Eating Lunch on Top of the World on My Birthday

It has taken a while for me to pick up the metaphorical pen and post some of our last adventures in Japan…moving halfway across the world isn’t easy! Anyway…now for the story of my birthday…

November 2021 saw me turn 3-5. My birthday is never the easiest time of year, so I often seek out nature, hikes, birds, and trees as something of a balm.

Amidst the ongoing uncertainty of 2021, this birthday followed the same pattern. However, we also knew this would be our last birthday celebration in Japan. We decided that a trip to the spiritual haven of Chichibu was on the cards.

Chichibu is known as a place of wonderful nature, which often comes hand in hand with spirituality in Japan. We knew the area was well-known for its hikes, mountains, shrines, and power stones. It seemed like the perfect place to visit for calming birthday in the mountains!

On my birthday, we visited the infamous Mitsumine-jinja Shrine, which sits high in the mountains above the cloud line. It was absolutely breathtaking! We travelled up into the clouds on this rickety old bus, which swung us left and right as took the mountain road curves at some speed. My ears were popping as we drove through the clouds and saw the mountain peaks poking their little noses out through the mist to say hello.

On disembarking we visited the main shrine area, gave thanks to a 1,000-year-old cedar tree, and mistily high-fived a giant statute. Then, the hiking commenced! As it was my birthday, I chose a rather gruelling hike to a mountain peak that sits far above the shrine (which is already over 1,000 metres above sea level!) I wanted to test out my new hiking shoes and had visions of eating out little pack lunch while looking out across the valley sprawling below.

And I was not disappointed…it was the most incredible sit as we pulled ourselves up onto the mountain peak (literally using a chain to climb the last 25 metres!) The valley below was lost to thick clouds, but to see the mountains and swirling white clouds embrace us was magical. We sat on the very edge of a rock to eat, and enjoy some birthday treats in this truly breathtaking setting. It was quite emotional for me in many ways, as to feel the power of mother nature in such as special place and spiritual place, and on my birthday, was something I will never forget!

What a place to spend my last birthday in Japan…

On our trip was also enjoyed some of the gorgeous autumn sunshine and scenery along the river that runs through Chichibu. We travelled part of the river on a boat and spent the rest of the time relaxing along the riverside and watching the steam train pass overhead on a giant iron bridge. Of course…we also rode that steam train!

Chichibu was one of my favourite places in Japan. The weather treated us well and it was clear to see why it is so well-loved by the Japanese.  #ThanksChichibu!

Enjoy some of the magic of our trip with these photos!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *