Samurai Stage Combat Monitor Tour in Matsumoto City

July 30th, 2018

After visiting Matsumoto Castle, unleash your inner samurai with a one- to two-hour lesson in swordsmanship and stage combat!

Samurai and Ninja Studio Kenyu will teach you to swing your katana with style like an Edo Era samurai. Take plenty of pictures and videos of your samurai skills back home with you. The reenactors are also knowledgeable in the dress and customs of the time, leaving you with a better sense of the history and culture of the samurai.

Monitor tours are being held at the studio on Saturdays between August 11th and September 1st, 2018. Anyone over the age of 15 is able to participate, as long as you write about your experience on social media and are willing to appear in promotional video/photography for the studio. Participation for the monitor tour is 1,000 yen per person (a 4,000 yen discount!). Limited to four participants per day.

Contact kenyuu.matsumoto@gmail.com for reservations. Also see the event’s Facebook page.

Details

Dates: Saturdays between August 11th and September 1st (Aug. 11, 18, 25, Sep. 1)
Time: 10:00 to 12:00
Price: 1,000 Yen
Location: Samurai and Ninja Studio Kenyu (2F 3-5-13 Ote, Matsumoto)
Access: a 2-minute walk from Matsumoto Castle

Norikura Kogen’s Walls of Snow Open for Visitors

June 1st, 2018

Located outside of Matsumoto near Kamikochi, Norikura Kogen is a highland paradise that sprawls along the mountainside of Mt. Kengamie (3,026m). Norikura itself ranges from around 1,200 to 2,600 meters in altitude, hosting a range of alpine flora and fauna. During spring, the remaining snow along the Echo line road forms large snow walls that can reach heights of over 10 meters.

Norikura Kogen’s Haruyama bus began running yesterday, Thursday, May 31st, taking visitors from Norikura’s tourism center up to the top of the snow walls at the Daisekkei bus stop. It will continue to run through June 30th. This year, the walls stand about 7 meters high.

To reach Norikura Kogen, take the Kamikochi line train from Matsumoto to Shinshimashima Station. Then, take the Norikura line bus to the Norikura tourism center. The Haruyama bus leaves from there.

Alpico Kotsu offers a two- or three-day pass around that Japanese Alps that covers travel to between Matsumoto, Kamikochi, Norikura, and Shirahone Onsen for 6,000 yen (plus 1,000 yen for three days). Without the pass, roundtrip travel between Matsumoto and the Norikura snow walls costs 5,800 yen.

Mt. Kengamine as seen from the Norikura Kogen Kanko Center. The Haruyama bus leaves from the bus stop to the left.

Officials record the height of this year’s snow walls at about 7 meters.

Shiga-Kusatsu Route (Rt. 292) Temporarily Closed

April 23rd, 2018

On Saturday, April 22nd at 7:00, the Japan Meteorological Agency raised the Volcanic Alert Level for Mt. Shirane’s Yugama Caldera from 1 to 2. Accordingly, access to the area in a one-kilometer radius around the caldera has been restricted.

Because the Shiga-Kusatsu Route passes through this restricted area, it will be temporarily closed until the Volcanic Alert Level is reduced. The route is closed from the 3-way intersection between the Shiga-Kusatsu Route and the Manza Highway until the Sessho Kawara parking lot at the bottom of the Shirane Kazan Ropeway.

While the Shiga-Kusatsu Route is closed, drivers can use the Manza Highway and the Kusatsu-Tsumagoi line as a detour to reach Kusatsu Onsen (see the map below). The Shigakogen line bus bound for Shirane Kazan will not stop at Shirane Kazan during the closure, so those using public transportation are recommend to travel to Karuizawa by train, then take the Karuizawa-Kusatsu bus to Kusatsu.

Details of the closure can be found on Gunma Prefecture’s official website in Japanese here.

Bus Timetables for Takato Castle Park’s 2018 Cherry Blosssom Festival

April 4th, 2018

With cherry blossoms bursting forth all over the prefecture, hanami festivals will soon be underway. Takato Castle Park’s cherry blossom festivals is considered one of Japan’s best, and people from around Japan—and even around the world—will be dropping in to see it.

Takato Castle Park is located in Ina City and can be accessed by bus from either JR Inashi Station or JR Chino Station. You can find the 2018 bus timetables below, or see them on the Southern Nagano bus timetables page here.

Bus timetables for Takato Castle Park

Takato Castle Park JR Bus (Inashi Station)Weekday Schedule (April 1 to 30, 2018)Original timetable here (Japanese)
Inashi Station to Takato 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th
Inashi Station 7:18 7:49 9:00 10:41 11:37 12:31 13:21 14:28 15:43 16:33 18:05 18:43 19:36
Takato Station 7:39 8:10 9:23 11:04 12:00 12:56 13:44 14:53 16:06 16:56 18:28 19:06 19:59
Takato to Inashi Station 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th 12th 13th
Takato Station 6:53 7:30 8:15 9:25 10:30 11:40 12:30 13:30 15:07 15:55 16:47 17:58 18:45
Inashi Station 7:16 7:53 8:38 9:51 10:55 12:05 12:55 13:55 15:32 16:20 17:12 18:21 19:08
Takato Castle Park JR Bus (Inashi Station)Weekend Schedule (April 1 to 30, 2018)Original timetable here (Japanese)
Inashi Station to Takato 1st 2nd 3rd* 4th 5th 6th* 7th 8th* 9th 10th 11th
Inashi Station 7:49 9:00 9:35 10:41 11:51 12:31 13:15 14:28 15:57 18:05 18:43
Takato Station 8:10 9:23 9:58 11:04 12:14 12:54 13:39 14:51 16:20 18:28 19:06
Takato to Inashi Station 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th* 6th 7th* 8th 9th* 10th 11th
Takato Station 7:40 9:25 10:38 11:35 12:30 13:30 15:07 15:35 16:47 17:13 18:45
Inashi Station 8:01 9:49 11:01 11:58 12:55 13:53 15:32 15:58 17:12 17:36 19:08
Takato Castle Park JR Bus (Chino Station)April 7 to 22, 2018Original timetable here (Japanese)
Chino Station to Takato 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Chino Station 9:15 11:35 15:40 17:45
Takato Station 10:06 12:26 16:31 18:36
Takato to Chino Station 1st 2nd 3rd 4th
Takato Station 8:15 10:35 14:40 16:45
Chino Station 9:05 11:25 15:30 17:35

[Nagano Prefectural Mail Magazine] Springtime has come!

March 28th, 2018

Nagano Prefectural Tourism Official Mail Magazine

March 28th, 2018
Published by Nagano Prefecture Tourism Department Tourism Promotions Division
International Tourism Promotions Office

We send this mail magazine to those who have exchanged business cards with members of our office.



We hope you’ve been well during these winter months.

Thank you again for reading our Nagano Prefecture Official Mail Magazine. This time, we’d like to introduce you to a flower-filled spring trip in Nagano.

From the peaks of the Northern, Central, and Southern Japanese Alps to the Yatsugatake mountain range, Nagano prefecture is surrounded by mountains. Over the course of the year, the peaks and valleys of Nagano take on the changing scenery of the four seasons. Spring in particular is magical. The warmth of the sun cuts through the winter frost and makes the distant, snow-covered mountains glimmer. In the valleys, apple, peach and cherry blossoms burst forth underneath a clear blue sky. Enjoy the lingering snow, warm breeze, and sweet scents of spring.

Using this mail magazine as your guide, take a trip to the flowering fields of Nagano!


Read the rest of this entry »

“All About My Love”: A Grand Exhibition of Yayoi Kusama’s Work

March 23rd, 2018

The Matsumoto City Museum of Art is currently holding a special exhibition entitled All About My Love, a collection of 180 paintings and installations by the internationally renowned artist Yayoi Kusama. Featuring many never-before-seen pieces from her latest series, “My Eternal Soul,” as well as dazzling infinite-mirror installations, the exhibition is sure to awe those seeking to take a peek into her psychedelic world.

About the Artist

©Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama was born in Matsumoto City in 1929. Plagued by hallucinations from a young age, she painted the hallucinations she saw as a form of a self-therapy. She moved to New York City at the age of 28, where she became an influential member of the avant-garde art movement, producing paintings, sculptures, performances, installations and more. She eventually returned to Japan in 1973 and continued her prolific work in Tokyo. Her mesmerizing patterns, infinite mirror installations, and thought-provoking performances have made Yayoi Kusama an international sensation, and she was named one of the world’s 100 most influential people by Time Magazine in 2016. To this day, she continues to produce new work at an astonishing rate.

Details

All About My Love
A special exhibition of the work of Yayoi Kusama
Saturday, March 3 to Sunday, July 7
9:00 to 17:00
Closed on Mondays (excepting April 30, May 7, July 16)

Tickets

Adults: 1,200 yen
College students and below: 800 yen

Official Website

Yayoi Kusama “All About My Love” Exhibition

[Nagano Prefecture Mail Magazine] Nagano’s Winter Charms!

January 30th, 2018

Nagano Prefectural Tourism Official Mail Magazine

January 30th, 2018
Published by Nagano Prefecture Tourism Department Tourism Promotions Division
International Tourism Promotions Office

We send this mail magazine to those who have exchanged business cards with members of our office.



Hello everyone,

We would like to thank you for taking the time to read the autumn edition of Nagano Prefecture’s official mail magazine. This time, we’ll be looking at the wonders of winter.

The winters of Nagano are known for their biting cold, but beneath that chilly exterior is magical scenery and rejuvenating warmth. Carpets of snow cover the landscape and bright blue skies shine overhead. Frosty trees and frozen ponds sparkle in the sunlight. White clouds of steam rise from hot spring baths. Illuminations glow brightly in the crisp, evening air. The tranquil winter months offer magical sights and a cozy warmth that you can only appreciate after feeling the cold.

Let this mail magazine be your guide to the joys of Nagano during winter.


Read the rest of this entry »

Nagano Lantern Festival Coming February 7th to 12th, 2018!

January 25th, 2018

Zenkoji Temple looks particularly impressive when illuminated in red.

The 15th annual Nagano Lantern Festival will be held from Wednesday, February 7th to Monday the 12th, 2018. Beautifully crafted paper lanterns line the street to Zenkoji and the temple itself is bathed in the colors of the Olympic Games. Enjoy the festive atmosphere, musical performances, and some delicious (and free!) Japanese sake and snacks.

Delicately crafted paper lanterns line the street to Zenkoji.

The paper lanterns used during the festival are decorated by local artists, hobbyists and students from nearby schools. You’ll be dazzled by the creativity and talent of the paper artworks, and you may even see some of your favorite characters like Totoro, Pikachu, or Arukuma. The themes for this year’s lanterns are Future and Peace. You can even craft your own mini lanterns during the festival at the entrance to Zenkoji Temple (1,000 yen to make, supplies limited).

Take a tour during the festival period and experience traditional martial arts, games, and crafts.

For those who will be in Hakuba during the festival, Hakuba Sanroku Tours is offering a special day tour to the festival and Nagano’s samurai town of Matsushiro. Participants will enjoy traditional Japanese games, crafts, and martial arts lessons before enjoying free time around Nagano City for the lantern festival and dinner. See the flyer below for more information.

Kiso’s Ice Candle Festival Lights up the Nakasendo from Late January to February

January 18th, 2018

The Ice Lantern festival accompanied by fireworks as seen from the post town of Narai.

Every year from late January through early February, the Kiso Valley hosts their ice lantern festival along the ancient Nakasendo trail. Beautifully-preserved Edo period buildings glow with warm candlelight and locals set up stalls with festival foods and free hot sake and soup. Interact with local kiso people, try some of its delicious sake, and enjoy the romantic atmosphere of these post towns forgotten by time.

For those unfamiliar with the Kiso Valley, highlights include the Narai, Kisofukushima, and Tsumago post towns, as well as Magome to the south. Many visitors walk the hiking trail which follows the Nakasendo between Tsumago and Magome post towns, or walk along the kilometer-long street of Narai. Kisofukushima is home to two of Kiso’s sake breweries, Nanawarai and Nakanorisan, and has several hot spring hotels and a foot bath to warm up during the cold winter months.

See the schedule below.

Saturday, January 27th, 2018

  • Okuwa Village (around Okuwa Station) from 17:30
  • Kiso Village (around Yabuhara) from 18:00
  • Kiso Town: Hiyoshi (Yoshinaka Museum and Harano Station area) from 16:00

Sunday, January 28th, 2018

  • Shiojiri City: Niekawa (Niekawa post town) from 18:00

Saturday, February 3rd, 2018

  • Shiojiri City: Narai (Narai post town) from 18:30
  • Kiso Town: Fukushima (Kiso Fukushima Yasawa, Uemachi and Uenodan areas) from 18:00
  • Kiso Town: Kaida Kogen (Nishino Shimokurio farm area) from 10:00-15:00, 17:00 and onward
  • Otaki Village (Outaki Sightseeing Office area) from 18:00

Saturday, February 10th, 2018

  • Kiso Town: Kurokawa (Furusato Taikenkan Kisofukushima area) from 18:00
  • Nagiso Town (Tsumago area) from 17:30
  • Nakatsugawa City: Magome (Magome post town & Toson Memorial Museum area) from 18:00

Snow Resort Pass Available from Dec. 2, 2017 to Mar. 31, 2018

November 30th, 2017

Nagano Snow Resort Pass 2017-19 Flyer

The Nagano Snow Resort Pass will be available again this year from December 2, 2017 to March 31, 2018. Enjoy unlimited access between Nagano City, the Hakuba Valley, Togakushi, Matsushiro, and the Snow Monkey Park for two consecutive days. A perfect option for travelers who want a taste of Nagano’s winter charms but with limited time to savor them.

See the Snow Resort Pass page for more information, or click the above picture to see the full flyer.