Obuse is a small town that’s located in Nagano prefecture.
It’s a “chestnut” town, and you can find lots of chestnut flavored foods around town… as well as actual chestnuts!
It’s also known as the place where a famous Japanese artist spent the last years of his life.
Famous Japanese painting by Hokusai
Another thing that’s pretty unique to Obuse is that there are a number of small Japanese gardens that you can through around the main town area.
Obuse as a part of your trip to Japan
The town of Obuse is pretty near Nagano city, and you might consider spending a night or 2 in Nagano.
Nagano is about a 4 hour bus ride from Tokyo. (See my Tokyo to Nagano bus ride.) You can get there quicker by taking a shinkansen bullet train (1.5 hours), which means that you can get there with a JR pass. (See how to figure out if a JR pass will be worth it for you.)
If you are going to the Jigokudani snow monkey park, a 1 hour bus ride from Nagano, you can make also make it a day by going to both the monkey park and Obuse. You can stop by Obuse on your way back to Nagano from the monkey park.
A visit to Obuse can also be a perfect part of a 2-day Nagano itinerary with a snow monkey pass.
I made it a day trip to Obuse on day 2. If you have just one day, it can also make sense to stop by Obuse on your back to Nagano from the monkey park.
If you don’t have an interest in visiting the Jigokudani snow monkey park (the main thing that would make the snow monkey pass worth it), you can also go to Obuse as a day trip by buying individual train tickets. You might consider making it a day trip to both Obuse town and Shibu Onsen village on the same day. This isn’t a JR train, so you won’t be able to use a JR pass on this train.
A visit to Obuse can be a perfect part of a 10-day Japan winter itinerary too!
Japanese language tips
In Japanese, chestnut is kuri.
This is kuri in the Japanese language.
If you see this, it could mean that there are chestnut-flavored products available!
This is Obuse in the Japanese language.
If you see this in front of a shop, it could mean there’s a specialty Obuse food or product available!
The google translate app has a feature where you can take a picture of Japanese writing and it will translate it for you.
Once you arrive at Obuse Station, stop by the tourist information center.
You can most likely find a paper map there which can help you navigate around town, and you can have a further look and go to more places that interest you!
The walk through Obuse town streets
Arriving at Obuse Station by train
Obuse is an easy train ride (or 2) from Nagano city. There are limited train timings for the direct express train to Obuse from Nagano. Otherwise, there’s a local train you can take which will require a train transfer. Google Maps is a reliable way to figure out how to get around Nagano.
And that’s a bit of a walk through the main area of Obuse town!
I also walked a little bit outside the main area of town where you can find some temples too.
For reference on google maps, you can search for Ganshoin Temple and Jokoji Temple.
Per the Obuse tourist map, there seem to be bicycle rentals available, and this might be a good place to bike to if you don’t want to walk as much!
Walking near Obuse temples and Karitasan mountain park
And there’s a walk around Obuse!
Also have a look at taking a walk around the hot springs village of Shibu Onsen that’s pretty near Obuse!
HAPPY VISIT TO THE CHESTNUT TOWN OF OBUSE!