As it turns out, my mother’s father (never met him) came from a family that runs a shrine as a (shinto) priest from 1200 years ago.   We had been talking about visiting the place forever, so I imagined some distant place up on a high mountain.  As it turned out, it was just a town right next to my mom’s home town.
It’s called Ogura Shrine in Kusu, Oita Prefecture.  It’s still very well-kept, although the family now live someplace else, and only come here for occasions.

It seems that the ceiling of the main building was covered with paintings, but now it had faded.

This is a very very old oak tree that belongs to the shrine (but I forgot how old it is).

I always thought that my mom does not have any sibling.  It turned out several years ago that she has several half siblings (she never really told us about them).  This time, I learned that she also had about 35 cousins, mostly on her father’s side.  35 is now beyond my imagination.

And it is my mother’s family that was up on a mountain.  This is her birth home, and it has been like this as long as I remember (there is a house inside the wooden fence).  My sister and I used to run up these stone steps, but the steps were too wide for us.  
There used to be a peach tree beside the steps, and I always wanted to eat some.  But it turned out to be a neighbor’s tree, I just didn’t know until now.

Looking down, there is a huge ginkgo tree, and beyond, it’s just mountains after mountains.  It took my mom 1 hour one way to walk to her elementary school, 2 hours to a middle school.