Ice Sculpture Festival in Matsumoto

February 27th, 2009 by
Category: Events


Ice sculptures and Matsumoto Castle

We went to the 23rd Matsumoto Castle Ice Sculpture Festival on February 1st. This festival is held around the same time every year.

It was a very cold day, but the sky was lovely and blue. Look at this wonderful picture. Isn’t it beautiful with the ice sculpture placed in front of Matsumoto castle and the blue sky? There were around 15 sculptures that were carved from 6pm, January 31st to 6am, February 1st. I imagine it must have been so cold at night with all that ice…..

At the festival, there were some fun events and booths. Many were for kids, so they could enjoy the event too!

This is a blog for foreigners in Japan from all over the world, so here is some extra advice for our visitors.

1. I recommend you go to Matsumoto castle and the Ice carving festival if you are in town during this time.

2. You should go early in the day, before the sculptures start melting and lose some of their pieces!

3. Don’t forget to put Matsumoto castle in the background when you take pictures of the sculptures.

For more information on the Ice Sculpture Festival, see Matsumoto city’s official site:

(Near the bottom of the page)

(near)Future Astronaut from My Village!

February 26th, 2009 by
Category: Events
a banner congratulating the astronaut-elect Mr.Yui outside the wall of the village hall

a banner congratulating the astronaut-elect Mr.Yui outside the wall of the village hall

A 39 year old Self Defence Force officer who was born and brought up in Kawakami Village was selected as one of the 2 candidates for NASA astronauts.

The 2 of them were picked out of 963 applicants by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency(JAXA). They are to be trained atNASA for about 2 years before they wiil be certified as astronauts.

The story made the front page on Nagano’s biggest paper this morning,

was on the 7 o’clock nation-wide news last evening,

and of course, the top topic in Kawakami village day-care center for senior citizens!

I cannot help but keep remembering the radiant face of a 96 year old Obaachan( granny/elderly woman) when she told me that she was one of the boy’s (of course he has  grown up since she knew him) relatives.

Thank you for bringing smiling faces to us villagers, Mr.Yui,

I really hope you keep up with your good work! Cheers!

Earliest Wildflower to Bloom, Fukujuso

February 19th, 2009 by
Category: Events, Seasonal Topics

fukuj0921Fukujuso (Far East Amur adonis) is the earliest wildflower to bloom in Nagano area. It’s a sign that the long winter is coming to an end, and that spring is just around the corner. So, I feel happy 🙂 when I see the flowers for the first time in a year.
Last Saturday, I found fukujuso already blooming in a neighboring rice field. Normally, it starts blooming at the end of February or the beginning of March in my town. However, probably because of the global warming, it was very warm in the last weekend and it started blooming.
In Matsumoto, Shiga Fukujuso Festival will be held on March 7th – 28th.

Shiga Fukujuso Festival website is here (Japanese, not English)

A Circus is Coming to Town

February 19th, 2009 by
Category: Events

In conjunction with this year’s Gokaicho at Zenkoji, and to commemorate the opening of new Chikuma Station on the local Shinano Railway line, the Kigure New Circus will be held in a tent near Chikuma Station from 20-March to 24-May.  Prices are 2700 yen for adults, 1500 yen for children, with discount tickets available in advance until 10-April.  Two to three shows daily (Thursdays off).


I’m not sure what a circus has to do with Zenkoji’s esteemed once-every-seven-years Gokaicho, but it sounds like it will be fun for kids.

Kigure circus website is here (Japanese, not English)