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Nagano Diaries, Part #3

Hello! Today I wanted to share Part 3 of our trip (parts one + two). After our day tour, we decided to walk around and see what else the city had to offer, outside of mountains and ski resorts. Luckily our guide had given us a few recommendations one of which being to attend the Nagano Tomyo Festival (site in Japanese)

Tomyo is the aura lights offering to the Gods.

The aim of the festival is to spread messages of peace in line with the spirit of the 1998 Winter Olympics. During this event traditional structures, including the temple’s main building are lit up with the five Olympic ring colours: Blue, Yellow, Black, Green and Red.

We arrived ready to be wowed but to be honest, left feeling slightly underwhelmed. I do think it has to do with it being so crowded and the light changing part of it all taking a century towards the end. Our favourite part was what was happening outside.

Each year around 140 participants of a Kirie (paper lantern) contest have their works displayed on the street leading up to the temple, they were BEAUTIFUL


I took LOTs of pics but these were some of my favourites.

Along the same street there were vendors selling Japanese and other treats from around the world. We brought dinner from an Indian vendor, food wise it was cheap and cheerful.
Our guide had also mentioned this store called Yawataya Isogoro, which is popular with both locals and tourists.


They don’t just specialize in spices BUT have decided to mix things up a little by adding ice cream. Verdict we only tried one (can’t remember the name) flavour, which tasted like vanilla then right at the end you get hint of chilli. Not on your taste buds, but more .. inside your nose? Basically it isn’t spicy at all, so don’t let that put you off trying some.

During our last day, we visited a Ninja store where I got a little carried away buying trinkets and Mr Cheerful indulged in some more ice cream, served on a cute Ninja plate!

One last point, Japan has a thing with Monday’s in that a LOT of places to eat are closed. We knew this, but stupidly forgot so our mission to find somewhere to eat took forever and thus we ended up eating overpriced waffles.

We ate at a place called Coffee + Waffle, and sadly neither of us enjoyed our food but I have a feeling it was made worse by how much we paid for it. I usually recommend trying everything, but I think you can skip this one purely based on its value for money.

On that note, to conclude part 3 we had an awesome time here and if you’re thinking of visiting, do! Now if like us you’re on a bit of a budget: instead of Ski Resorts maybe wait until its warmer and do a city bike tour. I would say definitely try and see Snow Monkeys but if not, why not do your very own Restaurant / Café / Pub tour?  We saw lots of restaurants and coffee shops that we would’ve loved to visit but ran out of time.

Just don’t go on a Monday!

Have you been to any Festivals of Light? Where, and how was your experience?




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