We woke up the first day of 2019 to gorgeous weather - not a cloud in the sky and highs of +10C. As usual we spent the morning with family and then went to visit a local shrine - one I have visited almost every year since I came to Japan over 30 years ago. I always feel nostalgic when we visit as the sights and smells bring back memories of my very early years in Japan. However, there is also a welcoming familiarity as we make our way through the grounds and festivities in a route we have perfected over the years. First the back entrance, then the open area to check the children doing the lion dance, then the bridge, then the shop selling "baby castella" (similar to doughnut holes), and then... Ah, the list goes on. It was a beautiful day to be out and about and a great day to begin a new year!
I took a few photos while we were there only to discover that my camera battery was on its very last legs and I, of course, had left everything back at the house. Ah well, isn't that the way! I did manage to eek about a few more photos from that dying battery and here are the results. (Click on a thumbnail to see the full image.)