Dessert Town covered with chestnut: Nagano Obuse

Autumn is coming soon, the temperature in Japan is similar to the winter in Hong Kong. About winter in Hong Kong, the one I miss so much is the street food “chestnut roasted with sugar”. It’s unbelievable that I can find it in Japan.


In order to find the chestnut roasted with sugar (unofficial name) in japan, I have to go further a bit to Obuse in Nagano Prefecture. From Tokyo, take the Shinkansen train to Nagano station. You can try the brand new Shinkansen to Ishikawa Prefecture, which is opened in this April.   After arriving Nagano Station, take the Nagano Dentetsu, after around 35 minutes, you will arrive Obuse. Be careful, if it is express (EX) train, you have to pay extra 100 yen for the special-express ticket.

Obuse – the combination of art, chestnut and dessert

If this is your first time to visit Obuse, you should go to the visitor center next to the station and know more about Obuse from the local senior staff. Their degree of details allows me to visit this small place within 3 hours. FYI, I haven’t done any preparation for this trip. 12122426_10153142754956845_1645847026679149497_n
Generally speaking, Obuse is a place with art, chestnut and dessert. The most popular area is the central area which is 10-minutes’ walk from the station.   Before getting full, I firstly experienced the artistic experience in Obuse. There are two famous attractions in Obuse and they are Hokusai-kan located at the central area and Gansho-in Temple located further away. Hokusai is an ukiyo-e painter and his full name is Katsushika Hokusai. The name of Hokusai-kan is named after him. This place mainly exhibits the artworks of Katsushika Hokusai. However, on that day, every people were attracted by the chestnut nearby, it seemed a bit lonely. But it is worth to mention that the chestnut trail behind Hokusai-kan is made of chestnut. Since the texture of chestnut is similar to wood, the trail is easy to walk. 12119111_10153142755991845_7757248879729849027_n
The feeling of walking on the chestnut is quite amazing.   It is better to go to Gansho-in by bus. Please pay attention that two tour buses run concurrently. So, when you get on the bus, please listen carefully to the broadcast to check which direction the bus is going. If you cannot listen well, it is better to ask the bus driver. (Day ticket costs 300 yen, you can buy it at the visitor center next to the train station)
The styles of Gansho-in and central area are so different. Gansho-in is absolutely in Japanese style.
When I arrive Gansho-in, all people target at the crane painting on ceiling. This is also the artwork of Katsushika Hokusai. I guess people would like to come and have a look at the 6-million yen authentic painting.   Back to the central area, it’s time to feel the charm of chestnut and dessert.   The smell of sweetness was floating all over the area. The smell was coming from a roasted chestnut machine. Since I missed the chestnut in Hong Kong so much, I also bought a pack of chestnuts. The taste was yummy and these were freshly made, so chewy! 12141730_10153142756596845_466150854976315543_n
It was already 3pm when I arrives Obuse. All the dessert stores are almost full.
This is the most famous western dessert store in Obuse, the waiting time on that day was more than 2 hours…   There are many types of chestnut dessert in Obuse, for example, western cake, ice cream, pudding, French crepe, waffle, Japanese bun, dorayaki, jelly, etc. When you come and visit, you will feel like you are walking in a dessert shopping mall, so excited! 12115544_10153142754636845_725200638032418864_n
Apart from dessert, the chestnut rice from Chikufudo is the first souvenir choice among the Japanese. However, when I arrived there, the shop was almost closed and all the chestnut rice is sold out. Hope that I can have that next time. There are many hot spring hotels near Obuse. If you don’t want to visit those popular attractions, you can choose to have a relaxing day in Obuse. Look at the pictures, eat some desserts, it’s also a great choice.