戸倉上山田温泉にも杏♪ Apricot Blossoms here, too, at Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada

April 2, 2015: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada, 季節 Seasons, 長野に来る理由 Reasons to Come to Nagano


Apricot Blossoms in Togura-Kamiyamada Onsen, 2015.4.02

Apricot Blossoms in Togura-Kamiyamada Onsen, 2015.4.02

Yesterday was pictures of the famous apricot blossoms in Mori. Today it's Kyohoen's orchard just north of our onsen town, Togura-Kamiyamada. Flowers in full bloom, clear blue sky and a gentle spring breeze -- perfect!

Apricot Blossoms along the Chikuma River with snow-covered Mt. Takatsuma in the background

Apricot Blossoms along the Chikuma River with snow-covered Mt. Takatsuma in the background

ベルリンからSさん達を連れて行きました。Accompanied by the S. party from Berlin.

Sharing Anzu-Love Globally -- with the S. couple from Berlin.

Sharing Anzu-Love Globally -- with the S. couple from Berlin.

あんずの花が満開(亀清旅館で)! Apricot Blossoms in Full Bloom (at Kamesei)

April 1, 2015: その他 Miscellaneous



あんずの花 満開 亀清旅館客室「千歳」 2015.4.01

あんずの花 満開



Apricot blossoms in full bloom -- here at Kamesei Ryokan.  Our guest room "Chitose" has an apricot tree in its tsubo-niwa pocket garden -- perhaps the only such ryokan room in all of Japan!  Guests staying in this room can enjoy the blossoms all this week, and then guests staying here at the end of June / early July can enjoy picking fresh apricots.

The famous blossoms in nearby Mori, Japan's #1 Apricot Village, have just started blooming.  I drove there today and took this picture.  But the weather is warming up, so they should be in full bloom in just a matter of days.  Will keep you posted!

森「あんずの里」 杏の花が咲き始まった 2015.4.01

森「あんずの里」 杏の花が咲き始まった 2015.4.01

姨捨夜景ツアーx青い目の若旦那ガイド 次回が3月7日♪ My Next Turn to Guide the Obasute Night View Tour 07-Mar

March 3, 2015: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada


Tyler Guiding the Obasute Night View Tour

Tyler Guiding the Obasute Night View Tour






Togura-Kamiyamada Onsen's Obasute Night View Tour is usually accompanied by a local guide.  We take turns volunteering to guide the groups to Obasute Station to see the night view of the Zenkoji Plain down below.

My next turn is this Saturday, 07-March. 

Each of us guides has our own particular area of specialty.  Apple-growing, the region's samurai history, train trivia -- we all specialize in different things.  Mine is local legends.  I have been fortunate to have been taught several local tales by my 'senpai' superiors here, and it's fun to pass on the knowledge to visitors.

The Tour will depart around 7:50pm and costs 1000 yen, including a souvenir platform ticket from Obasute Station, a pack of miso paste, and a souvenir post card.

Actually, starting April, the price will double, so now is a great chance.  And, here at Kamesei, we had some cancelations so we still have availability for the 7th -- so it really is a great chance!

姨捨夜景ツアー Obasute Night View Tour

青い目のおもてなしが「信州おもてなし大賞」に Hospitality Recognized by the Governor!

March 3, 2015: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada, 亀清旅館 Kamesei Ryokan, 青い目のおもてなし This American’s Omotenashi, メディア Media, その他 Miscellaneous
Tyler Receiving the Nagano Omotenashi Award from the Guv

Tyler Receiving the Nagano Omotenashi Award from the Guv









On February 14th, Yours Truly, the proprietor here at Kamesei Ryokan, was preented a prize by the governor of Nagano Prefecture, Shuichi Abe-san, in recognition of my contribution to Nagano's hospitality ('omotenashi').

Personally, I feel my contributions have been limited in scope, limited to such things as:

For our guests here at Kamesei Ryokan, making an outdoor bath and baking cookies using my Mom's recipe,

For Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada, setting up rental bicycles and making a foreign language walking map / gourmet guide,

For Nagano Prefecture, making the Unique Nagano mobile app.

Little things like these start to add up, which I guess was what the judges considered in awarding me the top prize.

I still feel I am only in the early stages of learning "omotenashi", and look forward to contributing much more in the future!

長野県おもてなし大賞Nagano Prefecture Omotenashi Award

ユニーク長野 Unique Nagano

C.W. Nicol's take on the award ニコルさんの目線から

2014年で頑張ってきた団体の皆様の為の忘年会プラン♪ End-of-the-Year Party Plan 2014

October 27, 2014: その他 Miscellaneous




For all of you who worked hard with your fellow office-mates or group members, it's time to celebrate your endeavors with an End-of-the-Year party. Here at Kamesei Ryokan, we are offering a special weekday 10,000 yen plan for 'bonenkai'. We built a new banquet room this year to make your gatherings even more enjoyable. Call us for details.

忘年会 週末空き状況 (10月27日現在)Availability

10/31 金 △
11/01 土 △

11/07 金 ◎
11/08 土 〇

11/14 金 ◎
11/15 土 X

11/21 金 ◎
11/22 土 X
11/23 日 △

11/28 金 ◎
11/29 土 X

12/05 金 ◎
12/06 土 X

12/12 金 ◎
12/13 土 〇

12/19 金 △
12/20 土 △
12/21 日 △

12/26 金 ◎
12/27 土 〇

グレート☆無茶と発対面! Meeting Great ☆ Mucha

October 20, 2014: その他 Miscellaneous








Local pro wrestler Great ☆ Mucha came to Kamesei today as part of a TV shoot for local station "Shinshu TV".

信州テレビUPグランプリ Shinshu TV Up Grand Prix

グレート☆無茶 Great☆Mucha

ハロウィンin戸倉上山田温泉2014は大盛り上がり♪ Halloween in Togura-Kamiyamada Onsen 2014 a Huge Success

October 19, 2014: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada




Togura Kamiyamada Onsen's Halloween Party took place on the 19th. Around 220 kids dressed up in scary costumes and enjoyed the costume judging contest, trick-or-treating from the 60 businesses and inns that provided candy, halloween games and -- the haunted house! My kids and I with some help from friends ran the haunted house this year.

Special this year was around 20 of the participants first crossed the river and did a Halloween Parade at the Togura Gymnasium ahead of the Shinshu Brave Warriors pro basketball game. We even got to do high-fives with some of the players.

千曲国際交流協会 Chikuma Int'l Culture Exchange Assoc.

秋映の信州ファミリー遊び: 茶臼山動物園・恐竜公園 Fall Family Fun in Nagano: Chausuyama Zoo & Dino Park

October 18, 2014: 長野に来る理由 Reasons to Come to Nagano

Chausuyama Zoo's Cute Lesser Pandas






I took our 2 elementary school age kids to the Chausuyama Zoo and Dinosaur Park in Nagano City's Shinonoi District one recent fine autumn day.

I was reminded just how cute the zoo's lesser pandas are, and just how fun it is to climb a dinosaur.

Chausuyama makes a great play date destination for families with small kids.

By the way, Chausuyama Zoo's 2014 edition of its annual Zoo Festival takes place October 18th and 19th. Besides the normal activities such as feeding the giraffes and pony riding, there will also be turtle races (?), naming the baby lesser pandas, and other fun events.

茶臼山動物園 Chausuyama Zoo

Watch out -- he spits!

Misaki and the official triceratops pose with the Zenkoji Plain in the background

The Monorail Connecting the Zoo and Dino Park

ハロウィンin戸倉上山田2014年は10月19日♪ Togura Kamiyamada's 2014 Halloween Party Oct. 19th

October 3, 2014: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada

*プロバスケのブレイブウォリアーズの試合会場で仮装行列とブレアからの特別賞 ☆新しい☆
*仮装コンテスト (ベスト仮想の15人が素敵な商品券を当たる!)
*ゆるきゃら大集合 ☆新しい☆
*トリックorトリート巡り (数コースに分けて、温泉街を巡りながらお店や宿からお菓子をもらう。約60軒がお菓子を提供する予定)
*かぼちゃランタン作り (かぼちゃ販売[有料]も)
*お化け屋敷 (怖いぞ!)
*ケバブ屋台 [有料]

日付: 2014年10月19日(日)
時間: 13:30-19:00 (受付13:00~)
場所: 戸倉上山田温泉カラコロ足湯
料金: 参加は無料 (かぼちゃとケバブぐらいが有料)
予約: 必要 事前に千曲国際交流協会にご連絡を。www15.plala.or.jp/ciea/...

注: ボランティアースタッフも募集しています。

Halloween Party in Togura Kamiyamada Onsen 2014 -- 17th Annual! Special new attractions added to this year's event:

*Costume Parade at the Brave Warriors pro basketball game *NEW*
*Costume Contest with prizes for the top 15 costumes
*'Yuru-Kyara' mascots including Chikuma City's Anhime to attend *NEW*
*Trick or Treat (Approx. 60 shops and inns to provide candy for the kids)
*Pumpkin Carving (pumpkins available for purchase)
*Haunted House (Even scarier this year!)
*Apple Bobbing and other Halloween Games
*ニコちゃん ケバブ kebab van (food for purchase)

Date: October 19th (Sunday)
Time: 13:30-17:00 (Sign-in starts 13:00)
Place: Kara-Koro Footbath
Cost: Free (except for buying pumpkins and/or kebab)
Reservations: Required. Contact the Chikuma Int'l Exchange Assoc. in advance. www15.plala.or.jp/ciea/

NOTE: Volunteer Staff Needed!

御嶽山の噴火情報 Announcement Regarding the Volcanic Eruption of Mt. Ontake

September 29, 2014: 青い目のおもてなし This American’s Omotenashi

Mt. Ontake in Nagano Prefecture's Kiso area had a volcanic eruption on Saturday 27-Sept. Several dozen climbers were killed by the ash and falling rocks. As an avid mountain climber myself, this news comes as quite a shock.
Nagano Prefecture has set up a 4-km radius danger zone around Mt. Ontake. Both Route 19 and JR's Chuo Line, the main routes along the Kiso Valley, as well as the Chuo Expressway one valley over, are all operating normally.
Here at Kamesei Ryokan and our onsen town Togura-Kamiyamada, we are 90km from Mt. Ontake and haven't experienced any effect from the volcano. We are coming up on the fall foliage season -- perfect for an onsen trip. We look forward to warmly hosting our guests as we always do here at Kamesei.