We are halfway through the entire series now. So, I think we should take a break from crowed sightseeing place and chill out at city full of history and arts. I am sure that most of you have not heard of this little city before. Nevertheless, there is one thing originated from here which you may have seen so many times and It is….!
Painting of Mt. Fuji
That’s right! Picture of Mt.Fuji. These two illustrates of the symbol of Japan are commonly known around the world. They are from the art collection of “Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (富嶽三十六景)” by the most famous painter of Japan, named “Hokusai (北斎 )”.
His art collection, originated in Edo era (1603-1868), contains painting of Mt.Fuji from 36 perspectives and the most well-recognized are shown as above. Hokusai moved to Obuse city and created so many masterpieces until his last breath and all of his works are preserved in the museum of this city.
Moreover, this place is also famous “Chestnut”. While sightseeing around the city, you will be able to smell it all over the city . There are so many types of it; baked one, boiled one or even ice cream. Of course they all taste really good!!
We will start from Tokyo Station and head to Nagano Station (Red Dot) by Hokuriku Shinkansen (Green Line). It takes around 1 hr. 30 minutes by Shinkansen. Then, we have to change to the Local Line at Nagano Station. For that, we have to pay for another ticket.
Which Pass can you use? (Cover from Tokyo to Nagano only)
Tokyo Station –> Nagano Station (1 hr. 30 minutes)
Next, we will take Nagano Dentetsu Line (Red Line) to Obuse （小布施）. It costs 670 yen for this one and takes 30 minutes to our destination.
Nagano Station –> Obuse （小布施） 30 minutes
Around the City
Now, let’s get to know some tourist spots in the city.
“Takai Kouzan” Memorial Hall
This is the Memorial Hall of Takai Kouzan, who is this guy?
He was a well-respected millionaire during Edo era and had so many businesses in the region. Obuse city used to be center of trade between Kanto (Tokyo), Hokuriku (Upper Middle Honshu Island) and West Japan (Osaka, Kyoto). As the result, this city was the land of prosperity and become center of art and history.
To reach for the star, so many traders and artists came to this city and Takai was one of them. At the age of 39, he invited Hokusai (85 years old) to come to Obuse as he was willing to support Hokusai’s work. This memorial hall technically was Hokusai’s last sanctuary where he spend his last moment of his life on his work. After you visited this place, you will know how Hokusai were able create so many masterpieces.
Inside the museum
In the backyard, this is a path connecting to Hokusai’s museum, called Obuse’s Chestnut Path. Some says that Hokusai usually came to this little path to take a break and find some inspiration for his work. How cool!
Here comes our highlight! This museum preserves all of Hokusai’s works. He is considered as the most influenced painter of Japan and his works are recognized as the symbol of Japan around the globe. After we entered the museum, we will watch short movie about Hokusai’s biography which it will help us enjoy this place more. Website (English)
Entrance fee: 1,000 yen (Adults) and 700 yen (Child)
However, I am so sorry that I could not show any pictures inside the museum as they do not allow taking photos. I recommend you to see Ukiyo-e (浮世絵)” or Pictures of the floating world which is picture about human and nature which does not last and inevitably changes from time to time.
That is why it is called floating (uncertain) world. Of course, his most famous art collect Thirty-Six Views of Mount Fuji (富嶽三十六景) can be seen here as well.
As above , these are 4 famous Ukiyo-e ceiling paints which represents difference between man and woman. They are also decorated on the ceiling of Nagano Prefecture’s Festival Floats, so called “Yatai” (屋台）
We can also visit the real ceiling paints at Gansho-Inn(岩松院 ) which is local temple in the city. It is a bit far from our destinations. You can ask for more details from Tourist Information Center at Obuse Station.
Scenery in the city and Chestnuts Shop
Scenery of the day
This picture was taken from the 2nd floor of Takai Kouzan Memorial Hall. We can see the scenery of Japan Alps as background, Clear Blue Sky and Japanese Garden covered in snow. I am not surprised how Hokusai got all of his inspiration for his works. This place is so peaceful and it is the best place for artists to create masterpiece.
In fact there are plenty of things to see in this city. I really recommend all of you to come and get to know more Japan, learn their history and art, try local food and more. If you are looking some new aspects to see Japan, Obuse is the answer for you!
Visit my other Nagano Series
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