Mount Karita is a nice and easy hike (about one-and-half hour climb up) with a rewarding view of the valley surrounding the city of Obuse. The mountain got its name because it looks like a bird (Kari) spreading its wings. The trailhead starts at Gansho-in temple and the hike is not so steep. The trail eventually goes through the ruins of an old castle located on the mountain. I also recommend walking in the region surrounding the trailhead parking since the fields at the base of the mountain are really picturesque.
The Ikushimatarushima Shrine dates from the 9th century. The main prayer hall is built on a small island in the middle of a pond and most of the structures are of the classic vermillion red which is used to decorate shrines throughout Japan. The shrine structures, water elements, and vegetation blend beautifully.
To reach Zenko-ji temple from Nagano station, one can walk on Chuo Dori (literally meaning central street) all the way north until in front of the temple. On that same street just north of the first gate of Zenko-ji temple are located many small stores. It is a great place to buy Omiyage (gifts) to family or friends.
Mitsuike park is located in between Tokyo and Yokohama along the Toyoko line. It is known as being one of the best Ohanami (Cherry blossom viewing) spots of Japan. The name, Mitsuike, means three ponds in Japanese because of the three separate ponds found in the park. It is a great place to relax and disconnect from daily city life.
Restaurant Shimujo is located on a hill north of the Shiritsu station of the Yui monorail. On the menu: traditional Okinawan fare including the popular soba, a noodle soup dish which comes with delicious pieces of slowly cooked pork. Everything on the menu is freshly prepared and menu items become sold out quickly. If you don’t want to miss the chance to eat delicious Okinawan food, come wait in line early (try 11:30AM to be safe) to reserve your table.
A small section of Kokusai dori recreates the atmosphere of Yatai, the Japanese street food stalls (Yatai are especially popular in Fukuoka). Although they are not Yatai in the strict sense because they are permanent establishments, the restaurants of Yatai street are small and offer different culinary specialities with an atmosphere reminiscent of the Yatai. Of course, plenty of alcoholic beverage are available from beer to Awamori, the local strong alcohol.