Nagano

Saying a prayer can open a passage between men’s and women’s baths at this Japanese hot spring

Love can start in the tub at this romantic onsen that puts the power in ladies’ hands.

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A private onsen bath with a karaoke machine is two of Japan’s best things with zero embarrassment

Go beyond singing in the shower by singing in the hot spring.

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Japan’s “eternally 17-years-old” anime voice actress offers fans hot spring resort trip with her

Latest Kikuko Inoue project is like an anime hot spring episode come true.

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Experience the moment the local gods cross a frozen Lake Suwa【Video】

Lake Suwa in Nagano Prefecture is the scene of a curious natural phenomenon which results in ridges of ice erupting out of the frozen surface. Read More

We try out the delicious, fluffy milk bread featured in the Japanese anime movie Your Name

Even though it didn’t cause us to swap bodies, it was every bit as creamy and tasty as we imagined it to be.

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Funeral home in Japan offers drive-through funeral services

When you want to mourn the loss of someone and wish them eternal happiness in the afterlife without getting out of the car.

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The wasabi you eat probably isn’t wasabi, according to new video from Japan

With beautiful images of pristine Japanese countryside, this clip explains why real wasabi is hard to find.

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New attraction lets you relive the thrill of Japan’s deadly log-riding festival

It’s known as one of the nation’s top three most bizarre festivals and has resulted in deaths when it’s held every six years, but now you can experience the ride first-hand at any time of year!

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Crazy convenience store photo shows the secret ingredient powering ancient Japanese festival

Tradition and community are great, but there’s one more thing this Nagano celebration gets a boost from.

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Energetic schoolgirl’s “Pension dance” commercial for Nagano bank isn’t easy to forget

This dance and and its accompanying catchy little jingle, nicknamed the “brainwashing song,” are currently stuck in people’s heads around Japan.

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Magical girl anime PreCure! has its own themed hotel rooms in Japan

More than 10,000 guests have stayed in hotel’s magical girl-decorated rooms.

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Free magazine shows us Japanese grandpas and grannies who are rocking this age thing

Walk into any supermarket or inexpensive restaurant in Japan, and you’re sure to notice the racks of free, pennysaver-like magazines for visitors to take. They really come in handy when you’re looking for new employment opportunities, new and used vehicles, or you’d like a coupon to try out a new restaurant or salon.

But this time, one free magazine in Nagano Prefecture is shaking things up by offering a stylish look into the lives of some of the older residents around the area. If you’ve ever seen those Japanese grannies rocking purple hairdos, you’ll know right away what a brilliant idea they’ve struck upon, and they’ve even put up some promotional videos on YouTube to prove it!

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Star Village Cafe in Nagano Prefecture will have you dining amongst the stars

Humans have long been entranced by the stars — just a glance at the starry night sky inspires us to write poetry, paint pictures or set off on exploration expeditions. And in Japan, if you want that same inspiration, Achi Village in Nagano Prefecture is definitely the place to go!

You might not have heard of this place before, but the village was named the best spot for star-gazing in Japan by the Ministry of the Environment, and they are making sure that their name will be associated with the stars all across Japan. A new themed cafe called Star Village Cafe is opening soon and it’s planning to make you star struck with its interstellar decor. Put on your spacesuits and buckle your seatbelts, because we are launching for Star Village Cafe!

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Japanese wasp-filled crackers: Their sting is far worse than a bite

Although the above picture might look like something out of a nightmare, these crackers are very real and on sale in Nagano Prefecture, Japan.

It’s a senbei, which is a Japanese style of rice cracker, that in this instance, has had a bunch of wasps added to it for flavor or…health or something. We don’t know why exactly but we recently had the pleasure of sitting down with a bag of wasp crackers, only to find that they actually weren’t nearly as horrifying as you might expect.

They were only partially horrifying.

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Make sure to visit this historical onsen once before you die, or just do it right now with Google

Nestled in the mountains of Nagano sits the Ryokan Kanaguya. It’s an inn with over two and a half centuries of history and seems to walk that fine line between quaint and extravagant. It’s also a part of the ever-growing list of bathhouses said to be the inspiration for the Ghibli classic Spirited Away.

Simply by tweeting some promotional photos of Kanaguya from its website, one user managed to net over 24,000 retweets. Needless to say, it’s an attractive holiday destination. But before you go booking a room, why not take a brief virtual tour of Kanaguya via Google Street View which appears to be well on its way to mapping the entire world inside and out.

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Nagano Prefecture dodges yet another typhoon – Does it have some kind of magical force field?

This past week marked the 19th typhoon of the season. Hitting Japan very soon after typhoon No. 18, Vongfong–which translates as “wasp” in Cantonese–battered the islands of Japan with incredibly heavy rains and strong winds.

While much of Japan suffered under the powerful force of nature, one prefecture remained virtually untouched, even while all of its neighbors took a beating. Find out why after the jump.

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Handsome Nagano police officers get their own manga

Since 2013, the Nagano Prefecture Police Department has run a 4-panel manga series called Keisatsu-no Oniisan! (literally “Big Brother Policeman”) on its website. It depicts two police officers, one young and the other middle-aged. Now, thanks to their increasing popularity, they’re getting a manga in a magazine, Manga Time Jumbo, devoted to 4-panel manga.

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A sperm donation from your father-in-law? Maternity clinic in Nagano sparks debate

When a couple is ready to have children but there is an infertility issue with the father-to-be that prevents normal conception, in this day and age they have a number of options to consider. Artificial insemination from an anonymous donor is one route to take, as is as adoption. Or here’s another approach–if you’re the mother, how about getting pregnant through in vitro fertilization with a sperm donation from your husband’s father? 

For this article, we’ll be taking a slightly more serious tone than usual as we explore that very issue and the current controversy surrounding it. It’s become the topic of intense debate in Japan over the past few days after new details about the practice emerged from a maternity clinic in Nagano Prefecture. Join us as we introduce the facts and examine some of the ethics involved through reader opinions.

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Sweet, delicious and extra cold: snow apples from the Japanese alps

Japanese apples are legendary for their gigantic round shape, sweet taste and a hefty price tag due to their flawless appearance. Recently, a “new” kind of apple has been getting popular in the mountainous and very snowy prefecture of Nagano. It seems that apple growers there have decided to make the most of the winter precipitation that covers their fields by burying freshly picked apples for several months under a huge pile of snow. The “snow apples” are said to be even juicier, crisper and sweeter after spending the winter months hibernating under the snow.

But how can you make a snow apple, and what other tasty produce can you bury in the snow? Click below to find out!

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Fangirls fawn over Nagano police station’s new pretty-boy mascot characters

The central police station in Nagano Prefecture is revamping its image by introducing a new pair of mascot characters. But unlike the jiggling yellow blobs and big-headed animal abstractions that we’re used to seeing, these two image characters are beautiful men, drawn in a popular manga style that often appeals to young women. They’ve only been around for a couple of days, but these pretty-boy policemen are already attracting a lot of attention!

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