Category Albums Files
Chino 茅野市Pictures of Chino, Nagano Prefecture, including Onbashira-sai Festival.
1 43
Onbashira Matsuri (Kami-sha Yamadashi) 御柱祭 上社 山出し


In early April 2004, the Kami-sha Shrine held the Yamadashi ceremony where they hauled logs from the alpine forest. Along the way, they held the dramatic Ki-otoshi (log drop) down a slope and river crossing. These pictures were taken on April 3, 2004 by Jacek Kostrzewski. Also see photos of Shimo-sha Yamadashi.

43 files, last one added on Apr 29, 2007
Album viewed 541 times


1 albums on 1 page(s)

Matsumoto 松本市Pictures of Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture.
2 89
Matsumoto Castle 松本城


One of Japan's five castles with the main tenshu tower designated as a National Treasure. Near JR Matsumoto Station.

70 files, last one added on Oct 27, 2015
Album viewed 98 times

Kamikochi 上高地


Part of Chubu-Sangaku National Park, Kamikochi is a well-known scenic area with mountains and clear rivers.

19 files, last one added on Apr 06, 2010
Album viewed 107 times

2 albums on 1 page(s)

Nagano city 長野市Pictures of Nagano city, the capital city of Nagano Prefecture.
2 95
1998 Winter Olympics


The 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano was most thrilling and memorable for Japan. On a day trip, I attended the women's hockey match between Japan and the US.

89 files, last one added on Jan 26, 2006
Album viewed 468 times

Zenkoji Temple 善光寺


Nagano's most famous temple, near Nagano Station.

6 files, last one added on Jan 26, 2006
Album viewed 81 times

2 albums on 1 page(s)

Okaya 岡谷市Pictures of Okaya, Nagano Pref.
5 129
Lake Suwa 諏訪湖


Okaya is on the shores of Lake Suwa. There is a nice lakeside park.

47 files, last one added on Jan 28, 2007
Album viewed 99 times

Oguchi Taro 小口太郎


Oguchi Taro is one of Okaya's most honored sons. Best known for writing the song "Biwako Shuko no Uta" (Lake Biwa Rowing Song). A monument dedicated to him and his song is on the shore of Lake Suwa. Also see the video at YouTube.

26 files, last one added on Mar 06, 2007
Album viewed 59 times

Tsurumine Park 鶴峰公園


Tsurumine Park is a large park (19,498 sq. meters) on a small hill with abundant azalea bushes. The azaleas were first planted in 1935 when three truckloads of azalea bushes from Kawaguchi, Saitama were brought over and planted. It is the Chubu region's largest azalea park. Azalea is Okaya's official flower.

17 files, last one added on Dec 17, 2005
Album viewed 117 times

OIEA 15th Anniversary Festival 国際交流の集い


The Okaya International Exchange Association held its 15th anniversary festival on March 4, 2007. A great line-up of international entertainment attracted hundreds of people. The English version of "Biwako Shuko no Uta" (Lake Biwa Rowing Song) was also sung for the first time in public outside Shiga Prefecture.

22 files, last one added on Mar 05, 2007
Album viewed 52 times

Other Sights


Pictures of Okaya Station, Ilf Plaza/Museum, etc.

17 files, last one added on Jan 29, 2007
Album viewed 50 times


5 albums on 1 page(s)

Shimosuwa 下諏訪町Pictures of Shimo-Suwa-machi, Nagano Pref., including the Onbashira Matsuri Festival.
2 144
Onbashira Festival (Shimo-sha Yamadashi) 御柱祭 下社 山出し


Held once every 6 years by the Suwa Taisha Shrine, the Onbashira-sai Matsuri is held in two parts. In early April, the Yamadashi is when the logs are hauled from the mountain forest to a resting place called Shimekake. Along the way, the log is slid down a slope (with men riding it) for the festival's most dramatic event called Ki-otoshi (Log Drop). These photos were taken on April 10, 2004 for the Shimo-sha Shrine's Yamadashi.

44 files, last one added on Apr 24, 2011
Album viewed 175 times

Onbashira Matsuri (Shimo-sha Satobiki) 御柱祭 下社 里曵き


During May 8-10, 2004, the logs were ceremoniously hauled to the Shimo-sha Shrines and with great fanfare erected at the four corners of both the Harunomiya and Akinomiya Shrines. A parade was also held. These photos were taken during this three-day period. Also see my video at YouTube here and here too.

100 files, last one added on Apr 29, 2007
Album viewed 163 times

2 albums on 1 page(s)

Suwa 諏訪市Pictures of Suwa city and Lake Suwa.
3 59
Lake Suwa 諏訪湖


Suwa city has a nice long park along the shore of Lake Suwa. Cruise on the lake or dip your feet in the hot spring well.

21 files, last one added on Dec 17, 2005
Album viewed 71 times

Takashima Castle 高島城


Originally built in 1598 by Hineno Takayoshi and later occupied by the Suwa Clan for 270 years, this castle has a tower reconstructed in 1970. It was nicknamed the Floating Castle as it appeared to float on the lake and surrounding rivers.

30 files, last one added on Dec 17, 2005
Album viewed 81 times

Other Sights


Kami-Suwa Station is the best train station to wait for a train. The train platform has a hot spring to soak your feet for free.

8 files, last one added on Dec 17, 2005
Album viewed 53 times


3 albums on 1 page(s)

Yamanouchi-machi 山ノ内町Pictures of Yamanouchi-machi.
1 77
Jigokudani Yaen Koen 地獄谷野猿公苑


The world-famous, hot spring-loving snow monkeys in Yamanouchi, Nagano Prefecture must be Japan's most photographed wild animals. "The only place in the world where monkeys bathe in hot springs." They live in the mountains in a valley named Jigokudani (Hell Valley). A snow monkey park (Jigokudani Yaen Koen) was established for them in 1964 where the park operator feeds the monkeys and maintains a hot spring (onsen) bath for them. Although winter (with snow) is the most popular time to see the monkeys, the park is open year round (9 am – 4 pm).

77 files, last one added on Jan 21, 2016
Album viewed 101 times


1 albums on 1 page(s)