Nagano today?

July 11th, 2018

My family of five plan to travel to Nagano today but are concerned for our safety due to the recent flooding and landslides. Can you please update me on my concern?  Thank you. 

Operating Hours of Gondola and Lifts in Hakuba

July 3rd, 2018



Please kindly advise the operating hours of these gondola and lifts in Hakuba in October ? This will help us to plan our 90-min walk to and 90-min from the Happo pond; to catch the last ride down to the valley. Thank u.


1.Gondola Lift Adam

2. Alpine Quad lift

3. Gratto Quad lift 

Shiga Kogen climbing mountain trail run -How do I enter?

June 25th, 2018

Hi Blair 
I would like to enter the Shiga Kogen climbing mountain trail run held on the 7 July 2018 … but I cannot become a member of runnet due to not having a Japanese telephone number.  

Apparently this run has spectacular scenery … I only want to do the 14.8 km on the July 7, 2018, as the marathon is a little too much for me.

Is there a way that tourists can enter?

Today I ran the Rockin’ Bear run at Mount Kurohime, which was beautiful.  To enter this run I contacted the organisers directly – North Shinano Trail Freaks (KTF) – who organised it so I could enter and pay on the day … & it was well worth it : )

I have written to the Shiga Kogen climbing mountain trail secretariat, but alas, have not been able to get a response. 

Could you guide me as to an alternate route to enter this trail run.

Thank you kindly 

Snowy Monkey 1Day Pass Validity 2019

June 21st, 2018


I’m planning to visit Snow Monkey Park from Nagano on the 1st week of February 2019. There was a post in 2017 that the Snowy Monkey 1Day Pass is only valid from April to September. Is it still the case now? What other options do I have?






Any late night food suggestions in Matsumoto?

June 4th, 2018


We will be visiting Matsumoto for a around a day, and will be leaving for Tokyo via bus which will be leaving at around 4am in the morning. We are planning to sleep during the bus journey, while spending the night in Matsumoto looking for any local food and hidden gems that is available late into the night?

I was hoping you could provide us with some insights on local food restaurants/small joints/snacks etc, opening hours until after 12 am as well.

Thank you.

 Nakasendo Way best route (by bike?)

May 18th, 2018

Dear Blair 

I will be in Matsumoto for 2 days in early June.  From there I would like to experience the Nakasendo Way! : )

My many questions include:
1) Can I ride the Nakasendo Way on a cross bike instead of hiking the trail?

2) Can you suggest a preferential route to follow the Nakasendo Way along taking into account the background below?

A bit of background

  1. I am in no rush (I can give around a week for this journey +/- a few days), so the experience is more important (what that means is very vague I know – I suppose I am seeking a unique insight into Japanese culture/lifestyle/history and, if possible, various natural environments).
  2. I am fairly fit and travelling alone but not into exhausting hikes or bike rides – a 50 to 70 km bike ride is comfortable, whereas 120 km is not. 
  3. Where I finish needs to be on a train route so I can get back to Nagano city.

Thanks for your time considering my route: I am looking forward to your thoughts.



Sora Terrace in December

May 14th, 2018

Hi Blair, I’m planning to go to Sora Terrace on 24th Dec 2018, will it be likely to have the cloud sea view?  at what time is the cloud sea more likely to happen, is it at the afternoon or the evening?

in the event of snow falling, will the cable car stop operating? if the snow falling happen after I get to the Sora Terrace, how do i return back to Yudanaka Station?


Thank you very much in advance for your hel[ Blair.

Higashiyama Kaii Gallery open?

May 7th, 2018

The Nagano Prefectural Museum website announces a temporary closure from May 31 2017. Has the gallery reopened?

Luggage forwarding service

May 7th, 2018

Hi there, 

Visiting the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine route this June. Will be staying at Midagahara hotel for a night before descending to Toyama. Is there any luggage forwarding service from Nagano station to Midagahara Hotel ? Will be great if there is one so that i can just continue my journey from Nagano straight to Ogizawa to start the route.

Or do I need to take a bus from Nagano station to Shinano Omachi, forward my luggage there and then take another bus from Shinano Omachi to ogizawa ?

Driving around Karuizawa

May 2nd, 2018


Going to Karizawa in Dec 2019. We will have JR passes and will be seeing Karizawa whilst travelling from Nozawa Onsen to Osaka.

There is 5 of us travelling together.

As well as the historic town we wish to see the stone church (Karuizawa Kogen Church), Shiraito Waterfall and possibly Uni Pass lookout.

Obvously it is winter. Just checking hiring a car is possible and a reasonable way of getting to the church and the falls in a day.

I will have an interational license and drive in the snow (sludge) here in Australia.