I have been familiar with Nagano Prefecture since I married Emiko 51 years
ago, which is her parents' home country and most of her relatives still
Besides, I used to go to Kiso-fukushima Town in the prefecture on business
once a month sometimes during working for Daido Steel, as our shell-mold
casting plant was located there.
Supposedly I have been to various places in Nagano Prefecture several tens
of times, thinking of mountain walkings and sight seeings as well as the
visits to my wife's relatives and the business trips. Nagano City to the
north, Komoro and Saku to the east, and Kiso-fukushima to the south-west,
...., there are many familiar place names dotted within the range in the
I have to mention the Three Shirouma Mountains rising to the north-west
extending over Toyama Prefecture. My friends of Fukagawa Mountain Walking
Group took me and climb Mt. Shirouma-dake (2,932 m) and two other neighboring
mountains for 3 days midsummer in 1999. This experience is still deep in
I noticed the Four Castles of National Treasure, talking with Mr. H well
informed about Japanese history. Matsumoto Castle (Nagano Pref.), Inuyama
Castle (Gifu Pref.), Hikone Castle (Shiga Pref.) and Himeji Castle (Hyogo
Among the 12 castle keeps remaining the same as before, they are the castles
with the keeps designated as the National Treasure, while 8 others are
the Important Cultural Asset.
I have a clear memory of Hikone Castle and Himeji Castle, as I visited
them in recent years, while I surely went up Inuyama Castle during my Daido
Then what about Matsumoto Castle?
I only have a vague memory that I looked over it through a bus window on
the way of some tour.
Our couple stayed at Bessho Spa near Ueda City for 3 days in July last
In and around Bessho Spa there were about a dozen temples besides noted
hot springs. It was true that this area is called "Kamakura in Shinshu".
Shinshu is a traditional name of Nagano Prefecture.
In addition, Ueda Castle Ruins.
We visited it on the way back. It gave us luckily another benefit because
we have now been enjoying the NHK-TV's popular drama of this year "Sanada
Maru" and this castle is deeply related to the drama.
The lady among the friends at the sport club "DSC" strongly recommended
the temple town in Iiyama City, saying "It lacks the finishing touch
without visiting Iiyama Temple Town."
The city seems to be north of Nagano City and near Madarao Heights.
She emphasized that the area there was quiet and elegant with so many impressive
In the result I came to feel making a trip to Nagano Prefecture, putting
the focus on Matsumoto Castle and Iiyama Temple Town, just when I found
the following tour in the guidebook of Hankyu Trapics.
"4 Days in Shinshu Matsushiro Royal Hotel
Taking a Relaxing Soak in the Hot Spring"
It meant we would stay in the hotel near Nagano City for four days and
could act on our own during the whole time.
I applied for the following itenerary half-hearted about it like "Both
Matsumoto and Iiyama must be within a half-day trip from Nagano City."
|Sunday, April 10th
Asama 609 on the Hokuriku Bullet Line
Lv. 12:04 Tokyo Station
Ar. 13:53 Nagano Station
Special Bus to Matsushiro Spa
|- - - - -
|Monday, 11th, and Tuesday, 12th
|- - - - -
Special Bus from the hotel to Nagano Station
Asama 616 on the Hokuriku Bullet Line
Lv. 12:27 Nagano Station
Ar. 14:12 Tokyo Station
Where and how are we going to spend the days around?
I began preparing the way for the 4-day all-free trip just a couple of
days before the start.
I was upset checking the detailed map of Nagano Prefecture and the related
informations on the Internet based on the last notice of the travel agency.
Matsumoto City is, to my surprise, far south from Nagano City. It takes
one hour by train, but few trains, inconvenient.
Another problem is the hotel shuttle bus schedule to and from Nagano Station.
As long as we use this service, we have to get back to Nagano Station by
15:40 at latest in order to take the final bus to the hotel at 16:00.
In such a situation, we can stay there around the castle at most for only 2 hours from noon, feeling rushed for sure.
I decided to give up going there this time.
Iiyama Temple Town is not just a stone's throw from Nagano City either.
However if we spend one day only there, we may look around the most main
temples, providing that the local trains to and from Iiyama are very few.
Even so, my poor health condition. The dull pain on the back near the right
shoulder has been continuing since 2 weeks ago.
I have been doing English translation of my domestic travelogues in an attempt to let foreign people know the climate and traditional culture of Japan on my own way.
This work declines my specific part of the physical strength. Admitting
the direct cause is the PC work, I have been going on with it everyday
with a self-righteous sense of duty.
At last several days ago, I had to give up on the way of the travelogue
"Turbid Hot Springs around Lake-Tazawa Heights, 2011".
In such a situation, I started for this trip in spite of Emiko's worry.