Here in Togura Kamiyada Onsen just outside of Nagano City, we felt the big, m8.9 earthquake Friday afternoon. The ground shook and street lights swayed. I was driving some guests from the train station at the time. We’re a long ways (about 450 kilometers) from Sendai which is nearby the epicenter, so the shaking wasn’t that violent here. No damage, no books or dishes falling from shelves or anything. But the scary part was how long the quake lasted. Officially it was 2 minutes, but it seemed a lot longer than that.
Then Saturday morning around 4am, another earthquake hit on the northern edge of our prefecture, Nagano. It was much more of a shocker, but fortunately no damage. It woke us all up. It was over pretty quickly but was followed by several aftershocks that kept us from going back to sleep.
Through it all, we’ve had no problems with gas, electricity, water, onsen water, or anything. Phone service was sketchy for a while, though.
So, no damage, no injuries. And from what I hear from my fellow innkeepers across the prefecture, that is pretty much the case with all inns in Nagano. Even at the onsen town closest to the Saturday morning quake, some inns had minor damage with falling roof tiles.
Transportation-wise, the Nagano Shinkansen is now running on schedule. The JR Iiyama Line suffered a landslide forcing the track to be closed past Togari Nozawa Onsen Station. JR Ltd. Exp. “Azusa” from Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station to Matsumoto is out of service due to electricity shortage near Tokyo. **UPDATE** As of 17-March, JR Ltd. Exp. “Azusa” is running again. All other lines in Nagano are operating normally. Updated info (in Japanese) at http://traininfo.jreast.co.jp/train_info/shinetsu.aspx
No rolling black out warnings (Nagano is on a separate electrical grid from Tokyo), and we are several hundred kilometers outside the nuclear danger zone. We are waiting to show you our usual ‘omotenashi’ hospitality.
At the same time, we pray for those who suffered loss from the earthquake and tsunami.
Will let you know about any further news.
Tyler / Togura Kamiyamada Onsen