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