Gen'l MacArthur and friends in Kamiyamada?!

February 4, 2012: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada

General MacArthur and others from WWII and beyond.

上山田の節分豆まき祭の為に、城山を登って上にある善光寺別院に行きました。ついでに、道挟んで向こう側にある旧歴史館に行ってみました。建物の横にいくつかの像がある。石のも、銅像も。その銅像は特に不思議です。何と第二次世界大戦のマッカーサーやChiang Kai Shek(蒋介石)。この戸倉上山田温泉にマッカーサーの銅像?! 尚且つ、いつものサングラスをかけていて。不思議でしょうがない。

亀清の案内看板がタウン誌に Kamesei's Guide Post in the media.

February 3, 2012: メディア Media

Kamesei's Guide Post Made the Magazine





One of Nagano City's free magazines, "Pousse Cafe" features Kamiyamada Onsen for their February issue. Among their photo collage is a picture of Kamesei's funky guide post.

I built this sign 2 years ago, initially to point out our carpark location to guests. Rather than stopping there, I added mini-signs for Matsumoto Castle, our local footbath, etc., etc. (even Seattle!). I'm glad this caught the eye of the magazine's photographer.

This sign is just one of my efforts to help enliven our onsen town, Togura-Kamiyamada. I'm glad it's having a positive effect.

プースカフェ― Pousse Cafe

イースターエッグフェスティバル予告 2012年は4月7日(土) Easter Egg Festival 2012 to be April 7th

February 2, 2012: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada

Easter Egg Fun




(場所: 千曲川沿いの噴水公園@戸倉上山田温泉)
受付 10:00~ 
スタート 10:30
1ポイントイースターレッスン (地元の牧師、Robbinsさん)
ゲーム (エッグトス、新バニーホップ、スプーンリレー、スクランブルエッグ)
終了 12:30


参加料は200円 (ジュース1本附き)

問い合わせは 千曲国際交流協会事務局 Tel(026)274-3150

The 2012 date for the Easter Egg Festival in Togura Kamiyamada Onsen has been set for Saturday April 7th. This is the 7th annual festival (which means I've been in Nagano for 7 springs?!).

The festival is run by the Chikuma Int'l Exchange Association (with yours, truly as the event organizing chairperson). Every year it gets a bit more popular, with 100+ local kids participating last year. It's a chance to share one of the major springtime customs from the West with the children here, as well as a way of adding excitement to our onsen town.

Details of the event are as follows:

Location: the fountain park alongside the Chikuma River in front of Togura-Kamiyamada Onsen
Reception starts at 10:00, event starts at 10:30.
Following the Easter Egg Hunt will be several egg-related games (egg toss, spoon relay, New bunny hop, scrambled egg game) as well as egg coloring and face painting. Horse Buggy rides will also be available, and all participants will receive a pass for a free onsen bath at one of our town's many onsen inns.

Price is 200 yen per child, including 1 free drink. To RSVP, contact the Int'l Exchange Assoc., tel# (026)274-3150.

旅館若旦那の道具? An Innkeeper's Tools?

February 1, 2012: 青い目のおもてなし This American’s Omotenashi

Not just futon flipping






What type of work does an inn's proprietor like me do? Well, there's greeting the guests and attending all the ryokan association and other meetings for civic improvement. And depending on the innkeeper, there's flipping the futons and, in extreme cases like mine, constructing new outdoor baths.

There's a lot of behind-the-scenes work, too. Lately I've been doing a lot of plumbing-related jobs, like regrouting the wall tiles in one of our onsen baths. Apparently the mist from the hot spring mineral baths has a tendance to melt away the grout.

Then there's our 50+ year old sewar pipe that's been acting strange lately. We called in our regular plumbers to track down the pipe's location. I helped out digging holes to try to find the pipe. Everything's back in good shape now.

Even though from a pro's perspective my recent plumbing work is just dabbling in things, it certainly gave me a taste of what plumbers do. And it gave me an appreciation for their work!

Helping to excavate the old pipe


February 1, 2012: メディア Media

American Innkeeper in Japan blog for January 2012

February 1, 2012: メディア Media

語り部タクシーで千曲市と新たに出会う Chikuma City Story-Telling Taxi Tours

January 31, 2012: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada

Story-telling taxi tours for Chikuma City






Have you ever wanted to explore a new town, but didn't have a way of getting around and wanted the inside knowledge of a local? Well, Chikuma City's taxi companies have just the thing: Story-telling Taxi Tours.

The 2 hour tours cost 13,000 yen which, split by 4 people, is only 3,250 yen a person. Four model courses cover the city's main tourist spots:

*Moon-reflecting Obasute terraced rice fields + Inariyama neighborhood with its 120 historical buildings and earthen walled storehouses
*Mori's 1600-year old tomb and Japan's largest apricot growing area
*Arato-jo Fortress (used by NHK for their historical dramas) and Chishiki-ji Temple, listed on the national historical registry
*Obasute's Choraku-ji Temple + Miso maker + Picles maker tour.

More tours are in the works to outlying destinations, such as Togakushi, the Jigokudani snow monkey park, Matsumoto Castle, etc.

Togura Kamiyamada Onsen is central to Nagano's many tourist spots, and a story-telling taxi tour is a great way to take it all in!

(NOTE: Story-telling is in Japanese so an understanding of some 'nihongo' would be necessary to fully appreciate these tours.)

詳しくは千曲市観光協会 RSVP with the Chikuma City Tourism Assoc.

八十二銀行といにバウンド? 82 Bank does Inbound?

January 30, 2012: 活動 Activities

Kobayashi-san, Inbound consultant from Tokyo.




Lately it seems like more and more organizations are turning their attention to 'Inbound' (attracting tourists from overseas). Nagano's largest regional bank, 82 Bank, came by to discuss ways they could facilitate tourism-related businesses with Inbound. Ms. Kobayashi with Tokyo consulting firm Rickey Business, joined the discussion.

I think it's great our regional bank is turning its attention to Inbound, and was honored they came to me for suggestions.

亀清の貸切露天風呂と...雪遊び? Kamesei's Private Onsen Bath and ... Frollicking in the snow?

January 29, 2012: その他 Miscellaneous

Onsen -> Snow -> Onsen?




雪景色x戸倉上山田温泉のイルミネーションSnow x Togura Kamiyamada's Illumination

January 28, 2012: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada

Snowy Kara-Koro footbath and park with lights



The Togura Kamiyamada Onsen ryokan junior association members (including myself) decorated our onsen town's main park with illumination for the winter. The recent snowfall gives the lights an even more beautiful touch.