• 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

  • Minus 10 Degrees Hiking!

    Kuro Falls on the north side of Mt. Kamuriki. From our onsen town Togura Kamiyamada, it’s a quick 10 minutes by car + 10 minutes on foot, and you go from 33 deg C down in town to at least 10 degrees cooler. Misaki and I went for the waterfall shower with friends and guests from Germany. Highly recommended for beating the heat this summer.

    July 31, 2023

  • Togakushi, a Mysterious Power Spot with Ninja

    written by Robert, photos by Junko The Togakure-ryu Ninja hail from the Togakushi mountains, in Nagano Prefecture. Today, you can meet real Ninjas, if you are lucky. Togakushi’s most visited shinto shrine, Okusha, is known as a “power spot”. The local people go to Okusha Shrine when they have to make important decisions in their lives. When visiting the shrine, once off the bus, head downhill from the road and you will see the torii gate which marks the start of the straight walking path to the shrine. Though it is a 2 km walk to Okusha shrine, it is at the halfway point that you will see the real reason for visiting this place. Here the walk is lined with dozens of 400-year-old cedar trees, with a single thatch roof gateway spanning the road. Standing among these majestic trees, …

    March 26, 2017

  • Nagano Olympic Memorial Arena M-WAVE

    written by Junko Nagano Olympic Museum  Impressions of Nagano Olympic and Paralympic games which were held in 1998 are vividly revived. The actual equipment used in the games can be found here. It is the memorial corner for introducing all of the memorial days. Hours: 10:00-17:00       195 Oaza-Kita-Nagaike, Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture, 381-0025 Japan Tel: 026-222-3300  Fax.026-222-3222 Take a local bus, Nagano Dentetsu, bound for Suzaka & Yashima, from the No.1 bus stop at the East Exit of the JR Nagano station, get off at the M-WAVE-mae bus stop; it takes approximately 15 minutes.                       You can watch speed skating races there in the winter.   Get off at the Suzaka/Nagano Higashi IC on the Joshin-etsu Expressway, and drive approximately 5 minutes towards Nagano city center. See google …

    March 10, 2017

  • Tsumago-juku

    written by Paige Tsumago-juku is a post town on the Nakasendō Road in the Kiso Valley which is located in Nagano Prefecture. Connecting Kyoto with Edo (present day Tokyo), this road features many historically important sites, traditional houses, and picturesque views. Photographs depicting what life was like for older generations can be found on display around town. This quiet village in the mountains offers numerous places to explore and walking along the road surrounded by wooden buildings and storehouses gives you a feeling that you’ve traveled back in time. Hiking the Nakasendō Trail The area is accessible by train and bus, but you can also travel along the route via a hiking course. You can also purchase a traveler’s staff and receive wood-branded seals at checkpoints and post towns along the way. A baggage transportation service is offered from March …

    February 21, 2017