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!
How to spend winter in Japan
More quick tips for planning your trip to JapanThere are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.
Among the top 3 things people get specific for a trip to Japan
- JR pass for quick and easy long distance train travel (see price here and see here how to calculate train routes to figure out it's worth it for you)
- Pocket wifi to make travel in Japan easier (see price here)
- Travel insurance for natural disasters just in case especially for travel disruptions (see price here and see here for past natural disaster that affected foreigners)
Food in JapanIf you are in Japan for FOOD, then be sure to see where to try different types of Japanese food! (Sometimes for cheaper!)
And also have a look at some of these cooking classes in Japan too.
If you're looking for a route for winter in Japan, here are some ideas!
- 10 day Japan winter itinerary
- Tokyo to Nagano bus
- 2 days in Nagano with snow monkey pass // Stay at this Nagano hostel (private rooms available)
- A few days in popular ski resort area Hakuba (go here for at least a day even if you don't ski for the winter landscape in the mountains!) // Stay at this Hakuba hostel (private rooms available)
- Hakuba to Takayama (Hakuba to Matsumoto train / a few hours in Matsumoto / Matsumoto to Takayama bus)
- A few days in Takayama with day trips: Shirakawago / Shinhotaka ropeway on a sunny day // Stay at this Takayama hostel (private rooms available) and eat regional Takayama ramen
- Takayama back to Tokyo OR Takayama to Nagoya airport to fly to Hokkaido for more winter landscapes!
Hokkaido winter itinerary (train to get around - there are JR Hokkaido passes available, and you can use a regular JR pass too)
- Sapporo to Asahikawa (Asahikawa for penguin walk at zoo)
- Asahikawa to Abashiri (Abashiri for drift ice cruise)
- Abashiri to Obihiro (night in Obihiro and go to Lake Shikaribetsu ice village the next day)
- Obihiro to Sapporo
- Sapporo to Noboribetsu onsen hot spring town (day trip)
- Sapporo to Hakodate // Stay in this Hakodate hostel
- Hakodate to Tokyo on shinkansen bullet train through the underwater tunnel! (Regular JR pass will be worth it if you take this train ride along with one more long distance train ride within 7 days)
When the JR pass is worth itIn general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it. But here's how to calculate it to be sure. See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.
Natural disasters in JapanUnfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.
My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon. There have been a few typhoons that have hit Japan in the past couple of years and they can cause real travel disruptions!
See how much insurance costs for your trip.
More for your Japan itinerary
- 5 days in Kyoto
- Cost of climbing Mt Fuji from Tokyo
- Where to go for famous Mt Fuji views as seen in pictures
- Know before you go to Hiroshima
- One day in Miyajima with famous floating torii views
- 3 days in Okinawa, Japan's tropical islands
- Cherry blossom photo walk
- When is the JR pass worth it for train travel?
- Tokyo to Kyoto train
- Hostels in Japan