Japan boasts many famous shrines and temples that most first time visitors will learn about while planning their trip. But japan may have hundreds or thousands of thousand of such historical sites if not more. Each neighborhood generally has its own, where locals will celebrate many traditional rituals throughout the year. The Hozonji Temple and Isesha Shrine located in Nagano, located side-by-side, are beautiful examples.
Away from the popular touristic attractions, one may find great beauty in the common Japanese lifestyle. This beauty will be seen by the one who ventures away from the beaten path. I will collect over time in this post photos that feature the beautiful Japanese countryside I had the chance to witness by walking in rural areas of Nagano city.
This peculiar stone church was built as a memorial of Uchimura Kanzo, the founder of a Japanese Christian movement. The church was built by the American architect Kendrick Kellogg in harmony with the surrounding nature. The church’s structure is unique with multiple stone arches and rows of windows allowing plenty of natural light in the stone building. The design is also striking by its unusual asymmetry.
The Harunire terrace, located in Naka-Karuizawa, boasts a great selection of restaurants and specialty shops in a natural setting. Whether you are looking for a delicious coffee or locally-made ice-cream, you’ll enjoy a relaxing time on the river-side terrace.
Karuizawa is a resort town along the Hokuriku Shinkansen in Nagano prefecture. It is particularly popular among Tokyo residents who wish to escape the summer heat. It is a great place to eat at the many restaurants, cafes, and bakeries and to shop at the many fashion outlets located near the Shinkansen station.
Hakuba is a famous ski resort of the Northern Japanese Alps in Nagano prefecture. In 1998, the ski competitions of the Nagano Olympics were held at the Hakuba ski resort. Other than ski in winter, the Hakuba resort offers a magnificent mountain scenery with famous mountains such as the Kashima-Yarigatake and mount Yarigatake. It can serve as an elevated starting point to some serious hikes in the Northern Japanese Alps.
Kozan Takai was a wealthy merchant of Obuse who made a fortune in the rice business (in those days, rice dominated the Japanese economy). He is known for beings Hokusai’s benefactor as well as being his apprentice. The Kozan Takai museum is Takai’s former residence. The museum exhibits Takai’s paintings and calligraphy work. The building is remarkable for the many secret passages that would have allowed the wealthy merchant and his family to escape in case of an attack from burglars or a rival faction.