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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan. Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan.
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare. An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare.
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife. Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife.
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan. Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan.
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara. The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara.
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower. Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower.
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving. Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving.
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky. The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky.
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

Art & Design

Hokusaikan Museum 一般財団法人 北斎館

A collection from the floating world of Hokusai

The Hokusaikan Museum is a diverse tribute to the renowned Japanese artist Hokusai Katsushika who spent several years near the end of his life in the charming town of Obuse, about 20 kilometers northeast of Nagano.

Don't Miss

  • The museum's Hokusai-embellished portable shrines
  • Hokusai's mural on the ceiling of Ganshoin Temple

How to Get There

You can easily reach the Hokusaikan Museum with a half-hour train ride from Nagano City .

From Tokyo, Nagano City is a straight one hour and 20-minute ride on the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Osaka and Kyoto also have a shinkansen connection to Nagoya, followed by the Shinano Express to Nagano.

The Nagano Electric Railway will bring you from Nagano to Obuse. The museum is just a 12-minute walk from Obuse Station.

The master in Obuse

Hokusai Katsushika was a master of Ukiyo-e, a Japanese genre of painting and woodblock printing that flourished between the late 17th and late 19th centuries.

Ukiyo-e translates as 'pictures of the floating world,' as the pleasure districts of Tokyo were called in the Edo period (1603-1867). The artform favored depictions of the everyday themes preferred by the merchant classes, including scenes of life in town, beautiful women, and travel landscapes. Hokusai's famous series of Thirty-Six Views of Mt. Fuji was one of these. It includes the renowned painting of the Great Wave off Kanagawa. This Japanese aesthetic, and Hokusai's work, in particular, influenced Western artists like Monet and Van Gogh.

When he arrived in Obuse in 1844 at the behest of a local merchant, Hokusai was one of Japan's most prominent artists. Working from his studio annex, he spent several very productive years on a variety of new creations. The Hokusaikan Museum is a treasure trove of his work from this period. Established in 1976, it includes woodblock prints, hanging scrolls, and two intricately decorated portable shrines, as well as many other works. The museum displays some of Hokusai's rare three-dimensional work.

Hokusai's elaborate ceiling mural at Ganshoin Temple, located about a kilometer away, is a must-see. This Soto Zen temple was founded in 1472, and Hokusai's mural there was one of his final large-scale installations. It's a 30-minute walk or 10-minute bus ride from central Obuse.

Not far from the Hokusaikan Museum is the Takai Kozan Memorial Museum. Here you can view Hokusai sketches, some of Takai Kozan's own work, and the studio, called Hekkiken, that Hokusai worked from.

While in Obuse

Obuse has a reputation as one of Japan's most scenic small towns. Streets paved with blocks of chestnut wood are great for slow strolls while popping into the refurbished townscape's many shops and cafes.

The town has long been famous for its chestnuts. You can try all kinds of chestnut confectionaries and cakes at one of Obuse's many charming cafes.

Local sake is popular, with some brews still handcrafted in cedar barrels. Stop by Masuichi-Ichimura brewery or Matsubaya for samples.

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