On the next day we visited the Suwa-Shrine. It was built in 1625 and is actually 3 shrines in one, including the Suwa-shrine, the Sumiyoshi-shrine and the Morizaki-Shrine.
There are a lot of ancient holy trees there.
and you feel very peaceful there... people often ask me "what is a Shrine?" And most think it's only a place for Shintoists, worshipping the gods. I often go there to pray, but a Shrine is far more than just a place for worship.
Shinto shrines are religios facilities, but so much more as well. They also serve as guardians of many important assets of Japanese culture and tradition. In or near a Shinto shrine, you will find not only religioes symbols, but memorials to literary and other cultural figures as well.
Therefore, shrines do not only serve only as religious places, but also as an institutional memory of the Japanese culture as a whole.
I was especially impressed by the old trees in Suwa-shrine. Here you see Yuki beside one of them... being near those trees in a shrine always gives me a feeling of peace and rest.