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Suwa Shrine in Yuzawa

One of the settings for Kawabata's "Snow Country"

Suwa Shrine in Yuzawa is one of those great "old meets new" moments. On the one hand you have a peaceful shrine with views over the valley and the local mountains, but look the other way and there are two huge concrete shinkansen tracks towering above you - one line heads to Gala Yuzawa and the other up to Niigata. This Shinto shrine is a short stroll down the hill from Takahan Ryokan, which was where Yasunari Kawabata stayed, and the cedars in the shrine make an appearance in his "Snow Country" novel. This is now one of the stops on the literary walk around the town. It is a bit of a stroll from Echigo-Yuzawa Station but worth the effort. The Great Cedar of Suwa Shrine is a monster tree and dwarfs even the shinkansen tracks. You can sit back on the giant stone bench at its base and enjoy the views over Yuzawa.

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