April 03 2019
A Weekend Excursion to Komoro in Nagano Prefecture – October 2019
Last October, we made a return trip to Komoro in Nagano Prefecture (www.komoro-tour.jp), where we had a wonderful time taking in some of the attractions that we did not have the opportunity to visit during our initial excursion.
Train access to Komoro from Tokyo is simple and quite quick – the most straightforward way is to take a shinkansen bullet train to Karuizawa Station, and then change to the Shinano Tetsudo line for a 25-minute, local train journey to Komoro Station.
Journeying into Nagano prefecture, the fresh temperatures provided a bracing jolt after the mild climate of our Tokyo embarkation point, while honey-golden bundles of rice lay drying in the autumn sunshine, waiting to be collected for the harvest.
A brief rundown of our itinerary for that weekend:
– Arrived at Komoro Station
– Strolled around Kaikoen Park, the historical site of the Komoro Castle ruins, to enjoy the the vibrant autumn colours of the park’s Momiji Festival, and had a brief chat with a rickshaw driver.
In 2018, the Momiji Festival ran from 10th Oct to 18th Nov. Komoro Castle is said to be the only ‘anajiro’ (castle compound located at a lower height than its castle town) in Japan.
– Lunch at Choujian (www.choujiya.jp/), a locally-renowned soba restaurant in a beautiful, Meiji-period building.
– Walked across the road to visit Fujiya Jozo (www.fujiyajozo.com/), to buy some of the hand-made miso pastes that are traditionally prepared in their similarly-historical premises.
– Apple picking at Matsui Farm (www.matsui-farm.co.jp/) – delicious fruit, and great fun!
– Stayed at Tengu-Onsen (www.tenguspa.com/), located on Mount Asama. Flavoursome dinner including matsutake (‘pine mushrooms’) and samples of local rice wine sake, followed by a soak in the iron-infused, red waters of the hotel’s hot spring bath.
– Hiking on an 8-hour guided trek up Mount Asama as far as Maekake-Yama, where we were treated with the surprise arrival of the first snows of the winter! Excellent fun, but very cold. (Make enquiries here: firstname.lastname@example.org)
– Stayed at Yakushi-Kan (www.yakushikan.com) to recover from our exertions, where we could luxuriate in their stylish accommodation, beautiful grounds, and relax in the 800-year-old hot spring bath, before dining in their delicious restaurant.
– Returned to Komoro Station by hotel bus.
– Rented a bicycle from the Tourist Information Centre and cycled to the steps that lead up to Nunobiki Kannon Temple – one of the most photogenic spots in the whole area.
– Returned to Tokyo by train, via Karuizawa Station.
The hiking season to the top of Mount Asama officially reopens this year on May 11 2019.
Komoro Tourist Bureau Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/komoro.tour/
Read more about KOMORO in the pages of Japan – 100 Hidden Towns. For our key information, click here: www.100hiddentowns.jp/nagano/komoro.html