百名山である2,354mの四阿山と花百名山である2,207mの根子岳は菅平牧場から約7時間の登山ループで繋がれている。Mt. Azumaya (one of Japan’s 100 Famous Mountains) and Neko-dake (a Top 100 Wildflower Mountain) can both be climbed via a 7-hour loop hike from the Sugadaira Pasture.
We’d climbed both peaks individually before but on 20-April we managed to do the 2.5km course to Nekodake after summiting Mt. Azumaya for an enjoyable loop hike. The 360-degree view from the top of Azumaya was particularly impressive, and the trail offers a great variety of scenery, from bamboo grass with birch trees to pine forests. Nekodake’s course runs along a cow pasture at the bottom for expansive views of the Sugadaira Highlands and ski areas.
長野市・善光寺さんの七年に一度のご開帳は6月29日（水）まで。駐車場が溢れて、回向柱、戒壇巡り、御朱印そしてお蕎麦屋さんに列が長くて、最後まで待つ人が多いんで、これからはさらに混む可能性大。ラストスパートのご開帳のためのアドバイスを提供します。The venerable Zenkoji Temple in center of Nagano City is celebrating its once every 7 years Gokaicho ceremony through 29-June.
先日は常連のお客様の送迎でさくらんぼの出荷場に寄ってお土産に買ってあげました。The other day I was driving some longtime guests home and stopped at a cherry stand and bought them some as a gift.
お客様は90代の女性お二人です。前回に送迎した時はハゼ掛けの時期でしたのでせっかくだから姨捨棚田をサービスで通りました。お二人に凄く印象的だったのようで、今回の滞在で「素敵な思い出だった」と何回か言ってくださりました。（90代の割には頭がしっかり…） The guests were a pair of ladies in their nineties. Last time they came it was rice harvest season so on the drive here I took them through the Obasute Rice Terraces. Apparently the scenery made a big impact on them because they couldn’t stop talking about it. (Both of their minds are quite sharp for being in their nineties.)
今回の送迎でより大きな印象を、と思い、しかし、何が良いかと悩みました。そして、途中にさくらんぼの出荷場があると思い出しました。シーズンが短いんですが運が良く販売してました。On the drive this time I was hoping to do something that would make an even bigger impact. Then I remembered there’s a cherry stand along the way. Cherry season is so short but fortunately they were open.
お二人は朝採りのさくらんぼが初めてだった様で、大喜び。90代の方を喜ばせるのはなかなか難しいですが、おかげ様で大成功しました！It was their first time to have fresh-picked cherries so they were very pleased. It’s not everyday that you can make a pair of ninety year olds happy but this was an outstanding success!
次回はさらに大きな印象が出来る様に、青い目のおもてなしにおまかせください♪ Next time I’ve got to think of something to make an even bigger impact, but that’s what hospitality is about.
戸倉上山田温泉の夏祭りと千曲川花火大会は3年ぶりに開催決定なのでカレンダーに入れましょう♪ Togura Kamiyamada’s Onsen Summer Festival and Chikuma River Fireworks will both be held for the first time in 3 years, so mark your calendar!
2022年千曲川花火大会8月7日 2022 Chikuma River Fireworks 07-August
第91回信州千曲市千曲川納涼煙火大会が2022年8月7日（日）午後7時半〜9時まで開催。我が亀清旅館から川辺（土手）まで徒歩5分。かなり迫力のある花火です。打上げ数がなんと10,000発！近くから見えますから真上で光る様な感覚。そして音は周辺の山から響くし。グランフィナーレの万葉橋の「ナイヤガラ」が格別。 The 91st edition of Togura's Chikuma River Fireworks will be held on Sunday 07-August 7:30-9pm. The riverside viewing area is a short 5 minute walk from our inn Kamesei Ryokan. This is a stunning pyrotechnical display with over 10,000 fireworks launched. From the river bank the explosions seem to happen practically overhead, with the flashes reflecting on the surface of the Chikuma River and the sound reverberating off the surrounding hills. The grand finale includes an awe-inspiring "Niagara" of fireworks extending the length of Manyo Bridge.
2022年上山田温泉夏祭り9月18日に延期 2022 Kamiyamada Onsen Summer Festival postponed to 18-September
コロナの影響で2022年度の上山田温泉夏祭りは海の日の連休から9月18日日（日）に延期。若連のお神輿と勇獅子と冠着太鼓がいつもの様に燃えます♪ Kamiyamada Onsen's Summer Festival normally takes place on the Marine Day holiday weekend in July, but this year it will be held on Sunday 18-September instead. The energetic Omikoshi (portable shrines), massive Shishi Lion and Kamuriki Taiko Drummers will be as explosive as always.
子供達が真っ直ぐに成長するように。 Children’s Day is officially May 5th but here in the countryside many such holidays are celebrated 1 month later. Part of the tradition is to put a type of iris called ‘Shobu’ (Acorus calamus, “sweet flag”) in the bath.
Shobu grows straight and strong so it is placed in the bath in the hopes that children also grow up that way. The phrase for ‘fight to the finish’ is also called ‘Shobu’ so another reason for the tradition is hoping children grow up stronger.
Setsubun-so (Eranthis pinnatifida “winter aconite”) is a cute harbinger of winter. The wildflower’s tiny (2-3cm) snowy white petals contrast with the purple and yellow stamens to form an elegant color combination. In warmer climates it blooms around Setsubun, the change in seasons around February 3rd, hence the flower’s name. Here at our elevation the snow doesn’t melt until early March so Setsubun-so blooms a month later. (Note: for 2022 there’s been an unusually large snowfall so prime viewing won’t start until around the weekend of March 12th.)
Kobo-Yama is the smallish mountain behind national treasure Zenzan-ji Temple on Ueda City’s Shioda Plain. Despite its short stature the view from the summit is stunning but what makes Kobo-Yama distinct are the remains of the Warring State era Shioda Castle and the adventure of finding the 33 stone Buddhas tucked into crevices around the peak.
弘法山 Mt. Kobo (842m)
距離 Length 1.3km. 標高差 Elevation Gain 280m. 登り Ascent 90 min. 下り Descent 90 min. （探検しながら、前山寺見学含め）難度 Level of Difficulty: 初心者 Easy (冬は雪でアイゼン必須・中級 In winter Moderate due to needing crampons when snow). 2022.03.01
ACCESS: By car, Zenzan-ji Temple is a National Treasure so well-signed. Use the large parking lot by the public toilet. By train, from Ueda Station take the Bessho Line to Shiodamachi and transfer to Bus #8 to the Zenzan-ji stop (frequency and operation limited). From Kamesei Ryokan, 20km (40 min.) by car. From Togura Station via Ueda 45 min. to Shiodamachi +20 min. bus or 5 min. taxi.
コース: 正面の登山口と塩田城経由の二つのコースがあるからループ可能。33石仏探しも含めて中嶋豊さんの「信州山歩き地図・里山編III北信東信」がマスト。COURSE: Two trailheads (official one above Zenzan-ji Temple and via Shioda Castle) so can be done as a loop. For both the course and for finding the 33 stone Buddhas, get Yutaka Nakajima’s 3rd hiking book.
信州の冬の人気な楽しみ方は温泉にのんびり入ってハウスでいちご狩りをする事です。外は寒いからこそ温泉は気持ち良いし、いちご狩りのハウスの中がぽかぽかです。何しろ、苺が甘くて美味しいです！ Here in Nagano one way that’s popular for enjoying winter is to soak in a hot spring bath and to go all-you-can-eat strawberry picking in a toasty warm greenhouse.
この亀清旅館・戸倉上山田温泉の同じ千曲市にアグリパークと言う有名ないちご狩り場所があります。約19kmで車で18分です。いちご狩りは時間制限無しで楽しめて、複数な種類があります。二段に分けてあるので小さいお子さん達は下の段がちょうど採りやすい高さです。隣接にパン屋さん、食堂、サボテンガーデン、みかん狩りハウス、植木や花の販売もあり、長く遊べます。 In the same Chikuma City that our Kamesei Ryokan and Onsen Town Togura Kamiyamada are located is Agri-Park, a famous strawberry picking spot. Located only 19km away, it is 18 minutes by car (or around 45 minutes by bicycle). There is no time limit For picking and eating the strawberries and several different varieties to try. Agri-Park also has a cactus garden, mikan orange picking, a bakery and cafeteria, and a flower and plant nursery so it is easy to spend half a day there.
東京方面からのお客様にいちご狩りのお勧め: 小諸市「布引いちご園」。ここの苺はまた甘〜い！ハウスも広くて中に食べれるテーブルと椅子もあります。隣接に立ち寄り湯もあります。For guests coming from the Tokyo area, another recommended strawberry picking place is Nunobiki Ichigo-en in Komoro City. The berries there are the sweetest, and the greenhouses are spacious and even have a designated eating area with tables and chairs.
The giant cedar trees of Togakushi’s Okusha (Inner Shrine) in the mountains above central Nagano City are popular as a sort of Power Vortex. The cedars are especially impressive during the winter and the area is our favorite place for snowshoeing.
Winter in Nagano is synonymous with skiing and snowboarding and rightly so. But steadily snowshoeing is gaining in popularity. We’ve gone snowshoeing throughout the prefecture but keep returning to our favorite: Togakushi. It has areas that are only accessible when covered in snow and would be impossible with just regular shoes.
When we went in early February there was about 5 feet of snow. We parked at the Okusha entrance, put on the snowshoes, passed the Torii gate and headed towards the Zuijinmon Gate which marks the beginning of the cedars.
冬で鏡池に雪が積もるから上に歩ける。戸隠連峰が迫力ある背景になります。ピクニックには最適な場所。 In winter Kagami Ike (“Mirror Pond”) is covered by a layer of snow so thick that you can walk out on to the middle of the pond, meaning you can literally walk on water. With the towering Togakushi Range as a dramatic backdrop the pond makes a perfect place for a picnic.