Obuse (小布施) is one of the peaceful towns located in the northern part of Nagano Prefecture (長野県), Japan. It is rich in art and culture and is popular for chestnuts, which is its local produce. You can find several chestnut-related products in the area such as chestnut rice, jelly, and ice cream. Its atmosphere is really nice and is perfect for eating various fruits and delicious foods. If you haven’t been to this part of Japan but would like to visit its popular areas, I will be introducing three of the enjoyable ones.
Kuri no Komichi is a clear evidence of the chestnut produce in the village. It is a walking path made of chestnut tree blocks and it is surrounded by a private garden as well as some chestnut trees. There are some traditional buildings you can check out and the greenery in the area is really rich. It can heal you from all the tiredness in this world.
People enjoy leisurely walking along Kuri no Komichi while admiring the creativity of chestnuts on the road and the solemnity of the neighborhood. This place is worth seeking out if you are specifically into chestnuts and nature. It is also not too crowded so it will definitely lift your mood.
This is a Japanese shop that has a classic European atmosphere. It is the perfect place to enjoy a slice of cake and a cup of tea or coffee. It has been named by the Japan Tea Association as “a place to enjoy delicious tea.” Their seats and tables are made of wood which gives the place a relaxing feeling.
There are several varieties of desserts to try here as the pastry chef keeps on creating new ones. One of the must-try is their Mont Blanc, a dessert of puréed and sweetened chestnuts topped with cream. Its name has been derived from the famous White Mountain, “Mont Blanc,” as it looks like a snow-capped mountain.
The shop is open daily from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM, except on Wednesdays.
This museum is dedicated to one of the famous Edo (江戸) period painters, Hokusai Katsushika (葛飾北斎). He is known for his ukiyo-e painting of Mt. Fuji which inspired some Western artists. He spent most of his last years in Obuse as a guest of a wealthy merchant. Some of his artworks were done in his 80s and a collection of his artwork is displayed in this museum. There are some English descriptions on the different artworks as well as a short English introduction video about the artist.
The museum is easy to locate as it can be found at the center of the town. Admission fee is 800 yen on normal days and 1,000 yen during special exhibitions. It is open from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. If you’d like to buy some souvenirs, you may head to the museum’s gift shop where you can find t-shirts of Hokusai’s painting.
If you’d like to know more about Nagano’s Chestnut Village, definitely visit these three places in the pretty town center of Obuse. They are deeply connected to the people’s culture and offer serene atmospheres perfect for relaxation.