• Escape Summer Heat to Ike no Taira Marsh in Yunomaru Highlands above Tomi City

    90 minute loop walking trail at an elevation of 2000 meters, with views of the surrounding peaks, the wetlands, the Chikuma River valley below, and too many wildflowers to count. Best accessed by car, and on this late weekday afternoon with cloudy weather, we practically had the place to ourselves. So besides the heat, you can escape the crowds, too.

    August 29, 2023

  • Koto Instrument Live and Experience near Matsumoto Castle Started!

    A local koto instructor Misato Shirasawa started koto music instrument experience and live show near Matsumoto Castle in English and Japanese from this August. She graduated from Tokyo University of the Arts, Department of Traditional Japanese Music. You can listen to or experience koto music on Tue, Thu, Sun (except for August 13), starting 11 am, 1 pm, 2:20 pm, 3:40 pm. Refer to here for details. Now she is looking for free of charge foreign trial experiencer who live in Japan until September. If you are insterested as a trial participant, contact otowakokoro.jp@gmail.com or phone: 09042226211. You can hear her play on

    August 3, 2023

  • Rondinella, Hillside Cafe with View Overlooking Nagano City

    This cafe’s neighborhood has 4 ceramic art studios and the cafe’s whimsical design and imaginative construction reflect the artistic vibe of the local craftsmen. And the cakes are splendid and the coffee and other drinks top class. And did I mention the view? We actually had front row seats to an afternoon thunder and lightning show today. The location is a bit remote from the city center (one review complained about getting tired just from the drive there) but for us, the drive up through the apple orchards and rice paddies was a refreshing break from urban concrete. Website (Japanese): https://valuet.co.jp/maison-b/rondinella/

    August 3, 2023