Nagano (長野) is the capital of Nagano prefecture, in the Chubu district of Japan. It flourished as a temple city of Zenkō-ji, a famous temple. …WikiTravel
Zenkōji (善光寺). This temple, first built in the 7th century, is a major pilgrimage site. Its major draw is the hibutsu (秘仏), or hidden buddha, a statue that is displayed to the public only every six years (the next time will be in 2015). A major renovation of the great inner gate finished in 2007. You can see a beautiful row of houses along the street. There are restaurants with atmosphere. You can also buy talismon as a souvenir.
Binzuru (びんずる, 賓頭盧) . Nagano’s big summer festival, held on the first Saturday in August. Every year, more than 200 groups take part in this festival. They walk and dance through Chuo-dori, clacking together wooden scoops called shamoji. The festival’s name comes from the Japanese version of Indian Buddhist saint Pindola Bharadvaja, and the procession ends at Zenkoji temple where festival-goers rub a well-worn Binzuru statue for luck.
Kagai Onsen Ichiyoukan (加賀井温泉 一陽館), Matsushiro Machi Higashijo 松代町東条55 (Take route 403 south from the Nagano interchange on the Joshinetsu Expressway. Turn left at the Kojinmachi intersection. Follow the road around and take the last on the right before the 90 degree right hand turn. The onsen is at the end of the road.), ☎ 026-278-2016. 8:00-20:00. This unusual onsen has separate long narrow flowing indoor baths with brown water for males and females, and two outdoor mixed baths. Bring a large towel. Adults ¥300. …WikiTravel
Japan’s swine fever epidemic is spreading, with local authorities in five central and western prefectures saying Wednesday they are struggling to contain the highly contagious virus that was first reported in September.
Princess Aiko, the only child of Crown Prince Naruhito and Crown Princess Masako, turned 17 on Saturday, enjoying her life in high school, including attending summer school at Eton College in Britain as her first overseas stay on her own. (Japan Today)
The landmark Tokyo Skytree tower, facilities for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games and more government offices are among the nearly 1,000 buildings using earthquake shock absorbers produced by KYB Corp, which admitted cheating quality inspection data for more than a decade, officials said Wednesday. (Japan Today)
All nine passengers on a rescue helicopter that crashed on a mountain near the border of Gunma and Nagano prefectures on Friday died, Gunma Prefectural Government officials confirmed on Saturday. (Japan Times)
Shoko Asahara, founder of the doomsday cult Aum Shinrikyo and mastermind behind the deadly 1995 nerve gas attack on the Tokyo subway system – and a number of other horrific crimes in the 1980s and ’90s – was executed on Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said. (Japan Times)
Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attended an annual national tree-planting festival, the last such event for the couple, in the tsunami-hit city of Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, on Sunday. (Japan Times)
With service for two train lines and one subway line, Tokyo’s Kinshicho Station has a lot of people buying tickets every day. But for the past few weeks, they’ve been joined by a crow, who, lacking any money of his own, has taken to stealing human commuters’ prepaid cards and attempting to purchase a ticket of his own. (Japan Today)
Around 9 a.m. on a certain day, reporters belonging to the press club attached to the Ministry of Justice were informed that at 11 a.m. the same morning, the justice minister would hold an unscheduled press conference. (Japan Today)
The weather agency has slashed the volcanic alert level for central Japan’s Mount Ontake to the lowest notch for the first time in about three years following a September 2014 eruption that left 58 people dead and five missing. (Japan Times)