亀清旅館の貸し切り露天風呂「しなの風呂」の初春の花 Kamesei's Shinano-buro Family Bath's First Spring

April 22, 2012: 季節 Seasons




Kamesei Ryokan's recently completed "Shinano-buro" private outdoor bath is enjoying its first spring. The garden is starting to come alive with a parade of flowers. First the setsubunsou, then the katakurisou (dog tooth violet), now the trillium.

I have to admit, I am partial to trillium. It is native to my place of birth, the Pacific Northwest. I always enjoyed seeing trillium during my hikes in the mountains around Seattle. So I am very pleased to see it now in our new outdoor bath's garden.

You, too, and enjoy it now. Our Shinano-buro is available for use for 45 minute time slots for 2,100 yen. Come and help celebrate its first spring.

戸倉上山田温泉の散歩地図・グルメガイド: 中国語版 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada Walking Map & Gourmet Guide: Chinese Version

April 21, 2012: 活動 Activities

New Chinese Map for Togura-Kamiyamada







Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada has a new Walking Map & Gourmet Guide in Chinese.

Our inn, Kamesei Ryokan, is a JNTO-registered Visit Japan Information Center. As part of that responsibility, 2 years ago I created the "Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada Walking Map & Gourmet Guide" in English. I personally went around to 23 different shops and businesses as well as 20 various restaurants, explained the project, convinced them to cooperate, and received their financial assistance to make the map.

This time, with a grant from Chikuma City and translating help from one of the staff at Hotel Marusansou, we now have a (simplified) Chinese version.

To be honest, our town does not have many guests from mainland China so I am not sure how useful the map will be. However, I hope to run it by the prefecture's Tourism Association as well as to the contacts I made in Beijing from the conference I went to there last December.

In conjunction with the Chinese map, both it and the original English one have been uploaded to the internet on the Chikuma City Tourism Assoc. website.

Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada Walking Map and Gourmet Guide, English and Chinese (simplified)

戸倉上山田温泉での新しい計画、企画中 New Projects for Onsen Town, Togura-Kamiyamada

April 20, 2012: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada

Considering Ballon Flowers for the catalog




温泉+特産品  温泉+運動  


Togura Kamiyamada's civic improvement organization, "Kara-Koro" is working on 2 new projects:

Togura-Kamiyamada Catalog
There are so many great local businesses making such fantastic products, that I thought it would be a good idea to create a catalog featuring some of them so that guests to our onsen can purchase them. Everything from balloon flowers and pottery to miso and soba noodles.
The other day, our committee met with the flower guy, an apple orchardist, a stained glass artist, the tea man, and the soba maker. We discussed ways to make the catalog come together.

Sports Club Connection
5 minutes by car or bike from our onsen town Togura-Kamiyaada is the SEAVAS Sports Club. Our committee met at the club to see what type of facilities they have and to discuss ways to offer day passes to the club to guests of the ryokans.
Often times taking a trip to an onsen ryokan involves sightseeing, hence using muscles one isn't accustomed to using, breathing a different type of air, eating gourmet meals, and relaxing in an onsen bath. In other words, it's a healthy experience. Working out at a gym or swimming in a pool can help to enhance that overall healthy effect. That's why tying in with SEAVAS would be perfect.

Onsen + Specialty Goods; Onsen + Fitness

Those are the new projects Kara-Koro is working on.

Kara-Koro's Main Man, T-san, Getting Scanned at Seavas

春が来た!森「杏の里」満開 Spring is Here! Apricot Blossoms in Mori are in Full Bloom

April 19, 2012: その他 Miscellaneous








It's been a long, cold winter, but seeing the apricot trees in full bloom in Mori Valley (aka "Apricot Village") makes me forget about all that harshness. Mori is a 15 minute drive from our onsen town, Togura-Kamiyamada, and the apricot blossoms there are the highlight of spring for all of Chikuma City.

I drove through the valley on the 19th, and was met with the most beautiful sight of this rural valley literally covered in the delicate whitish-pink apricot blossoms.

Spring is finally here!

The blossoms will be in their peak the weekend of the 21st and 22nd. Depending on what the weather does, they may be around 'til the end of April.

Meanwhile, the cherry blossoms in Chuo Park behind Kamesei Ryokan, our inn here in Togura-Kamiyamada Onsen, have also come into full bloom. The local ladies guild is selling food and drink this weekend, so 'hanami' revellers should be able to enjoy the blossoms.


April 18, 2012: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada



詳しくはHPへ http://profile.ameba.jp/chikumasilove/

姨捨棚田・長楽寺の新しい看板 New Signs at Obasute Chouraku-ji Temple

April 17, 2012: その他 Miscellaneous

New Signs at Choraku-ji Temple in Obasute




Lately I've been going to Obasute Station often to help out with spring cleaning and planting flowers. On one such trip, I stopped to see the Choraku-ji,the historic temple located to the side of the famous moon-reflecting Obasute terraced rice fields. I was pleased to see there are new signs at the temple. They explain how the rice fields have been designated as a nationally-recognized scenic spot, as well as explanations of some of the areas legends.

When visiting Obasute, I highly suggest stopping to see Choraku-ji. It is only a 15 minute walk from Obasute Station, and for visitors coming by car, there is ample parking at the nearby Obasute Tourist Center. Inside the Center is a soba restaurant, Rakugetsu-an.

Planting Flowers with O-san and T-san at Obasute Stataion's platform

Tsuki-mi (Moon-Viewing) Soba at the Rakugetsu-an

タイラー's 森「杏の里」開花宣言 Tyler's Apricot Blossom Season Opener Declaration

April 16, 2012: 季節 Seasons





上山田温泉 おかみの会x花見 4月20~22日 Hanami in Kamiyamada Onsen April 20-22

April 15, 2012: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada

Getting Chuo Park Ready for Hanami



Behind our inn, Kamesei Ryokan, is Chuo (Central) Park, the main cherry blossom spot for Kamiyamada Onsen. Every year, the Ladies Guild puts on a cherry blossom viewing event, with yummy food and even yummier (?) sake'. For 2012, the event dates are:
April 20th (Fri) From 16:00
April 21st (Sat) From 16:00
April 22nd (Sun) From 13:00

Today, the students from Kamiyamada Elementary School cleaned up the park in anticipation of the flower viewing.

This winter has been a long, cold one. That makes this year's hanami (flower viewing and/or sake drinking) that much more special!

ナイトビュー姨捨 駅舎掃除 Cleaning the Station for JR's Night View Obasute

April 14, 2012: その他 Miscellaneous

Night View Obasute



運転日は と 亀清旅館の空状況
4月20日(金) 空き室 X
4月21日(土) 空き室 △
4月27日(金) 空き室 〇
4月28日(土) 空き室 △
5月2日(水) 空き室 〇
5月3日(木) 空き室 △
5月11日(金) 空き室 △
5月12日(土) 空き室 △
5月25日(金) 空き室 △
5月26日(土) 空き室 〇


JR Nagano is scheduled to run a special "Night View Obasute" train starting 20-April.
The train will depart Nagano Station at 18:48 and arrive Obasute Station at 19:33.
Entertainment will be offered at Obasute Station by the Rakuchikai volunteer guides and a group that specializes in telling folk tales.
The return train departs Obasute at 20:24, and arrives Nagano 20:59.

This is JR Nagano's biggest event. One of my buddies that works at JR, O-san, contacted me to help spruce up Obasute Station in advance of the event. So I brought one of our sons, and we volunteered and helped clean the station's windows.

Hopefully all the guests coming for the special train will enjoy Obasute Station.

ナイトビィー姨捨 Night View Obasute

鹿教湯温泉から戸倉上山田へ 杏の花を見に Coming from Kakeyu Onsen to Togura Kamiyamada for the Apricot Blossoms

April 13, 2012: 季節 Seasons

From Kakeyu Onsen




Kakeyu Onsen's Saito Hotel runs daily optional tours. I had been trying to get them to include Togura-Kamiyamada Onsen on some of their courses. This week, they ran two tours to Mori to see the apricot blossoms. They stopped at our inn, Kamesei Ryokan for lunch. Special thanks to Saito Hotel!

斎藤駕籠屋Saito Hotel's tours

Kamesei's Apricot Tree in Full Bloom Now