Nagano and Environs

General Scenes

Actually I don't know that much about Nagano, aside from what I wrote in the write-up. Every time I go there, I do, however, get to see a lot of farmland (mostly vineyards and orchards), with mountains as a backdrop. So, although Nagano is a bustling city, my primary impressions still remain agricultural. Some of my relatives involved in farming apparently still painstakingly care for each and every fruit upon each and every tree - accounting, I guess for the sheer size, beauty, and taste of Japan's prized home-grown fruit.

The speedy shinkansen
trains have footrests for us short people.

View from the window
during the ride to Nagano.

A street corner in Obuse,
a town near Nagano.

The statue is of a kabutomushi,
a Japanese armored beetle
loved by children, who keep them
as pets. This beetle is shown
holding up a baby-sized beetle.

Chestnut rice lunch at this...

...popular Obuse restaurant.
(Across the street from the sculpture.)

An apple tree
in a farmer's orchard near Nagano.

A beautiful scenic red bridge
on a mountainside near Nagano.

A boat made from a leaf
as made by someone who was a young boy during World War II.
The boat's stem became the ship's "gun"
back in the war days.

Mountain view over a guardrail.

This soba (buckwheat noodle) restaurant...

...had the BEST handmade
soba I've ever had. Try the roasted sesame
soba dip.

This personal koi pond
in a front yard required netting
to keep hungry birds out!

Hotspring Hotel

The area around Nagano has many hotspring hotels and resorts in various small towns, where visitors can take a dip in gorgeous, large pools (some indoors, some outdoors) filled with genuine hotspring water. Each hotel usually lists the known chemical composition of the water (e.g., how much sulfur, etc.), as well as ailments their specific water may help (or hurt).

While some places have private hotspring baths, most such resorts primarily emphasize the communal baths (usually gender-segregated). This particular hotel has separate men's and women's outdoor pools, but recently began swapping off at certain hours so that the women can experience the larger expanses of what used to be a men-only baths, and perhaps also so that men could hang out in the bubble hot tub on the women's side. (That said, the women's area was very nice as it was!)

Food for large groups at these resorts is often a preset menu, and served in a private room. At these Japanese-style resorts, where the rooms are traditional tatami rooms, the food is served on a traditional low table, in traditional tiny bowls.

Outside the hotel

The luxurious bathing pools
are located behind all this greenery.

A lovely little fountain
offering water for drinking.

A small Shinto shrine
sits next to the parking lot entry.

Rooms with views

View of a hotel room.

View from the hotel room balcony window.

Clouds roll in over the mountains
as seen from the balcony window.

The entry to a hotel room.
Note the place to remove shoes and
put on (hotel-provided) slippers.

Mmm, food

Part of dinner
(it kept changing, as there were
essentially multiple courses)

A handsome young hotel man
serving rice (the staff
generally leaves the room between
courses.) Today, the hotel's owner
actually came in to give a short spiel.

Yet more dinner.
Note how much has changed from before.


Peeled persimmon wedges with seeds.
These were brought to the hotel
by the guests for snacking:
home grown, and very sweet.
Two different varieties.

For a picture of an authentic Nagano apple,
huge and juicy and sweet, see the general Tokyo page, where one such gift apple is displayed.

Back to Rei's Japan 2003 Photo Index

Photos, text copyright 2003 Eri Izawa