Image search results - "agano"
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JR Nagano Station festooned with Olympic logos.
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Welcome sign at Nagano Station
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Nagano Station, East Exit to Olympic PlazaAt the East Exit of Nagano Station, this bridge, lined with advertising banners, led the way to the Olympic Plaza which featured ten tent pavilions made by official sponsors.
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To Olympic Plaza
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Pavilion by Kirin Brewery.Notice the "wrap" bus passing in front.
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Olympic PlazaSnowlets House and Kodak's pavilion behind it.
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Entrance to Snowlets House at Olympic Plaza.The official store for Olympic souvenirs. There were a lot of ticket scalpers (all foreigners) hanging around the entrance. Inside, there was a ticket counter for events which still had seats.
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Snowlets HouseIt was packed. This is part of the checkout line. There were four checkout lines and each one was about 30 meters long. The line went pretty fast though. They had all kinds of souvenirs: T-shirts, sweatshirts, flags, postcards, pins, key chains, necklaces, stuffed Snowlets, mugs, and even jewelry. I went on the 6th day of the Games and it still had everything well in stock. But I later heard that the shelves were laid bare well before the Games ended.
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Snowlets House, ticket availability
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JR Okaya Station. There is no tourist info office here.Small station, but close to Lake Suwa.
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Numerous azalea bushes
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JR Kami-Suwa Station
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Castle tower
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Lake SuwaYou can rent a bicycle at Kami-Suwa Station and ride along the lake shore.
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Billboard depicting Ki-otoshi (Log Drop) at Shimosuwa Station.
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Shimosuwa Station on May 8, 2004. Here for the final three days of the Onbashira Matsuri's climax, the Satobiki when they haul the Onbashira logs to the Shimo-sha Shrines (Akimiya and Harumiya) and erect them.
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Kodak's Kodak-yellow pavilionOn the day I went in, they introduced Jamaica's bobsled team. They are very popular in Japan, largely due to the comedy movie "Cool Running" which was aired in Japan before the Nagano Games started.
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JR Okaya Station platform. JR岡谷駅
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Canora Hall, venue for the Okaya International Exchange Association's 15th anniversary festival.
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Lake Hyoko (Lake Hyo), a man-made lake where thousands of swans and ducks migrate to during the winter months.
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Former Hatano residence and birth home of Yoshida Togo 旧旗野邸 (吉田東伍生家)
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Shimosuwa Station 下諏訪駅
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Onbashira monument in front of Shimosuwa Station. This Onbashira log was used in the opening ceremony of the Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998.
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Jamaica's bobsled team in Kodak PavilionThey introduced Jamaica's bobsled team. They are very popular in Japan, largely due to the comedy movie "Cool Running" which was aired in Japan before the Nagano Games started.
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JR Okaya Station platform
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Lobby of Canora Hall
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Also see my YouTube video here.
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Rear view of birth home of Yoshida Togo who was a famous geographer of Japan who compiled an encylopedia of Japanese place names. His son was Yoshida Chiaki who composed the melody of the song "Biwako Shuko no Uta" (Lake Biwa Rowing Song).1 comments
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Store your luggage here. Not enough lockers at the train station so they provide this service. 400 yen/day.
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Entertainment stage in front of Shimosuwa Station.
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View from train station overpass
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Entrance to the smaller hall
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Duck feeding
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A room in the birth home of Yoshida Togo
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Go straight on this road in front of the station.
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In front of Shimosuwa Station.
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Kita Nagano StationTo get to Aqua Wing, the ice hockey rink, we had to take a local train from Nagano Station for a short ride to the next stop at Kita Nagano Station. This Kita Nagano Station was a tiny little train station certainly not meant for large crowds. It was unbelievably small. It took some minutes before we could get out of the station which was not much larger than a normal living room. The door was also small, enough for only two people to get out at one time.
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Lala store in front of Okaya Station. A small city hall office inside might be able to give tourist info.
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Reception counter with programs and newsletters in different languages.
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Duck species in the lake and the number of birds so far.
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Garden of the birth home of Yoshida Togo
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There are no buses nor taxis to where we want to go.
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Parade of Nagamochi which are long chests. 長持
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Aqua Wing ice hockey rink
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Exhibition area featuring native costumes, photos, etc.
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In Oct. 2008, Lake Hyoko was added to the list of wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands.
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Entrance to the Yoshida Togo Memorial Museum which exhibits various documents and personal effects of Yoshida Togo. Museum admission 300 yen. Closed Mon.
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We had to walk it. This was April 10, 2004, one of the days for Shimo-sha Shrine's Yamadashi when they hauled the logs from the mountain forest.
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Thousands of ducks
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Inside Yoshida Togo Memorial Museum. The 2nd floor also has a display panel about his son Yoshida Chiaki who composed the song "Hitsuji-gusa" whose melody was used in the song "Biwako Shuko no Uta" (Lake Biwa Rowing Song).
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After walking for 30 min., we reached this place called Shimekake, a resting place for the logs which had been hauled from the mountains. This is Log No. 2 for Akinomiya Shrine. 注連掛
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Aqua Wing
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Lake Biwa Rowing Song (Biwako Shuko no Uta) exhibition panel by Philbert Ono at Okaya, Nagano.
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The logs will rest here for about a month until early May when they will be hauled to the shrines for the Satobiki erection.
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Lake Biwa Rowing Song Exhibition panels. 「琵琶湖周航の歌」英語版の展示コーナー
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Here is where anybody can get on the logs and play.
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Aqua Wing ice hockey rinkMost of the women's ice hockey matches were held at a stadium called Aqua Wing which is actually an indoor swimming pool with a sliding roof. It seemed like we were in a huge oil drum cut in half.
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Exhibition panels 展示コーナー
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Whooping swans mix with the ducks.
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New Zealand panel
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Swan
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Kami-Suwa Station platform with hot spring foot bath
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Okaya map
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Net fishing
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After the Shimekake, we walked further.
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Crowded street
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Brazilian school
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Until we were stopped here. Sign says that only people with tickets can proceed further. Yeah, we walked all this way only to be told we cannot go further. Our destination was the Ki-otoshi slope where the huge logs slide down for the Yamadashi.
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Nagamochi. Also see my video at YouTube.
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My Japanese and American flagsI tacked the flags onto the glass and proudly displayed them in front of my seat behind the goal. That's what you do when you love both countries. Since I was sitting at rinkside behind the goal, the flags (and my face and camera) could be seen on the TV broadcast.

On the left of the photo, you can see the goal referee who was sitting in a glass box. She wrapped herself in a blanket. As you can expect, the place was not warm like a coffee shop.
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Taiko drummers from Okaya Roman Taiko
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We had to wait until the Ki-otoshi at 1pm was over. That's the one we wanted to see. But the place was already too full.
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Cheering section for Yuiko SatomiCollege cheering section for Yuiko Satomi, a defense player for Japan.
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Full-house audience. Many international groups provided free entertainment.
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We had to wait until the 1pm Ki-otoshi log came out.
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The crowd behind me.
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Indonesian dance by Miyazaki Ani
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They all face the same direction. Group oriented.
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Nagamochi chest decorations
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Start of game
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Brazilian Dance by Ashinaga Gakuen Brazilian School
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Log No. 4 for Shimo-sha Shrine's Akinomiya Shrine which already went down the big slope for Ki-otoshi (Log Drop) comes out at 1:30 pm. 秋宮四之柱
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The Nippon team huddles.The Nippon team huddle and psych themselves up before the start of the game.
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African drumming and dance
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Quack, quack. Actually the ducks were pretty quiet.
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Log No. 4 for Shimo-sha Shrine's Akinomiya Shrine. 秋宮四之柱
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Umbrella dance
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African dance, a real crowd pleaser.
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Tourist info booth sells duck feed
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So after this log came out, we were allowed to proceed to the giant slope.
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In Okaya, Nagano, Nakamura Naoko singing "Lake Biwa Rowing Song." This is the first time this English version was sung in public outside Shiga Prefecture.
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Map of lake area
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There it is, the slope.
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Shimo-sha Akimiya Shrine torii
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Banging the glassI liked it when the puck slammed into the glass (BOOM!) in front of me. The protective glass, by the way, must have been at least an inch thick.
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Nakamura Naoko singing "Lake Biwa Rowing Song." The first Japanese person to sing the song in public. 「琵琶湖周航の歌」の英語版も歌われた。
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Pedestrain overpass with swan motif.
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We weren't the only ones there.
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Shimo-sha Akimiya Shrine. That's a support pole for erecting the No. 1 Akimiya Onbashira log. 秋宮
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Nakamura Naoko singing "Lake Biwa Rowing Song" up to verse 3. 中村直子さんが三番まで歌われた。
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Hot spring foot bath
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Takashima Castle
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The Ki-otoshi slope, and one of the icons of the festival. This is the larger slope for Ki-otoshi compared to the one for the Kami-sha Shrine in Chino. 木落とし坂
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Shimo-sha Akimiya Shrine 秋宮 幣拝殿
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A US player scores and celebrates to the dismay of Japan.
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Canora Boys and Girls Chorus
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The Ki-otoshi slope up close. Very rough-looking. 木落とし坂
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Hole for the No. 4 Akimiya Onbashira log
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Grand finale dance called Itomachi Ko-uta
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People everywhere along the edge of the slope.
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Small support poles.
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A US player scores and celebrates to the dismay of Japan.
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The numerous people and trees made it impossible to see the slope itself.
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Hole for the No. 2 Akimiya Onbashira log
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It was very steep and uncomfortable to sit on, so I decided to leave this place.
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Hole for the No. 2 Akimiya Onbashira log
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A US player scores and celebrates to the dismay of Japan.
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Hole for the No. 2 Akimiya Onbashira log
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5-0 on scoreboard during 1st period.In the 1st period, the scoreboard shows 5-0 in favor of the US.
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I was forced to join this crowd.
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The crowd extended all the way to the rear. All to see the 3pm Ki-otoshi log drop.
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Shimo-sha Akimiya Shrine priests 秋宮
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This was my view of the slope.
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Taiko performance at Shimo-sha Akimiya Shrine's Kaguraden
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Resurfacing the ice during intermission
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Thank goodness for telephoto lenses.
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Shimenawa sacred rope on Kaguraden
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Resurfacing the ice during intermission
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Hot spring foot bathThat's not me in the picture.
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We waited for the log scheduled to come down at 3 pm, but it was delayed by 2 hours...
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Onbashira Grand Park
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We sat there for hours.
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Harumiya torii 春宮大門
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Finally, people pulling the log appeared.
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On the way to Harumiya Shrine, you see this bridge. It is a rest stop for the Akimiya Onbashira log procession. 下馬橋
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The bridge is normally closed to the public. In the old days, this bridge marked Harumiya Shrine's sacred area where even warlords had to get out of their palanquin or get off their horse out of respect before proceeding further. 下馬橋
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The log pullers split into two.
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Harumiya Shrine ahead.
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Nagano Winter Olympics women's ice hockey match.
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Harumiya Shrine torii 春宮
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Then came the log, and a lotta dust which made it difficult to see what was going on.
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Harumiya has a little slope where the logs are slid down.
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This was Log No. 1 for Shimo-sha's Harunomiya Shrine.
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People everywhere.
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But my camera captured the log going down, even though I could hardly see it. Onbashira Festival, Shimosuwa, Nagano. 木落とし坂 春宮一之柱
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People along the small slope.
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Frenzy in front of Japan's goal.
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It was over after a few seconds. We walked for an hour from the train station and waited hours for just a few seconds of mostly dust.
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This is May 9, 2004, the second day of Shimo-sha Shrine's Satobiki. Shimo-sha Shrine consists of two separate shrines called Akimiya and Harumiya.
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Onbashira rope on train platform
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View from cycling road
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Now we walked back together with hundreds of thousands of people...
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Ropes to pull the Onbashira log from Harumiya Shrine.
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Face to face. Japan's goal keeper was busy, busy, busy.
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Lake Suwa
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Doga-kan-dori street leading to Ilf Plaza.
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The Ax Man. He cuts the rope which sets the log loose down the slope.
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Log in Harumiya Shrine.
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Japan's goalie takes a break at Nagano Winter Olympics women's ice hockey match.Her helmet is dotted with Print Club photo stickers.
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Ilf Plaza, with shops and a culture center. イルフプラザ
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Lake Suwa
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The log heading to the Shimekake resting place. If you don't like crowds, don't see this festival. Also see photos of Shimo-sha Satobiki.
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Onbashira Log No. 1 already erected for Harumiya Shrine on May 8, 2004.
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Nagano Winter Olympics women's ice hockey match.
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Lake Suwa and mountains
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Ilf Doga Museum イルフ童画館
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Erecting Onbashira Log No. 4 for Harumiya Shrine on May 9, 2004. 春宮四之御柱
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Lake Suwa and mountains
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Ilf Doga Museum, works by Takei Takeo 武井武雄作品展示室
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The Onbashira Festival's main event takes place at four different times in early April and early May, centering on Chino city and Shimosuwa town. It is the festival of Suwa Taisha Shrine consisting of the Kami-sha Shrine and Shimo-sha Shrine.
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Erecting Onbashira Log No. 4 for Harumiya Shrine on May 9, 2004. Shimosuwa, Nagano. 春宮四之御柱
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Lake Suwa and mountains
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Ilf Douga Museum, works by Takei Takeo 武井武雄余技作品展示室
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Both the Kami-sha Shrine (in Chino and Suwa cities) and Shimo-sha Shrine (in Shimosuwa town) consist of a pair of shrines. So there are actually a total of four shrines involved in the festival.
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Everything is done with great fanfare, with these men riding on the log as it slowly rises by a system of cables and pulleys.
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Japan team mates try to comfort the goal keeper right after the US scores.
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Ilf Doga Museum
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Held every 6 years (1998, 2004, 2010, etc.), this festival brings new logs from the mountain forest to all four shrines where they are erected. Each shrine receives four logs, so a total of 16 logs are cut and hauled to the shrines.Only a rope keeps the log from going down.
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"Yoisa! Yoisa!"
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Ramu-ramu Coffee Shop in Ilf Doga Museum 喫茶ラムラム
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The hauling of the logs from the forest to a resting place near the shrine is called Yamadashi. The hauling route and schedule for the Kami-sha and Shimo-sha Shrines are different.
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Also see my video at YouTube.
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Game ends with USA scoring 10 goals and Japan zero.The final score was 10-0. Japan went on to lose all five of their matches and the US team went undefeated for the gold medal. The US and Canadian men's hockey teams were not the only ones who were put to shame at Nagano.

Japan's women's ice hockey team must feel pretty rotten about their pitiful playing on their home turf.
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The Yamadashi log hauling for the Kami-sha Shrine was held during April 2-4, 2004. Along the hauling route is a slope where the log is slid down while men ride on it.
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Total winners beat the total losers...The U.S. team went on undefeated to win the first Olympic gold medal in women's ice hockey. Japan lost all five of its matches (they scored a total of 2 goals) putting them in last place among the six women's hockey teams.
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Lakeside park
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These photos show the slope for the Ki-otoshi (Log Drop) along the log-hauling route to Kami-sha Shrine in Chino and Suwa.
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Olympics auction hosted by Emi Watanabe (left), a former Olympic figure skater.
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Lakeside park
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This log drop is one of the highlights of the festival.
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Onbashira rope on train platform
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When the log is erected, a banner is unrolled.
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Lakeside park
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Kids gathered at Nagano Station.
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This is one log about to go down the slope. A total of 8 logs will go down this slope.
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