A few weeks ago my good friends, the Lims, invited me to a church retreat out in Gunma! I had just spent the previous three days in Bunkasai madness at school, so it was really perfect timing to get out to the mountains and get some fresh air.
I took the Shinkansen out to Takasaki station and then took a local line out to Minakami (it took about 2.5hrs total) but before I got on the local line I stopped and got some breakfast at Becks and dare I say, it was THE PERFECT BREAKFAST. A half ham and cheese sandwich, the most delicious yogurt with honey and granola, and strong black coffee. all for $5. PERFECTO.
You know you're in the countryside when the train is E M P T Y.
I made it to Minakami station at around 9am and one of the church members picked me up to take me to the retreat center so I could get there before the 9:30am morning fellowship!
We had a morning worship service Sunday morning, then a bento lunch, free time in the afternoon, and then dinner and an evening session around a campfire. So perfect. On Sunday night I had some free time before dinner so I headed to the chapel to spend some time with the Lord and it was just what my soul needed. The chapel was SO silent. Like, a silence that is really hard to experience in Tokyo. Maybe it's the scenery, or the lack of building around, or cars...but for some reason it was the definition of SILENT in that chapel. wow. That time with the Lord was so good for my soul.
Monday morning we all woke up and had breakfast, provided to us by the wonderful retreat staff who own and operate the place. BTW the place was called JAPAN BIBLE HOME. And let me just say, the food was SO GOOD. Wow...like, this is not your average retreat food...this was REALLY GOOD homemade delicious comfort food.
I was so blessed to spend the weekend with the people from Grace Harbor church! It was encouraging to see a group of people striving towards true community, authenticity and accountability in Christ. Amen!
The owners of the retreat center brought out fresh fruits and veggies for everyone to take home..ahhhhh Japan!!!
So after spending time with Grace Harbor church, everyone headed back down the mountain and back to Tokyo. The Lims are super adventerous people, so on the way home we of course maxed out our time in Gunma and saw a few more spots!!
We made a lunch stop at a local ropeway, but didn't feel the need to spend 20 bucks going up to the top of the mountain in the rain so instead we stayed and ate in the cozy cafe. This cup of coffee was so ideal...sipping on this and staring out into this amazing view...ahhhhhh.
Minakami is famous for onsens, so we walked the onsen street (it was empty!) and found this cute sewer cover among other cool spots.
Guys, he is road biking WITH HIS DOG. HAHAHAHAHHA
We stopped by this scenic bridge and snapped a few fun shots!
Tony, Poiema, Khiro and Nathalie Lim...they're like family to me here in Japan!
I felt so grateful to be in this beautiful place...with fresh air and greenery everywhere. WOW. so good for the soul. Thank you Lord!
We soon learned that this is a bungee jumping spot, and got to watch a few people go off!
One last stop before heading home was this incredible APPLE FARM!!! Where dreams come true.
We got to pick a bag of apples for only $12!
The bag says, "omiyage" or "souvenier"
I left with a happy heart and three bottles of the freshest apple juice you will ever have. I also befriended the sweet lady who worked there and told me she was from Chiba (my prefecture) too!
And to make things even more memorable, the lady gave us the best grapes I have ever had in my life! What a perfect road trip snack.
ahhh...we grabbed a quick (and delicious) dinner and then got back to Tokyo around 10pm. PHEW, what a weekend!!
The Lord has truly blessed me with great friends here and moments of relaxation and adventure amidst my work schedule. I feel so thankful for all I get to see and experience here in Japan and for chance I get to draw near to God in so many different and unique ways!