In the clouds, Shizuoka in the afternoon, April 26, 2019

What better to do on a cloudy, misty day than take a ropeway ride in the mountains. Thus, we were off to the Nihondaira Park from which we hoped against hope to see Mt. Fuji and then to board a ropeway that was to transport us to the Kunozan Toshogu Shrine on Mt. Kuno. It was cold, cloudy and windy when we arrived and Mt. Fuji was no where in sight. The mist enveloped the mountain top; it was as if we were walking in a cloud. Then, we queued to board the gondola. It was going to be an interesting ride. Here is the view from the staging area.

I was able to work my way to the front of the gondola and had a good view ahead of us. I thought it exhilarating to watch the other gondola as its ghostlike image emerged from the enveloping mist. Here are a series of shots of this event.

And, then it was past us and we were approaching the landing for the Kunozan Toshogu Shrine.

The shrine was built to honor Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu. After his death, Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada ordered that he be buried on the peak of Mt. Kuno.

The shrine is very interesting, not like any we previously saw. Although we arrived by ropeway, the shrine starts at the bottom of the mountain and is thousands of steps high from the bottom to the top. We had the luxury of being near the top when we arrived. What follows is a photo album of the shrine starting with the symbol for the Tokugawa Shogunate.

The structure surrounded by the fence is where the Shogun In interred.

The photographer from the Quest, doing what he does best, taking a photograph.

From the top, looking down.

And now we retrace our steps back to the gondola. Here are some additional pictures as we went. The decorative artwork is outstanding; the vibrant colors on the lions energize them; it’s as if they will reach out and bite you.

The final path on the way to the gondola station.

Back at Nihondaira peak, I stumbled upon this mountain top resident catching a nap.

Then, in the blink of an eye we were headed to lunch.

I believe lunch was at the Nippondaira Hotel and as I previously recounted, it was quite an experience. Mystery food is all I can say but beautifully prepared and presented. I offer for your visual appetite the following:

The view of Mt. Fuji from the hotel is supposed to be quite spectacular. Unfortunately, all we saw were clouds, clouds and more clouds.

We were to have one last chance to see that magical mountain. Our next, and final stop of the cruise, was Miho-no-Matsubara Pine Grove, a seven kilometer stretch of black sand beach lined with 54,000 pine trees.

No sight of Mt. Fuji; we were fortunate, however, to have a extraordinary view of the mountain on our flight into Tokyo. I posted a picture of it in my post, “Heathrow and on to Tokyo, April 11, 2019.”

Legend says an angel hung her hagoromo—a special celestial kimono—on one of the trees while she went for a swim. A local fisherman found the garment and held it for ransom, in the form of a dance. I can imagine that special moment in this special place.

The beach also provides a great view of Mt. Fuji, weather permitting. Not today, however. Still the pine grove was quite interesting; it reminded me of the forest in the Harry Potter movies; dark and foreboding.

The views by the ocean were interesting with the dark clouds hanging low in the sky, drawing your eye to the horizon.

Even here in the midst of all the tourists pouring from busses, a solitary fisherman stands confronting the waves.

One last frivolous shot on this black sand beach of a group of young women having a joyous time together. It’s as if they were posing just for me.

Then we turned to leave the beach, to begin our trek back to the Quest and our long trip home.

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