without gloves, it was too cold for me to build anything bigger than this little snowamn.

Here’s another path, on the left of the station exit, leading up to some radio towers. Again, a beautuiful view and I would have loved to do the trek… if not for the footwear….

View of Yahiko town. I think Niigata is on the far left.

After about an hour, I finally took the cable car back down.

View of the ropeway station.

After a really cold day, I stopped by a shop on the path back to the JR station and enjoyed an lovely hot bowl of red bean soup with soft tender mochis. Pure heaven.

All in, it was a day I really enjoyed. I didn’t know much about Yahiko but on hindsight, this was really a memorably visit for me! Do consider it if you are in the Niigata area. And remember, you can try to pair it with the Shu-kura sake-tasting train!

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