A weekend trip to Azumino of Nagano prefecture is really a nice experience to stay away from the busy city and spend some hours leading a life mingling with nature, enjoying the beauty of mountain ranges surrounding there. Staying at a Ryokan, enjoying a bath at the hot springs and taste the delicious Japanese food.
Visits to the wasabi farms, famous Buddhist pilgrimage destination of Zenkoji temple were also, another, interesting experiences of this journey.
While traveling to Azuma, Nishiya Besso ryokan is one of the apt staying locations where we could enjoy a Japanese style living conditions. The ryokan is situated in a really natural friendly area, between the green woods in a place surrounded by the mountains. The ryokan provides a feeling of Japanese style accommodation, along with all modern facilities. There are both types of accommodations: western as well as Japanese. This ryokan provides an opportunity to spend the holidays in private cottages. Free parking, WiFi and internet facilities are provided. Every room is provided with television, kettle and other necessary things. It’s provided with special private cottages where we could enjoy with privacy, the beauty of surrounding mountain regions from the open air garden beside the cottages. The Ofuro (bath tub) of this ryokan are also another facility that you could enjoy. We can enjoy alone or with your family the public or the private ones. The food menu provided by the ryokan is composed by traditional Japanese style dishes including fresh veggies, sashimi, soba, the tempura, the delicious summer fishes, vegetables etc. A weekend at the ryokan is really awesome and can provide a cool atmosphere and refreshment far away from the busy life.
The Daio wasabi farm of Azumino is another place worth visiting while we are in Nagano’s Azumino area. Wasabi is a plant that its roots are usually found in a paste form aside Japanese dishes like sashimi or sushi. The wasabi farms extend on the valley of the Alps mountain ranges surrounded by fresh water streams.
Wasabi cultivation needs a cool climate and fresh water. There are small water wheels situated at different places throughout the water bodies surrounding the field. Also, the bridges extending over the wasabi fields give a good view of the area enclosed in mountains. The shops of this area provide different items like fresh wasabi roots, popcorns, ice creams, beer etc. everything flavored with wasabi.
Daio wasabi farm Website*Automatic translation
Oyaki is a special food that you can enjoy while visiting Nagano. There are places in Azumino selling Oyaki grilled on charcoal in a primitive way. It tastes really delicious as cooked in ash. Oyaki are wheat dumplings with various fillings inside like vegetables and Anko(red bean paste).
Zenkouji is a temple of great importance in Japan as it holds, inside, the oldest Buddhist statue. Only, once in every six years, the replica of the statue could be seen by the public for some weeks. Crossing the Nimon gate with guard deities, six Bodhisattva statues called the Rokujizou believed providing protection from various dangers are kept. There is a dark tunnel under the main hall of the temple through which we can walk even if it looks a little scary. Like in other Buddhist temples, there are other common structures like pagoda, bell tower, kyouzo etc. A lot of souvenir shops and other kinds of stores can be seen on both sides of the street.
Azumino is famous for the statues named Dosojin which could be seen all around this area, on both sides of the roads. They are placed by the monks in some early ages and are worshiped for fertility, childbirth, safe journey, protection from disasters and evil forces etc. A lot of Dosojin statues with various shapes and instead of figures could be seen in Azumino. The real beauty of Azumino area is its nature itself with blue sky, mountains, green farms on its wonderful valleys and flowing rivers and streams.