Obuse is a lovely little town about 30 minutes outside of Nagano. It's famous for its Kuri (Chestnuts) and museums, especially for Okuy-e, or Japanese wood block art, including the famous wave.

First, you reach Obuse via a small private train from Nagano, allegedly the most expensive train per mile in Japan, since it's a monopoly.  The line is also only one track, so trains going in opposite directions can only pass each other in stations - seen here, with a train waiting on the left side, while a train arrives on the right (look down the track).

Pretty lunch bento box of chestnuts

Obuse has a famous Sake distillery, run partly by a blonde American woman who's quite famous. 
This giant sake cask is in the sake shop and restaurant.

The kitchen of the restaurant - very yummy food, but very traditional methods

Natsuko and her knife (called God's hand, for some reason)

Interesting rock with plaque; no idea what is says, but it's pretty

Hostel - new and very nice

Dinner table in hostel, with room for feet and probably a heater - these are increasingly common to avoid leg cramps, especially for foreigners

My room in the hostel, usually for 2-3 people or more. Tatami mats on the floor, sleep on futons.

Lovely wooden leaves on a wall; very cool.

The lamp museum, with giant insect guarding it !


Onsen - a traditional Japanese hot bath; you can't see it, but there is an outdoor portion, too, so you can sit in a super hot bath inside or outside, with a view of the valley, etc.  Very nice.

This policeman statue was at a random corner outside of town, so it was worth a picture.

Pretty red tree & sky - it's kouyou time, foliage season.

More pretty trees and traditional but modern Japanese roofs

More traditional roof detail - duplicates the centuries-old temple and building designs