Ramen Restaurant “Menya Marubozu” in Karuizawa

October 6th, 2011 by
Category: Cuisine, Information, Miscellaneous, Report
Power Ramen. The Ramen has a plenty of volume and a flavor of garlic. Soup is spilling over.
Wafu Niboshi Ramen. This Japanese-style soup is well flavored and made from 5 fish.

// A high school student Keisuke wrote this article under supervision of Chie Nagashima.  He chose this topic, so please enjoy what is recommended from a local student’s point of view.  This article was produced in cooperation with Nagano Prefecture Karuizawa High School and acknowledged by Nagano Prefecture.  // 

I (Keisuke) would like to introduce tasty Japanese food “Ramen noodles” to international tourists.  I often go to a very good Ramen restaurant called “Menya Marubozu” in Karuizawa.  Let me introduce the restaurant here.  The following is my interview with Mr. Tsuchiya, the owner.

Q (Keisuke): What do you think is important for this restaurant?

A (Mr. Tsuchiya): Always to be vital and cheerful, and to provide delicious meals. 

Q: What are your recommendation dishes?  And what is your important thing about Ramen?

A: The menu “Tsukemen” is using elastic noodles that are cut and crumpled by hand.  The thick dried bonito soup matches with them. “Power Ramen” has meat, vegetables, garlic, and lard on the noodles.  The soup spills over into a saucer.  The soup of “Ton-no Ramen” is made from a skull of pig simmered 12 hours, from which a unique smell is removed.  “Wafu Nigori Ramen” is using the paitan soup made from stewed pig bones and the soup made from stewed dried bonito.  The soup of “Wafu Niboshi Ramen” is well flavored and is made from 5 dried fish.  For a person who wants to eat rice, I recommend set meals.  My policy about Ramen is to provide delicious food approved by me with confidence.   

Q: How do you develop a new menu?

A: I make a new meal that I want to eat.

Q: What is Ramen for you?

A: It is like my child.  I try to grow it up with care.

Q: Thank you very much.

Please also enjoy photos we took at Menya Marubozu.  I hope you will go to the restaurant and enjoy tasty Ramen in Karuizawa.

Putting the lard on Power Ramen. This process is a point to make Ramen delicious.
This is an outward appearance of Menya Marubozu in front of Naka-Karuizawa Station.

The inside of the shop is stylish. There are 18 seats.



Mr. Tsuchiya is answering our questions.



I am eating Power Ramen. Very good!


Name of the facility Menya Marubozu
Description of business Ramen noodle restaurant
Address 3225 Nagakura, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0111 Japan
  • TEL: 0267-46-6226 (Japan country code: 81)
  • FAX: 0267-46-6226 (Japan country code: 81)
Access 30-second walk from Naka-Karuizawa Station (Shinano Railway)
Operating dates and hours Lunch 11:30-14:30, Dinner 17:30-22:00. Irregularly closed.
Prices Wafu Niboshi Ramen JPY700, Ton-no Ramen JPY700, Wafu Nigori Ramen JPY700, Noko Wafu Tegiri Tsukemen Small: JPY630 / Large: JPY900, Power Ramen JPY750  
How to contact Tel
General information of Karuizawa Contact Karuizawa Tourist Information Offices: TEL: 0267-42-5538 (Old Town) / 0267-42-2491 (Karuizawa Station) / 0267-45-6050 (Naka Karuizawa Station). http://karuizawa-kankokyokai.jp/ (Click “English” button.)

Cottage Inn Log-cabin and Barbecue Restaurant LOG-TEI in Karuizawa

September 30th, 2011 by
Category: Accomodations, Cuisine, Information, Miscellaneous, Report
Barbecue (Yakiniku) dinner with prime quality beef.
Shabushabu dinner with prime quality beef. You boil beef and vegetables and eat them with special sauce.

Are you interested in staying at a cottage-type room, rather than a normal hotel room, and having delicious barbecue dinner in Karuizawa? If yes, I recommend you to stay at “Cottage Inn Log-cabin” (accommodation), which has “Barbecue Restaurant LOG-TEI” (restaurant) on the same site.

An only 5-minute walk from Naka-Karuizawa Station takes you to Cottage Inn Log-cabin and Barbecue Restaurant LOG-TEI surrounded by the nature.  All of the guestrooms are wooden cottages with bath and toilet, so you can fully enjoy your private time. As they have different types of cottages, anyone can enjoy a comfortable stay, from couples, friends, families to a large group of 20.

One of the great advantages to stay at this inn is that you can enjoy delicious barbecue and other dishes in the restaurant on the same venue. The restaurant LOG-TEI is known for providing high-quality meat dishes, such as Barbecue (in Japanese “Yakiniku”, grilled meat and vegetables cooked at a table) and Shabushabu (a hot-pot with thinly-sliced meat and vegetables boiled at a table). The restaurant is open to the public, so those who don’t stay at this hotel are also welcomed.

I hope you will enjoy a special resort holiday here!

Appearance of “Barbecue Restaurant LOG-TEI”.
All the rooms of “Cottage Inn Log-cabin” are cottages made of natural logs.

"Family Cottage" with a loft for 3 or 4 guests.



"Romance Cottage" for 2 guests.



If you want to enjoy a large bathroom, "Family Bath" is available on site.

Name of the facility Cottage Inn Log-cabin (accommodation) / Barbecue Restaurant LOG-TEI (restaurant)
Description of business Accommodation (capacity: 50 guests), restaurant
Address 3148-1, Naka-Karuizawa, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0111
  • TEL: 0267-45-6007 (Japan country code: 81)
  • FAX: 0267-45-0365 (Japan country code: 81)
E-mail karuizawa@log-cabin.co.jp
URL http://www.log-cabin.co.jp/ (Click “English”)
  • From Naka-Karuizawa Station (Shinano Railway): 5 minutes on foot
  • From Karuizawa Station (JR Nagano Shinkansen): 7 minutes by taxi  *Free pickup is also available, so please contact.
Operating dates and hours
  • Cottage Inn Log-cabin: open every day
  • Barbecue Restaurant LOG-TEI: Closed on Wednesday except for summer (Open every day in summer), 11:00-14:00 for lunch, 17:00-21:00 for dinner
  • Cottage Inn Log-cabin (room rate per person for a group of 2 guests): JPY6,000 without meals on weekday, JPY6,500 without meals on weekend, JPY8,500 with dinner and breakfast on weekday, JPY9,000 with dinner and breakfast on weekend
  • Barbecue Restaurant LOG-TEI: Barbecue dinner with prime beef at JPY6,090 (price for 2 guests), and much more menus
How to contact http://www.log-cabin.co.jp/reserve.html for on-line reservation (in Japanese). You can also make inquiries by “contact us” form on the English website or by e-mail above.
General information of Karuizawa Contact Karuizawa Tourist Information Offices: TEL: 0267-42-5538 (Old Town) / 0267-42-2491 (Karuizawa Station) / 0267-45-6050 (Naka Karuizawa Station). http://karuizawa-kankokyokai.jp/ (Click “English” button.)

Karuizawa Taliesin

August 29th, 2011 by
Category: Cuisine, Culture Art, Events, Experience, Information, Miscellaneous, Outdoor Activities, Report, Seasonal Topics, Shopping, Sightseeing
Autumn leaves on the shores of Lake Shiozawa.
Yonjyuyonenkan is a building originally constructed as a post office in 1911. It is now a restaurant and a museum.

I would like to give you the latest information of “Karuizawa Taliesin” (the previous article is here). 

Karuizawa Taliesin is a leisure park which has Lake Shiozawa, museums, play facilities, restaurants, shops and a rose garden.  It is a very popular tourist spot in Karuizawa because you can enjoy the beautiful lake and the nature.  The park shows different scenic beauty every season.  If you wish to see marvelous red and yellow leaves reflecting on the lake, the best season is approaching.

If you are interested in historical architecture, Taliesin has several important buildings which were transferred from other locations.  For example, “Meiji Yonjyuyonenkan” is a building constructed as a post office in 1911.  It is now used as “Kouko Fukazawa Nonohana Museum” and “Shunsai Pasta Restaurant Sonnet”.   “Suikyuso”, designed by an architect W. M. Vories, used to be a summer residence of Tomiko Asabuki, a prominent writer and translator of French literature.  “The Summer House” of Antonin Raymond, a masterpiece in architectural history, is used as “Musee PEYNET” today.   

If you feel like art or literature, your choices include “Musee PEYNET”, which exhibits works of a French painter Raymond Peynet, “Kouko Fukazawa Nonohana Museum”, showing paintings of wild flowers, and the “Literary Museum of Karuizawa”, exhibiting manuscripts and correspondence of writers connected with Karuizawa.

Moreover, Taliesin has a choice of great restaurants.  So you can enjoy taking a rest with great food and drinks.  You can get souvenirs, too, of course, at the shops.  And last but not least, you can just simply relax on the lakeshore.

Why not visit Karuizawa Taliesin to have a refreshing holiday?

Boats and Suikyuso.  Taliesin is the only place in Karuizawa where you can enjoy boating.
A waterway. This is the view before your eyes when you enter Taliesin from Central Gate.

Inside of the Literary Museum of Karuizawa.



Musee PEYNET. The building used to be "the Summer House" of Antonin Raymond.



"Suikyuso", designed by W. M. Vories, was a summer villa of Tomiko Asabuki.

Name of the facility Karuizawa Taliesin
Description of business Park with museums, play facilities, restaurants, shops, rose garden
Address 217, Shiozawako, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0111
Operating dates and hours Open from 9:00 to 17:00 (10:00 to 16:00 in winter).
  • Park admission: JPY800 (adults), JPY400 (elementary and junior high).
  • Park and Museums combination ticket: JPY1,500 (adults), JPY800 (elementary and junior high).
  • TEL: 0267-46-6161 (Japan country code: 81)
  • FAX: 0267-45-3663 (Japan country code: 81)
E-mail taliesin@karuizawataliesin.com
How to contact Tel or email
URL http://www.karuizawataliesin.com
General information of Karuizawa Contact Karuizawa Tourist Information Offices: TEL: 0267-42-5538 (Old Town) / 0267-42-2491 (Karuizawa Station) / 0267-45-6050 (Naka Karuizawa Station). http://karuizawa-kankokyokai.jp/ (Click “English” button.)

Glass Studio KARUIZAWA

August 26th, 2011 by
Category: Culture Art, Events, Experience, Information, Miscellaneous, Report, Shopping, Sightseeing
Beautiful blown glasses.  Why don’t you make your own glass? (Glass Blowing Course) 
Blowing a glass. (Glass Blowing Course)

One good way to make your travel more memorable and fulfilling is that you “create” something at the destination.  Today I would like to introduce “Glass Studio KARUIZAWA”, which provides various glass-making courses.  You can bring your work home, so it will become a wonderful souvenir.

Their recommended course is “Glass Blowing Course”.  In this class you will make your only glass existing in the world by choosing your favorite colors and shapes.   

They have several glass decorating courses, too.  In “Engraving Course”, you will engrave a glass with a diamond drill.  In “Sandblasting Course”, you will depict pictures by sandblasting that creates a frosted look.  In “Painting Course”, you will illustrate a glass using paint.

“Candle Making Course” is also popular.  You will make your own candle by putting transparent gel wax and lovely small glass objects into a candle.

Karuizawa is a place where many artists choose for their creative activities.  I’m sure your glass making experience will be a great memory of Karuizawa.


Glasses with sandblasted finish. (Sandblasting Course)
Glass candles with transparent gel wax and glass objects inside. (Candle Making Course)

Children working during a sandblasting course.


Glasses shining in the dark with accumulated light (option).


Outlook of the studio.

Name of the facility Glass Studio KARUIZAWA
Description of business Offering glass blowing and decorating courses.  Selling glass works.
Tel 0267-48-0881 (Japan country code: 81)
Fax 0267-48-0881 (Japan country code: 81)
Email karuizawaglass@nifty.com
Address 664-9, Nagakura, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0111, Japan
How to contact Reservation accepted by telephone. (Email also accepted)
  • From Karuizawa Station: 7 minutes by car or 20 minutes by bike.
  • From Nakakaruizawa Station: 5 minutes by car or 10 minutes by bike.
  • From Usui Karuizawa I.C. of JOSHIN-ETSU EXPRESSWAY: 10 minutes by car (parking space available).
Operating hours
  • Golden Week Holidays (end of April to beginning of May, changeable yearly), July, August and September: Open every day from 9:00 to 19:00.
  • Other periods than above: Closed on Wednesday and Thursday.  Open from 10:00 to 18:00.
Rates and other prices
  • Glass Blowing Course: From JPY3,300
  • Various Glass Decorating Courses (including painting, sandblasting and engraving): From JPY1,500
  • Candle Making Course: From JPY1,250
General information of Karuizawa Contact Karuizawa Tourist Information Offices: TEL: 0267-42-5538 (Karuizawa Kanko Kaikan) / 0267-42-2491 (Karuizawa Station) / 0267-45-6050 (Naka Karuizawa Station). http://karuizawa-kankokyokai.jp/ (Click “English” button.)

* This article is written based on the information given by the facility and the writer is not liable for the information.

B&B August 7th (Karuizawa)

August 17th, 2011 by
Category: Accomodations, Cuisine, Experience, Information, Miscellaneous, Outdoor Activities, Report, Sightseeing
Beautiful outlook of “B&B August 7th” in the evening.
The original barbecue consists of delicious pork spareribs, beef, chicken and seafood in different tasty sauces. (Dinner is optional)

Are you looking for a nice B&B in Karuizawa?  Then I’d like to introduce “B&B August 7th” located in the southern part of Karuizawa.  If you look at the left photo above showing the outlook, you will see the building has a French palace atmosphere.  The B&B’s name “August 7th” was given because it is the opening date of the B&B as well as the birthday of the owner.

The B&B welcomes tourists from overseas and has accepted many including those from the USA, Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Taiwan.  According to the owner, the inn is also loved by TV personalities, lawyers, golf competition sponsors and famous professional golf players.

You can also enjoy your stay in various ways there.  For example, you can rent barbecue equipment and enjoy barbecue with food and drinks you bring.  Or you can use the inn as a base of tennis camp.  Or you can hold a private party inviting around 10 to 40 guests.  They also welcome tourists traveling alone.  Long stayers are welcome, too.

Why not stay in B&B August 7th when you come to Karuizawa?


Breakfast. This is a photo of the hotel’s original French toast topped with season’s fruit, yogurt, blueberry sauce, and so on.
This double room called “Violet” is equipped with 16c French antique bed frame with a canopy and a chandelier.

Dining room with classic tableware.


Stylish family bathroom surrounded by the glass.


Japanese room in the old Karuizawa summer house style.

Name of the facility B&B August 7th
Description of business Accommodation (capacity: 45 guests, Japanese-style rooms, Western-style rooms), rental barbecue equipment
Tel 0267-41-4606 (Japan country code: 81)
Fax 0267-41-4555 (Japan country code: 81)
Email t.mitsuko@pnetclub.net
http://www.bbaugust7.com/ (Click “English)
Address 13-19, Nagakura, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0111, Japan
How to contact Fax, email, online reservation (website) or telephone.
  • 4 minutes by taxi from Karuizawa Station.  Take Prince Dori Street, along which Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza stands.  Turn left at the second signal called Narisawa and take the first left into a narrow graveled path.  The B&B is the second on the left.
  • 24 minutes on foot from Karuizawa Station.  Take Prince Dori Street and turn left into a graveled path 3 houses before the signal called Narisawa. The B&B is on the right on the path.
Operating hours Check-in: 16:00, Check-out: 10:00
Rates and other prices JPY6,000 without meals to JPY18,500 with breakfast per person including air-conditioning
General information of Karuizawa Contact Karuizawa Tourist Information Offices: TEL: 0267-42-5538 (Karuizawa Kanko Kaikan) / 0267-42-2491 (Karuizawa Station) / 0267-45-6050 (Naka Karuizawa Station). http://karuizawa-kankokyokai.jp/ (Click “English” button.)

* This article is written based on the information given by the facility and the writer is not liable for the information.

Musee Le Vent (museum in Karuizawa)

July 16th, 2011 by
Category: Cuisine, Culture Art, Events, Experience, Information, Miscellaneous, Shopping, Sightseeing


From 2011 exhibition.
“Kao” (Face) by Masanari Murai.
From 2011 exhibition.
“Soratobuie” (Flying house)
by Yoji Kuri.

“Musee Le Vent” is a museum in Karuizawa related to a school called Bunka Gakuin.  The museum building is a reproduction of Bunka Gakuin’s school building at the time of foundation in 1921.  Designed by Isaku Nishimura, the school founder and the artist, the museum is in the British cottage style with a beautiful garden, from which you can see Mt. Asama well.

The museum offers two exhibitions, one with its permanent collection and the other with a themed special collection.  The permanent exhibition includes works of Isaku Nishimura and of artists related to Bunka Gakuin, such as Kaoru Yamaguchi, the painter, and Akiko Yosano, the poet.  As for the special exhibition, the theme of the year 2011 is “Flowering of Individuality — small and good things (Isaku Nishimura’s words) —“.  The special exhibition is now showing works of graduates of Bunka Gakuin, who became first-class artists after graduation, such as Masanari Murai, Yoji Kuri and Setsu Nagasawa.

I would like to add that the museum has a very nice cafe that has a spacious terrace facing the charming lawn garden.  You can enjoy great food, cakes and drinks.  The cafe and the neighboring museum shop can be entered without museum admission tickets, so you can drop in and enjoy relaxing time anytime.   The museum also holds several concerts in August.  Why not come to Karuizawa to spend a wonderful time in Musee Le Vent this summer and autumn? 

Musee Le Vent is located in the quiet greenery setting in the southern part of Karuizawa.
A menu from Cafe Le Vent. The quiche with smoked salmon and asparagus is delicious.

Museum shop Le Vent sells a selection of art goods.



From 2011 exhibition. "Aoitaitsude" (In blue tights) by Setsu Nagasawa.


The rice omelet is a popular menu at Le Vent Cafe.

Name of the facility Musee Le Vent
Description of business Museum, shop, cafe
Tel 0267-46-1911 / 03-3401-8896 (Tokyo office)
Fax 0267-46-1910 / 03-3401-8896 (Tokyo office)
Email info@levent.or.jp
Address 957-10, Nagakura, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0111, Japan
How to contact Tel, fax or email.
Access 15 minutes by taxi from Karuizawa Station of JR Nagano Shinkansen or Shinano Tetsudo (Shinano Railway) or 5 minutes by taxi from Nakakaruizawa Station of Shinano Tetsudo. 12 kilometers from Usui Karuizawa Interchange.
Operating hours 10:00 – 17:00 from the mid June to the beginning of November.  Closed on Wednesday (no closure from July 15 to September 15).
Rates and other prices [Admission to the museum]

  • Adults: JPY800
  • University and senior high students: JPY600
  • Junior high and elementary students: JPY400

* Discount available for groups of 15 or more and for the disabled.

General information of Karuizawa Contact Karuizawa Tourist Information Offices: TEL: 0267-42-5538 (Karuizawa Kanko Kaikan) / 0267-42-2491 (Karuizawa Station) / 0267-45-6050 (Naka Karuizawa Station). http://karuizawa-kankokyokai.jp/ (Click “English” button.)

The earthquakes and Karuizawa’s situation

March 16th, 2011 by
Category: Information, Miscellaneous, Report

First of all, I would like to express my deepest sympathy to all the victims of the massive earthquakes on March 11.  I can’t stop praying for the damaged areas’ soonest recovery.  I have also been touched with other countries’ concern and assistance for Japan.  

As I have received lots of inquiries about the situation in Karuizawa, let me make a quick notice here.  Karuizawa, where I live, has not been affected by the earthquakes, as announced by Karuizawa Tourist Association.  As far as I know, the life is generally normal and the companies and shops are operated.

For those who wish to have official information on Japan, here (http://www.jnto.go.jp/eq/) is the Japanese government’s “notice for overseas visitors traveling Northeastern Japan and the surrounding areas including Tokyo”.  It has comprehensive information in English.  Please be careful not to get incorrect or outdated information when you plan a trip.  If you want to know anything about individual facilities or events, I recommend you to check with that concerned party.  Many facilities are operated as normal in Nagano.

With warmest regards.

Nagano’s Pure Honey at HACHIHIGE OJISAN (Bee-Man)’s SHOP

March 9th, 2011 by
Category: Cuisine, Information, Miscellaneous, Report, Shopping
From the left, honey from horse chestnut, acacia, and apple.  All made in Shinshu, which means Nagano.
Famous “Hachihige Ojisan” or “Bee-Man”. What is his beard made of?

Please have a close look at the right picture above.  What is his full beard made of?  Yes, his beard is made of lots of bees! 

This man is called “Hachihige Ojisan” or “Bee-Man”, a familiar face on TV and other media.  Literally, “hachi” means “bee”, “hige” means “beard”, and “ojisan” means “man”.  He is the apiculturist (beekeeper) and president of an apiculture company called “Hachihige Ojisan Oigihara Yohoen Inc.” founded in 1936.  I visited its honey factory in a beautiful rural area in Karuizawa where Mt. Asama could be well viewed and was able to talk to him.

Ogihara Yohoen is a true professional of bees and honey in Nagano.  They grow various trees that produce flowers with sweet nectar, keep bees in beehives, gather honey, and sell a variety of honey and honey- and bee-related products.  In their vast apiaries at the foot of mountains in Nagano, there are about 1,300 beehives, each of which has about as many as 45,000 bees.  The annual honey production is approximately 30 tons on average. 

I asked Mr. Ogihara, Bee-Man, why his honey was so popular.  “One reason is that all of our honey is produced in Nagano, which is climatically and geographically ideal to produce honey, and we place great importance on safety,” he said.  “Another is that our honey is pure and natural.  It contains rich nutrition from nature as it is, so it’s good for your health.”

They have various flavors of honey depending the flowers: acacia, horse chestnut, soba (buckwheat), apples, chestnut, blueberry, cherry and many others.  If you go to their shops, you can taste honey of various flavors to decide which is your favorite.  You can get their delicious honey and other products at 8 shops (please refer to “Access” in the table below).  They welcome both individual customers and group tour customers.  It will also be fun to visit their honey farm in Saku city open to the public in limited periods.

If you are a fan of honey, I’m sure you will enjoy visiting Hachihige Ojisan Ogihara Yohoen and their shops.  Have a “sweet” time there!


One of HACHIHIGE OJISAN (Bee-Man)’s SHOPs in Karuizawa. This is called Kyu-Karuizawa Chuo Shop.
Taking care of bees.

Flowers of acacia, a source of honey. Acacia honey can be widely used such as for drinks and pickles.


The apiaries of Hachihige Ojisan Ogihara Yokoen Inc. with many beehives.


Inside a beehive, which contains as many as about 45,000 bees.

Name of the facility Hachihige Ojisan Ogihara Yohoen Inc. (Bee-Man Ogihara Apiculture Inc.)
Description of business Production and sales of honey, royal jelly, propolis, bee larvae and other bee-related products
Tel 0267-46-5012 (Japan country code: 81)
Fax 0267-46-5052 (Japan country code: 81)
Email ogihara@ogihara832.co.jp
Address 405-2, Aza-Yoshinosakashita, Oiwake, Karuizawa-machi, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano-ken, 389-0115, Japan
Reservations and inquiries Email or fax
  • Momozawa Shop (on Route 142, Saku City)
  • Koumi Shop (on Route 141, Koumi Town)
  • Karuizawa Kyudoten Ichigo Shop (on Karuizawa Ginza Shopping Street, Karuizawa Town)
  • Karuizawa Kyudoten Nigo Shop (on Karuizawa Ginza Shopping Street, Karuizawa Town)
  • Karuizawa Chuo Shop (on Karuizawa Ginza Shopping Street, Karuizawa Town)
  • Honey Farm (Mochizuki, Saku City)
  • Karuizawa Ekimae Shop (3 mins from Karuizawa Station, Karuizawa Town)
  • Head Office and Honey Factory (Please follow a sign on Route 18, Oiwake, Karuizawa Town)
Operating dates and hours
  • Head Office and Honey Factory: Open from 9:00 to 17:00 from Mon to Fri.  (Sat and Sun: open irregulary)
  • Karuizawa Chuo Shop: Open every day of the year from 9:00 to 18:00 (time is changeable in winter)
  • The other shops: Please contact.
Rates and other prices Please contact the company.
General information of Karuizawa Contact Karuizawa Tourist Information Offices: TEL: 0267-42-5538 (Old Town) / 0267-42-2491 (Karuizawa Station) / 0267-45-6050 (Naka Karuizawa Station). http://karuizawa-kankokyokai.jp/ (Click “English” button.)

Atmospheric Streets in Matsumoto

February 6th, 2011 by
Category: Information, Miscellaneous, Shopping
Nawate street near the castle
Nawate street near the castle

Ever since I visited a flea market for secondhand kimono in mid January at Fukashi Shrine in Matsumoto, I have had my heart set on a certain secondhand kimono at a recycle shop on Nakamachi Dori street.

To cut a long story short, I went back to Matsumoto the other day only to find the kimono had been sold, alas!!
By the way, I bet there are some visitors to Japan who would like to purchase a kimono, but retreat because of its eye-rolling price.
I would recommend  recycle kimono shops to such visitors.
I myself make it a hobby to browse those shops occasionally. They usually handle the fabric nicely, and the prices are often less than 10% of ordinarily ordered kimonos.
OK, so much for my pitiful experience.
There are two little nice streets in front of Matsumoto castle; Nakamachi Dori street and Nawate Dori street.
Ougi-ya confectionary

Okina-do confectionary

First I took a walk on Nakamachi Dori street, and peeked in a little Scale Museum along the street.
There they exhibit various kinds of scales from several hundreds ago.
The staff advised me to peek in to Okina-do confectinary to see their old storehouse, or Kura  in japanese word.
So I ventured in to the confectionary, and a lady there kindly showed me the restored old warehouse in their backyard.
traditional japanese sweets as well as chocolates are sold in reasonable prices

traditional japanese sweets as well as chocolates are sold in reasonable prices

http://www.mcci.or.jp/www/okinado/index01.htm  This is the confectuonary’s HP in Japanese.
the entrance to the Kura, warehouse

the entrance to the Kura, warehouse

In their backyard, there is a nicely restored Kura, warehouse.
Inside the kura, there are junky treasures!
From daily used utensils of some 100 years ago, old day tools for making the typical Japanese confectioneries, to a collection of the Kiso Yoshinaka warrior which happens to be the historical  interest of the confectionary owner.
To tell you a bit complicated situation, the fact is,
Okina-do confectionary has its own shop/factory at a place nearer to the castle, and they rent this place along with the kura to hold the branch shop here.
The landlord has a zeal in restoring old style warehouses, and thus they jointly work to preserve old Kuras.
Nakamachi Dori street has many such nice shops. Explore the street one shop by another would be a nice experience.
http://www.mcci.or.jp/www/nakamati/ This is a Japanese language HP for the street.
Aside from the Nakamachi Dori street and cross the Metoba river, you come across a smaller scale, cozy Nawate Dori street.
There are much junkier taste antique shops and eateries.
http://www.nawate.net/  Also a Japanese language HP for the Nawate Dori street.
locals incessantly ring the bell and pray at this shrine

locals incessantly ring the bell and pray at this shrine at the entrance of the street

Renewing the Shoji Sliding Doors

December 24th, 2010 by
Category: Culture Art, Information, Miscellaneous, Seasonal Topics
freezing Yatsugatake Mt Range
freezing Yatsugatake Mt Range


In this time of the year, when we village women ask each other, “Have you finished what you have to do?”, it always means O-soji, literally a big cleaning of the house.

And this big house cleaning means either polishing all the windows in and out, or changing the paper for all the shoji sliding doors.

Shoji sliding doors are the kind used inside a  Japanese style house to divide one large room into some separate cubicles,or just used right inside glass sliding doors to make the room look like Japanese. ( It certainly serves to make the room temperature warm at night.)

You can see them sliding in the front page of our Nagano Tourism HP; http://www.go-nagano.net/

I scheduled my household’s paper changing task to be yesterday and today.

from outside the Obachan's room

from outside the Obachan's room

 See, I last changed the paper two years ago, and there are some holes on the door.

Whenever a hole opens on the door, we fix it by patching paper. You can see the patches, can you?



First I took off the doors from the sill.



soak the frame through the paper with water

soak the frame through the paper with water


Then soak a washing cloth with plenty of water and rub the frame from outside of shoji.( ie. through the paper)

By soaking the paper with water, it can easily be peeled away from the frame,because the glue which attaches the paper onto the frame is a wheat+water material.




the picture is taken from the sideway, so please cock your head to the left and see it

the picture is taken from the sideway, so please cock your head to the left and see it


Peel the paper cautiously so there will be none or very little remains of paper crumbles on the frame.
(Or if you have small children, and you want to make them help some household chores in joy, you can make them punch the paper to their hearts’ content and tear away from the frame.
Just that you will have to scrub off the remained paper bits from the wooden frame.)
naked wooden frame of shoji doors

naked wooden frame of shoji doors

lay the frame and adjust paper

lay the frame and adjust paper

I had bought 6 rolls of shoji paper from a DIY shop. 
You have to adjust the paper before brushing on the glue to the frame, making sure the paper goes straight to the boottom.           
paste glue onto the frame using a specified brush

paste glue onto the frame using a specified brush

You have to be careful not to step on the frame. It can easily be broken!       
cimg1243 Spread the sheet of paper onto the glued frame.
put the doors back in the sill

put the doors back in the sill

Well done! One roomful of shoji.
 Four more to go, including one room upstairs.    
a picture I intend to use for our New Year's greeting card
a picture I intend to use for our New Year’s greeting card

       Newly papered Shoji doors are safely in place by the evening and we took pictures for our New Year’s greeting card.

You see other paper made sliding doors behind us? they are another kind called Fusuma.
Fusuma doors are a bit too difficult for ordinary person like me to renew.
So we ask a pro to do the work, maybe once in 10 years or so.