Nagano Prefecture's "Special-Wari" Discount has been extended to 30-September. For accommodation price of 10,000 yen or more there is a 5,000 yen discount. In addition, each person receives 2000 yen in area coupons. To be eligible, you need to be a resident of the following prefectures and have proof of your 3rd Corona vaccine shot. Eligible prefectures: Nagano, Yamanashi, Saitama, Niigata, Shizuoka, Gifu, Toyama, Gunma, Aichi, Ishikawa, Fukui, Mie.
Chikuma City's 3rd round of the Chikuma-Wari Discount will be from 01-Aug through 31-October. The discount is for 3000 yen off of accommodation prices 5000 yen or higher. Included is a 1000 yen cash-back coupon good for eating in at local restaurants and/or massage at our inn. In addition, there are now coupons for shateki shooting parlors, too!
Kamesei Ryokan's number of Chikuma-Wari discount tickets is limited. We want to have guests enjoy our newly-constructed guest rooms with private onsen baths, so reservations for those rooms will be prioritized. Call or e-mail us for more information.
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.
Nagano Prefecture and Chikuma City are offering 2 discount campaigns you can use to stay here at Kamesei Ryokan.
Nagano Prefecture's "SPECIAL-WARI" for residents of Nagano Prefecture or select neighboring prefectures (Gunma, Saitama, Niigata, Toyama, Ishikawa, Fukui and Yamanashi): 5000 yen discount for accommodation fees of 10,000 yen or more, 2500 yen discount for 5,000-9,999 yen. In addition, each person receives 2000 yen in coupons that can be used at area businesses. The discount applies to stays through 31-May (Tues) 2022 (except 29-April to 08-May). All guests must be triple-vaccinated for COVID or have tested negative (present proof at check-in).
Chikuma City's "Tsuki no Miyako Chikuma-Wari": 3000 yen discount for accommodation fees of 5,000 yen or more for stays through 31-July 2022.
Restrictions apply so please inquire (Tel 026-275-1032, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org) and we will gladly make your reservation.
Photo of the path to Togakushi Oku-sha Shrine by T-san from Kanagawa Pref.
In Japan there is a concept called "omotenashi". Usually translated as "hospitality" or "service", it is integral to the overall concept of a ryokan. The secret behind omotenashi is to simply provide a guest with what they want. However, the problem is in 'reading' a guest to ascertain what it is they want. And for some, the guests themselves don't realize what they truly want. Sometimes, it requires a bit of serendipity, as with this recent example.
A husband and wife arrived by car and didn't seem to be in a good mood. After checking them in and showing them their room, as I poured their tea they told me that all the places they had driven to and planned on seeing that day were still closed for the winter. There has been an unusually large snowfall this year so many places are late in opening for spring. As it had been a disappointing trip for them so far, accordingly the staff and I decided to do a more hands-off approach to serving them.
At check-out, the wife mentioned wanting to eat soba (buckwheat noodles -- Nagano's specialty). Our favorite place for soba is Togakushi, the area above central Nagano City that is famous for growing some of the best buckwheat in the country. There is something special about eating soba noodles at Togaushi made from the clear mountain water and in the fresh mountain air. Our most beloved restaurant is Yamaguchi-ya. The dining area features a picture window with a stunning view of Togakushi Mountain. We had run out of brochures for Yamaguchi-ya so I had recently requested them to mail us some more. Just then a package arrived and, low-and-behold, it was the brochures from Yamaguchi-ya. Our proprietress handed one to the guests, and off they went.
Yesterday we received a thank you e-mail and pictures from the guests. Apparently they had enjoyed a relaxing stay at our inn with the onsen baths and our chef's cuisine, but the highlight of their trip was Togakushi, especially the soba at Yamaguchi-ya and the spiritual nature. The picture shared here is the one they took of the cedar trees lining the path to Togakushi Oku-sha, the Inner Shrine.
If we had asked the guests at the start what they wanted, they probably wouldn't have said "Togakushi". But through a bit of serendipitous omotenashi, the guests were able to overcome the disappointing start and make a memorable trip.
Mt. Taro is along with Ueda Castle one of Ueda City’s two most endearing symbols. The trail to the peak is so popular some people climb it over 400 times a year. A prestigious Vertical Race takes place every May. In fact, we met one runner who said he made it to the top in 26 minutes. (For the record it took us an hour and 20 minutes!). The entertaining trail is dotted by stone markers every 109 meters, it passes near the the remains of an ancient samurai fort, halfway up the mountain it ducks under a massive stone Torii gate, and conversely at the shrine near the peak is an ankle-high Torii. But the biggest reward for climbing Mt. Taro is the spectacular view from the summit. We sat and absorbed the vista for over half an hour. Not only can you look down on central Ueda and the entirety of the Shioda Plain but you can gaze out and see the both the Northern and Southern Alps as well as the Yatsugatake Range and even Mt. Fuji.