• Obasute Rice Terraces in Morning Sun

    Obasute rice terraces in the morning sun, with the Chikuma River and the Zenkoji Plain in the distance. 5 minute walk from Obasute Station on the JR Shinonoi Line.

    November 15, 2023

  • 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

  • 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