菖蒲風呂: 子供達が真っ直ぐ育つ様に Shobu Bath for children to grow up straight and strong

2022.06.07: 亀清旅館 Kamesei Ryokan, 季節 Seasons


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.

ロビーの子供の日の人形の隣にも菖蒲。Shobu in our lobby next to the Children’s Day doll

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.

信州SPECIAL宿泊割 延長と拡大☆ 4月22日更新 Prefecture's Discount Campaign UPDATED 4/22

2022.04.21: 亀清旅館 Kamesei Ryokan

長野県民及び近隣県の皆様、二つの割引キャンペーンが実施中: (English Follows)

長野県の「県民支えあい 信州割SPECIAL 宿泊割」


■ 長野県のSPECIAL割のは延長(R4年5月31日までご利用可能)そして長野県民に追加で近隣県の皆様に拡大(群馬、埼玉、新潟、富山、石川、福井、山梨の皆様)その条件: 新型コロナワクチンを3回接種済 又は 検査結果が陰性であること



新型コロナワクチンを3回接種済 又は 検査結果が陰性であることが条件です。






■ 千曲市のリフレッシュチケット








Nagano Prefecture and Chikuma City are offering 2 discount campaigns you can use to stay here at Kamesei Ryokan.

    1. 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).
    2. 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 omotenashi@kamesei.jp) and we will gladly make your reservation.


セレンディピティなおもてなし Serendipitous Omotenashi

2022.04.16: 青い目のおもてなし This American’s Omotenashi
(English to follow.)
先日は、暖かいおもてなし ありがとうございました。温泉も とても温まり、お料理も美味しく頂きました。天候が悪い中 『戸隠』を薦めてもらい 思っていた以上に神秘的な風景に感動しました。名刺をもらった山口屋のお蕎麦も美味かったです。観光した、善光寺も黒部ダムもとても感動しましたが、一番の思い出は?と、問いかけると『戸隠』に、亀清さんに宿泊してなかったら、行かなかった場所でした。
亀清旅館に宿泊して 本当に良かったです。一期一会のご縁に感謝

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.

お勧め里山登り: 太郎山(上田市のシンボル) Recommended Hike: Ueda City’s Beloved Mt. Taro

2022.04.06: 信州の山 Nagano’s Mountains

(English follows) 上田市のシンボルとして上田城に負けないぐらい太郎山が愛されてます。年に400回に登っている市民もいるようです。人気のバーチカルレースも毎年5月に太郎山で開催されます。私たちが登った日に走って来たお兄さんがいまして、聞いたら26分で登ったそうです。(私たちは1時間20分かかりました!)表参道コースは109m毎に丁石があって、途中に山城跡があり、中腹に巨大な石鳥居をくぐり、頂上近辺の神社に超ミニな鳥居、飽きないコースです。それより、頂上からの眺めが素晴らしい!私たちが登ったのは雨が降った後の日だったので空気が綺麗でずっと眺めてました。上田市街と塩田平は勿論見下ろせたが、遠くの北アルプス、南アルプス、八ヶ岳連峰、そして富士山も見えた!太郎山の人気の理由は分かります!

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.

上田市を見下ろして、奥は富士山 Looking down upon central Ueda with Fuji-san on the horizon

太郎山 Mt. Taro 1,164m. 距離 Length 2.1km. 標高差 Elevation Gain 584m. 登り Ascent 80 min. 下り Descent 60 min. 難度 Level of Difficulty: 中級 Medium. 苦労 Effort ●●○. 技術的 Technical ●○○. 登山道の状況 Trail Condition ●●●. 表記 Signage ●●○ (後何メータかの表記が欲しかった Needs distance markers). 2022.04.05

太郎山は上田市のどこからでも見えます Mt. Taro can be seen from anywhere in Ueda City
登山口 駐車スペースは道沿いに10数台分 トイレ無し Trailhead. Parking for 10+ cars along the road. No toilet.
丁石 Stone distance marker
途中の山城跡 Castle remains
山の中腹に石の階段、安堵と巨大な鳥居。誰がどうやって運んだ⁉️ Halfway up, stone steps, lanterns and Torii gate. Who carried these up, and how?!
頂上近辺の神社 At the shrine near the peak
絶景 Panoramic view
お疲れフローズンヨーグルト Post-climb Frozen yogurt https://and-more.shop

戸倉セツブンソウ群生地: 可愛らしいお花で春の合図 Setsubun-so Wildflowers: Cute Sign of Spring

2022.03.09: 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

戸倉駅の裏山(戸倉宿キティーパーク、別名「天狗公園」)にセツブンソウの群生地がある。「春の妖精」と呼ばれているセツブンソウは雪が融けると咲いて来ます。可愛らしい2〜3cm 白雪の花びらに鮮やかな黄色と紫色の中心部と言うエレガントな彩りさ。暖地で2月上旬に咲いて「節分草」お言われているが、この辺の標高が高くて雪が3月まで残る事が多くて一か月遅れです。(注: 2022年は雪が特に多かったために3月12日の週末から見ごろになりそうです。) 戸倉の群生地が長野県下最大級の広さだそうです。

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.)

戸倉キティパークの駐車場から徒歩750m、約20分 From the Togura Kitty Park parking lot, 750 meters, approximately 20 minutes on foot
途中の自在山神社と樹齢400年の天狗の松 Jizaisan Shrine and its 400-year old Tengu pine tree

お勧め里山登り: 弘法山(塩田平) 信仰と歴史の探検 Recommended Hike: Mt. Kobo. A Mystical and Samurai Adventure

2022.03.01: 山城 Mountaintop Forts, 季節 Seasons, 長野に来る理由 Reasons to Come to Nagano, 信州の山 Nagano’s Mountains


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.

弘法山から見下ろす塩田平 Looking down on the Shioda Plain from Mt. Kobo
塩田城跡(虎口)Shioda Castle: remains of the Tiger Gate
33石仏(弘法の眼)Searching for the 33 stone Buddhas — the Eye of the Kobo (Priest)

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

前山手の駐車場(とトイレ)Zenzan-ji parking lot (with toilet)
登山口(後は弘法山) Trailhead (Mt. Kobo in the distance)
足跡がガイド Footprints were our guide
一つ目の石仏見付け♪ Found the first stone Buddha
岩に階段が掘られた Stairs carved in stone
岩場 stone cliff
高さ2mの穴も Some hollows were 2m tall
他は高さ1.5m Others only 1.5 meters tall
背景は菅平 Sugadaira in the distance
塩田平と背景は戸隠山 The Shioda Plain with Mt. Togakushi in the background
塩田城城・虎口 Shioda Castle Remaiy
前山寺の未完成の三重塔 Zenzan-Ji’s “Unfinished” Pagoda

アクセス: お車なら前山寺は国宝なので沢山の看板が出てます。公衆トイレに広い駐車場あり。交通機関なら上田駅から別所線で塩田町駅、⑧信州の鎌倉シャトル線で前山寺バス停(本数と運行期間に限りあり)。 亀清旅館から車で20km、40分。戸倉駅から上田経由で塩田町まで約45分、バス20分又はタクシー5分。https://www.city.ueda.nagano.jp/uploaded/attachment/3023.pdf

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.

長野県民のSPECIAL割は延長・拡大 "Special-Wari" Discount for Nagano Residents Extended

2022.02.21: その他 Miscellaneous

長野県民の皆様、割引キャンペーンが実施中: (English Follows)

長野県の「県民支えあい 信州割SPECIAL 宿泊割」


■ 長野県のSPECIAL割のは延長(R4年3月10日から4月28日までご利用可能)そして対象者は同居家族(1名~)以外にワクチン3回目接種(~2名)に拡大されました。その条件: 「ワクチン・検査パッケージ」の適用が必須)







For residents of Nagano Prefecture, there is a valuable discount campaign you can use to stay here at Kamesei Ryokan.

Nagano Prefecture's "SPECIAL-WARI" for residents of Nagano Prefecture: 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 28-April 2022.  All guests must be vaccinated for COVID or have tested negative  (present proof at check-in).

Restrictions apply so please inquire (Tel 026-275-1032, e-mail omotenashi@kamesei.jp) and we will gladly make your reservation.

冬の最強組み合わせ: 温かい温泉と甘〜い苺 (いちご狩りご案内) Strawberry Picking and Onsen Soaking: Nagano’s Winter Pastime

2022.02.11: 季節 Seasons, 活動 Activities, グルメFoodie

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.



アグリパークの入り口 Entrance to Agri-Park

アグリパークの甘〜い苺 Agri-Park’s sweet strawberries

時間制限無しの食べ放題 All-you-can-eat with no time limit
サボテンのハウスも Cactus Greenhouse
パン屋さんと食堂 Bakery and Cafeteria
彩りの花屋 colorful flower shop

アグリパークの詳しくAgri-Park details  

こもろ布引いちご園 Komoro Nunobiki Strawberry Park

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.

布引いちご園の詳しく Nunobiki Ichigo-en details


お勧めのスノーシュー: 戸隠 Recommended Snowshoeing: Togakushi

2022.02.03: 季節 Seasons, 長野に来る理由 Reasons to Come to Nagano, 信州の山 Nagano’s Mountains



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.

戸隠奥社の杉並木。雪と素敵なコントラスト。The towering cedars lining the path to Togakushi’s Inner Shrine


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.

亀清の女将: スノーシューの笑顔 Kamesei’s proprietress in her happy place snowshoeing at Togakushi


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.

入り口の鳥居。随神門まではよく通られて普通な靴で行けるがその道から一歩離ればスノーシューが必要。The entrance Torii. The path to Zuijinmon is well-enough traveled so that regular shoes could suffice but take one step off the path and you’ll need snowshoes.
ミズナラ大王 “King of the Forest” Oak




クマさんの目印 Follow the golden bear


天命稲荷神社を通って Pass by the Tenmei Inari Shrine and its rows of vermilion Torii gates
長〜い影 Long shadows
鏡池の上から見る戸隠山 Togakushi Mtn. as seen from on top of Mirror Pond

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.

まん延防止での営業について Operation During Quasi-Emergency

2022.01.27: 温泉タウン戸倉上山田 Onsen Town Togura-Kamiyamada, グルメFoodie





そして、戸倉上山田温泉周辺のの皆様にお知らせいたします。旅館気分をお家で楽しみたい方に我がChef武井の創作料理を仕出し弁当として提供しております。料金は2160円でございます。テークアウトはもちろん、そして千曲市・坂城町のどこでも配達も致します。(配達料が500円) ご要望があれば上山田温泉のお湯を5ℓの便でいっしょに運んで、お家の浴槽に入れたら夜のお風呂に硫黄の香りを楽しんで頂けます。 お弁当の注文は前日まで(10個以上は3日前まで)で電話 026-275-1032 又はメール omotenashi@kamesei.jp まででお願い致します。






Nagano Prefecture has declared a Quasi State of Emergency from 27-Jan through 20-Feb. There are no restrictions on ryokans so our inn will be operating as normal albeit with reduced number of guest rooms for the well-being of our guests.

The Prefecture's Special Discount promotion is also being continued as normal through 10-March.  Our chef's bento (2160 yen) and our Seattle Cookies (1000 yen for baker's dozen) are also available.