Today, I would like to introduce Suwa area (諏訪地域) which located in south of the center of Nagano Prefecture (長野県).
By the way if you have flashed back the scenery of movie “Kimi no Na Wa? (君の名は)”, yes, you are correct! It is said that Suwa is a sacred place and modeled by Mr. Shinkai Makoto who is from Nagano Prefecture.
However the charm is not only limited to that. Suwa is a place which you will fall in love to once you walk around at this place.
Firstly, let me bring you all to the historical symbol of Suwa, Takashima castle.
First of all, we came to Takashima Castle that is beautiful with autumn leaf during autumn, which is less than 30 minutes’ walk from Kamisuwa station (上諏訪駅).
The castle is designated as one of the “100 famous castle in Japan”, and was built by Hineno Kokichi (日根野高吉) of Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s retainer.
Besides the autumn leaf, it is also well-known as a cherry blossom and wisteria’s viewing spot during spring.
Takashima Castle (高島城)
- Address: 11-16 1 – chome, Takashima, Suwa-shi, Nagano Prefecture
- Official homepage: http://www.suwakanko.jp/point/takashimajo/
Let's drop by at Takeya Miso Kaikan (タケヤみそ会館) before we continue the journey to visit Lake Suwa!
Well, I am now at the lakeside of Lake Suwa.
Personally I'd like to recommend you to visit "Takeya Miso Kaikan".
First of all, I will start with having the pork soup with lots of ingredients.
Seasoning of the pork soup contains only Takeya special miso and rice koji. There is no other seasoning paste in it.
I am surprised because such a nice soup only costs me 100 yen per bowl.
Takeya Miso Kaikan (タケヤ味噌会館)
- Address: 3-17, 2-chome, Kogandori, Suwa-shi, Nagano Prefecture
- Phone number: 0266-52-4000
- Homepage: http://www.takeya-miso.co.jp/misokaikan/
Enjoy the Lake Suwa activities at Lake Suwa Geyser Center! Let's eat hot spring egg
The geyser center is just opposite of Takeya Miso Kaikan. At the geyser center at Lake Suwa, you will be able to watch the hot springs spouting at the specified timing.
So now, the time of spouting has come. Smoke is blowing out little by little followed by the water pushing sound.
Since the hot spring egg is available at this Lake Suwa geyser center, I’ve bought the egg and try! It costs only 100 yen per egg.
Lake Suwa Geyser Center (間欠泉センター)
- Address: 208-90, 2-chome, Kogandori, Suwa-shi, Nagano Prefecture
- Phone number: 0266-52-8282
Let's continue jogging at the lakeside of Lake Suwa. And try the best delicacy, “Rice Grasshopper Soft cream”....
Leave the geyser center and hanging around at the lakeside of Lake Suwa.
This is the steamship for lake sightseeing.
A must go sightseeing spot of Lake Suwa, where you can enjoy fishing Wakasagi fish and cruising.
The delicacy which you must try at Lake Suwa tourist steamship, "Eel Sundae" and "Grasshopper soft cream".
Let’s try the grasshopper soft-cream which is a hot topic in SNS.
See, the soft-cream is covered by the Nagono Prefecture’s famous Tsukudani cooked grasshopper.
Lake Suwa Tourist Steamship (諏訪湖観光汽船)
- Address: 3-1-27 Kogangori, Suwa-shi, Nagano Prefecture
- Phone number: 0266-52-0739
- Homepage: http://www.suwako-kanko.com/
Let's take a bath in "Standing position” at Katakura-kan, which also one of the film taking place of Thermae Romae
Katakura-kan is a welfare facility for local residents which was built by Mr. Katakura, a representative Japanese silk producer in 1928.
The interior of the bathroom is built based on European style.
The characteristic of the bathroom is that it allows us to enjoy the bath in "standing position".
I myself is 156cm height, when I step in the bath tub of 110cm depth, the water is right until my chest for me to enjoy the bath while standing.
Katakura-kan is the building which was built in 90 years ago and been utilized until today. Besides, the interior of the hall has been used as for the filming of the movie "Thermae Romae".
- 4-1-9, Kogandori, Suwa-shi, Nagano prefecture
- TEL: 0266-52-0604
- Homepage: http://www.katakurakan.or.jp/
I’ve decided to have the new specialty of Kamisuwa, "Miso Tendon" as my lunch!
Here I am, the restaurant Kappou Izumiya which is just 3-minute walk from Kamisuwa Station!
What I am going to introduce to you today is the new specialty of Kamisuwa, "Miso Tendon".
This is the rice bowl with Wakasagi fish and shrimp which caught at Lake Suwa, local vegetables etc and the special miso sauce.
The special Miso sauce is suit to adult since is scorched, sweet and spicy.
Restaurant Kappou Izumiya (れすとらん割烹 いずみ屋)
- Address: 2-4, 1-chome, Suwa, Suwa-shi, Nagano Prefecture
- Phone number: 0266-52-3267
- Homepage: http://www.izumiya-suwa.com/
Enjoy local sake of Suwa Gokura (Maihime, Reijin, Honkin, Yokobue, Masumi)!
For those fans of Japanese sake, you cannot miss the opportunity to try Suwa Gokura ! You just need to take a 10mins walk from the station to arrive Kamisuwa which has 5 all five types of sake brewers here.
It is rare to have 5 type sake brewers to be located in the same area in Japan.
If you are a strong drinker and wish to drink a lot, and at the same time try out the special pure sake with made without added alcohol and sugar, you can consider to purchase this “Gokuraku Package (ごくらくセット)” with only 1,800 yen.
- Original glass
- Original bag
- Voucher to be used at sake brewer
- Sake Tasting of those special limited type of sake
- Chance to win a bottle of Japanese sake in lucky draw
and other benefits.
For those who is thinking that "I cannot drink too much in such a short time", "With 1,800 yen I might as well buy a bottle of Sake", then you can just enjoy the sake tasting without purchasing the package.
Suwa 5 kura sake brewery tour (諏訪五蔵 酒蔵めぐり)
Drunk? How about having some tea? Kinshi-en which is perfect for Shinshu souvenir
Here we can get this tea bag as souvenirs!
When you buy all three types, the packaging picture will be combined as a beautiful background.
- Address: 1-5-22 Suwa, Suwa-shi, Nagano Prefecture
- Phone number: 0266-52-4040
- Homepage: http://www.lcv.ne.jp/~kinshien/index.htm
Continue the journey to Shimosuwa station. Let's visit the 3 hot spring in Shimosuwa
With drunkenness feeling, I travel to Shimosuwa station which is only one station from Kamisuwa Station.
Shimosuwa station's tourist information office is located at the right side of the station.
This is my purpose to come here. Ticket of 3 hot spring tours in Shimosuwa!
With only 700 yen per pax, you can enjoy bathing at all three public baths, "Shin Yu", "Tanga no Yu", and "Ko Yu". The ticket comes together with the original designed towel and bag.
The first hot spring I Visited is the Yusen House, "Ko Yu (児湯)"
Here is a public bath which called as "Blessed with kids."
Yusen House Ko Yu (遊泉ハウス 児湯)
- Address: 3477 Shimosuwa-cho, Suwa-gun, Nagano Prefecture
- Phone number: 0266-28-0823
Here continues my 3 hot spring tour.
Just a 5 minutes’ walk on foot to arrive at next public bath, “Tanga no Yu”. What a fun thing that has the hot spring is attached with ladder! The best!
Tanga no Yu (旦過の湯)
- Address: 3441 Shimosuwa-cho, Suwa-gun, Nagano Prefecture
- Phone number: 0266-26-7520
Even Nagano prefecture residents feel want to stay here! Tonight I will stay at this popular accommodation, Masuya Guest House
Speaking of guest house in Shimosuwa, I believe "Masuya Guest House" will be the most popular one.
Masuya Guest House is a guest house which was renovated from a Meiji Ryokan, "Masuya Ryokan".
Masuya Guest House (マスヤゲストハウス)
- Address: 314, Hirasawa-cho, Shimosuwa-cho, Suwa-gun, Nagano Prefecture
- Phone number: 0266-55-4716
- Homepage: http://masuya-gh.com/
Visit the hot spring in Shimosuwa in the special Sunday morning
It's just past 7 o'clock. After walking down the street from Masuya Guest House for around 5 minutes, I came to the last public bath of the tour, “Shin Yu”.
The bath look like this. The warmth of the water is just fit perfectly with the winter morning temperature.
Shin Yu (新湯)
- Address: 3154-3 Shimosuwa-cho, Suwa-gun, Nagano Prefecture
- Phone number: 0266-26-7332
Finally I am here to the most outstanding place, Suwa Taisha Shimosha Shukyu!
After finished an elegant breakfast, finally is the time we depart to Suwa Taisha Shimosha Shukyu.
"Suwa Taisha" consists of two shrines and four palaces, which are "Suwa Taisha", "Kamisha Hongu", "Kamisha Maemiya", and "Shimosha Akimiya".
If you managed to visit all four shrines of Suwa Taisha and collect all the stamp, you will be given a bookmark and rice soba as souvenirs.
Suwa Taisha Shimosha Shukyu (諏訪大社下社秋宮)
- Address: 5828 Shimosuwa-cho, Suwa-gun, Nagano Prefecture
- Phone number: 0266-27-8035
- Homepage: http://suwataisha.or.jp/akimiya.html
The autumn leaves in Raigouji are as beautiful as I’m in other dimension, the relaxing land of Izumi Shikibu Yukari.
When I walking from Shukyu towards Shunkyu, I can see the approaching path to Raigouji.
Even though I do not know where the path to approach here, but this is also one of the beautiful landmark of autumn leaf.
In addition, there is also a temple of Izumi Shikibu Yukari, a lady singer during Heian Era.
- Address: 3454 Shimosuwa-cho, Suwa-gun
- Phone number: 0266-27-8234
Must see scenery at garden in Ji-un Temple!
There is a Kimon located at Suwa Taisha Shimosha Shunkyu, which is built for guardian purpose.
Ji-un Temple (慈雲寺)
- Address: 606 Higashi-cho, Shimosuwa-cho, Suwa-gun, Nagano Prefecture
- Phone number: 0266-27-8171
Let's go to Suwa Taisha Shimosha Shunsuya, and take a look at the unique "Buddha Stone"!
Now I came to the last spot which ends my journey, Suwa Taisha Shimosya Shunkyu, after leaving the guardian temple, Ji-un temple.
However I would like to specially introduce this Buddha Stone of Manji. So this is Buddha stone of Manji. Everything of the Buddha Stone is mystery except that the Buddha Stone was built in the third year of Manji Era. The Buddha Stone is very unique in terms of the shape and facial expression, and also was well-known worldwide since it is praised by the famous artist, Okamoto Taro.
Buddha Stone of Manji (万治の石仏)
- Address: 193 Shimosuwa-cho, Suwa-gun, Nagano Prefecture
- Phone number: 0266-27-8316
Speaking of Lake Suwa definitely the best ingredient is Eel! Enjoy lunch at 'UNA Tomi'
Lake Suwa is the lake which has many fishes.
The most recommended one will be the famous restaurant behind Shimosuwa back street, “UNA Tomi”
Unadon Regular (2,600 yen). The baking style is crisp with "Kansai style cooking", while the sauce is Suwa's unique style, "thick, sweet & spicy".
Once you visit, you will miss it and feel want to come again. Welcome to visit Suwa!
I’ve introduced a lot of sightseeing spots in Suwa, including gourmet, hot springs, shrine, temple, etc.
I hope that you can visit the place yourself and enjoy the charm of this place.