• 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

  • Meet HOKUSAI in Obuse Town!

    written by Junko Hokusaikan : 北斎館 The spring Hokusai special exhibition will be held during April 8th and June 25th. Connecting the British Museum Exhibition, it will be focused on “Japan and Britain”.   Katsushika Hokusai is arguably the most famous ‘ukiyoe’ wood block print artist. Towards the end of his 7 decades of print-making, when he was in his 80s he spent time living in Obuse, the quaint town northeast of Nagano City known for chestnuts (kuri). Here he created some of his greatest works, many of which are exhibited at this museum dedicated to him. The collection includes 4 paintings he inscribed on the ceilings of some of the neighborhood parade floats, the Dragon and Phoenix of the Higashimachi floats, and the Onami (masculine wave) and Menami (feminine wave) of Kanmachi floats. The museum was renovated and reopened April, …

    March 12, 2017