Thank you so much for following my Nagano Trip Series. 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….!
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!!
Okay! enough for introduction. let’s explore the city, Shall we?
As usual, we will start from Tokyo Station and head to Nagano Station by Hokuriku Shinkansen. It takes around 1 hr. 30 minutes and if you have any JR PASS, riding Shinkansen will not be any problem for you. Then, we have to change for Local Line at Nagano Station. From that, we have to pay for another ticket.
Tokyo Station –> Nagano Station (Hokuriku Shinkansen) 1 hr. 30 minutes
Which Pass can you use?
- JR PASS All Area Click>>>
- JR EAST PASS (Flexible 5 Days) Click>>>
- JR EAST PASS-Nagano, Niigata area (Launched 1 April 2016) Click>>>
- JR Hokuriku Arch Pass (Launched 1 April 2016) Click>>>
For the first 2 twos, you have to purchase it before you visit Japan only. For the rest, you can purchase them in Japan.
“Tokyo Wide PASS” is a choice for those who have long-term visa. However, this pass will take you to Sakudaira Station which you have to purchase more Shinkansen tickets
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
*There is Express Train which will help you buy some times.
Here is the brief map of the city. There is Tourist Information Center at train station. Grab some maps and let’s go to our destination (Blue, Orange Star). It takes around 15 minutes.
Around the city
We can see Japan Alps as background of the city, awesome!
Our first destination is the Blue Star which is “Takai Kouzan Memorial Hall”.
This is the Memorial Hall of Takai Kouzan. Who is this guy? maybe you would like to know. 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. This place really had important role.
Around the house, the atmosphere is so fantastic.
Inside the building, there is traditional Japanese music instrument which we are free to try.
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!
Next, our second destination (Orange Star) is “Hokusai Museum”.
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. The entrance fee costs 1,000 yen (Adults) and 700 yen (Child). If you are history and art lovers, I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.
Image of Hokusai
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 (Green Star). You can ask for more details from Tourist Information Center at Obuse Station.
Scenery in the city and Chestnuts Shop
As I mentioned earlier, Obuse is very famous for Chestnuts. They are everywhere in the city. I recommend you to try at local shops (Small Homemade One). It tastes really good! Most special of all is the Chestnuts Ice cream. I am sure that you can not find it elsewhere.
Scenery of the day
This picture was taken from the second 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.
That is it for today’s blog. I hope that you guys enjoy this city. In fact there are plenty of things to see in this city. Too bad, I got only 3 hours for this city in this trip. 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!
If you have any questions or any suggestions, feel free to massage me any time at H.I.S Live Chat System. It’s time for today and I hope to see you guys in the blog Zenkoji Temple (善光寺): Temple from bygone days.
Visit my previous blog about Nagano Prefecture