Last year in the summer I went on a good road trip with a few friends through Nagano Prefecture.
This year, I didn’t get up to as much, but I’ve realized that I did do a few things that I can share. So that’s what I’ll do.
There’s a waterfall that’s technically in Niigata Prefecture, but it’s basically right on the border of Nagano and Niigata. On probably the hottest day of the summer, a friend suggested taking a trip up there to check it out. So we did.
And, just for fun, we didn’t use GPS to get there. Basically, we had the whole day ahead of us, so there was no rush and it seemed like a fun thing to do. So with only knowing the general direction, we set off. Honestly, it’s not that difficult to get around in Japan without GPS, given that pretty much all major road signs and tourist attractions will contain romaji and many even have English. That said, technically we could read the kanji anyways, so we were fine (but it’s a little more difficult to read at a quick glimpse).
To round out the GPS-less experience, we decided to ask for directions at a convenience store where we were picking up some drinks, even though we had a decent idea of where we were headed. The lady we asked was helpful, and as we’d actually ended up missing one of the few turns to go towards the falls, she really helped us out.
Anyways, the falls was really cool to check out. It was a beautiful day and it wasn’t too busy thanks to us going on a weekday.
There was also this really cool pond by the parking lot that was full of dark fish, which you could pay to feed.
Fishing in Yamanouchi
The other outdoorsy thing I did in the summer was go fishing with one of my Japanese friends in a town not far from where I live – Yamanouchi. Like most of the towns / cities in Nagano, a river runs through it, meaning you can find a spot along the road to park, hop out, and cast some lines into the water.
After fishing for a few hours and catching nothing, we walked through the town for a little bit. It’s an old touristy town that I believe was already sort of on the decline before corona, and it’s not doing too hot now. One of many towns in rural Japan that’s suffered from the large decrease in tourism. There were some nice old buildings, and it’s a really nice town that’s both climbing up towards the mountains, and is basically split down the middle by a river. It’s also got multiple hot springs you can visit, although we didn’t at the time.
Didn’t take too many pictures for this, but I’ll share what I have. I probably should’ve taken some better pictures of the town at a distance, but didn’t really think of it at the time.
I did a few other things during the summer, such as visit Nagano and Matsumoto, of which I went to a drum festival at Matsumoto Castle with some friends. It was pretty neat, although for me, it got old pretty fast, like there’s only so much drums I can listen to before it just sounds like the same thing over and over haha.
There are still many places I can visit in Nagano, but I have to say, I feel like I’ve travelled this prefecture a fair bit by now. It’s the most beautiful area I’ve ever lived in, and possibly the most beautiful place that I’ll ever live in for the rest of my life. Definitely grateful to be out here!
Been a while since I posted anything Japan related, so I figured it was worth a little update here. I may have another Japan post coming in the future as well, we’ll see.
Until next time,
Thanks for reading.