Twice a year the International department at Hitotsubashi university organises a trip to somewhere in Japan. This semester I was lucky enough to get a place for the trip to Obuse, Nagano. The trip was for two days, and one night, where we got to see and do some amazing things.
We left university on Thursday morning and hopped on the coach for Nagano. By train it takes less than 2 hrs but we went by coach since there were 40 of us on this trip.
Overall it took us just over 3 hrs to get there. When we arrived in Obuse there was a guide ready to show us around. I was not expecting it to be so cold!! It was absolutely freezing and it was snowing a bit.
Not long afterwards we had lunch at this old-style Japanese restaurant. I’m really sorry but this post is going to be full of food pictures as I had some of the most delicious food on this trip!!
After lunch we split into groups and half of us did some calligraphy while the other half went shopping/went on a tour of the town. We then swapped round later.
We went to see lots of different buildings – I didn’t really understand most of what the guide was saying but it was still interesting!
I was really looking forward to heading to our Ryokan (Japanese style hotel) after being outside in the cold because I really wanted to go in the onsen (hot spring)!!
This ryokan was really traditional – no beds, only futons to sleep on, etc. Downstairs they had several types of onsen, and you could go anytime! We decided to go once before dinner since we had time.
Dinner was also divine. Everything was presented beautifully and I actually felt a bit nervous while I was eating as I’m usually quite clumsy, and I was scared I was going to break something or make a loud noise.
From 8pm onwards we had a Ni Ji Kai ( After party) in the same room we had dinner, where we drank and sang karaoke. It was soooo much fun!
To make the most of our time, we headed to the onsen again after all that drinking and karaoke! It was really relaxing and I was told its good to have a hot bath after drinking as you sweat out the alcohol. Nevertheless I slept well that evening anyway!
The next morning, me and the girls in my room went to the onsen AGAIN for the THIRD time at 6am since breakfast was at 7:20am. That’s dedication, right?
Breakfast was also delicious- presented in the usual Japanese way.
After eating we headed to the Snow monkey park! This was absolutely incredible. We had to walk for at least 30mins after getting off the coach before we saw any monkeys!
The staff told us not to stare at the monkeys directly in the eye as it can cause them to attack you…
Anyway! The snow monkeys are really cute- they’re not scared of humans at all and they were everywhere! Apparently, like humans, they enter the outdoor hot springs in the monkey park when they’re cold to warm themselves up.
The next stop after the park was buying souvenirs and lunch. Obuse is famous for chestnuts so I was really excited when I saw chestnut rice as part of our meal!
We then walked around a bit, did some shopping and then headed back home!!
It was an incredible trip that I’ll never forget. If you get the chance, you should go to Nagano and see the snow monkeys! Actually, after this trip we had a Farewell party at the dorm organised by ISDAK, which was the perfect way to end this two day trip!
Thanks for reading! I’ve created a photo gallery below with more photos of the monkeys!