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  • History and Culture

Nou Museum of History and Folklore

Old-fashioned farmhouse exhibiting local farming tools and more This old farmhouse was relocated from the Nou Valley's Nakanoguchi district and renovated into a museum. Inside is an impressive collection of tools, goods and clothing once used by the people of the Nou Region. Admission Adults: 100 yen Under 18: 50 yen

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  • Places and Activities
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn

Hisuien Gardens & Jade Art Museum

A secluded Japanese garden decorated with jade A 70 ton boulder of cobalt jade greets you as you enter the gate to this beautifully-landscaped Japanese garden. Designed by acclaimed landscaper Kinsaku Nakane, the beauty of this garden changes with the season. Stroll the multiple paths around the garden to enjoy the showy flowers of spring, rich greens of summer, or vibrant leaves of autumn. No matter what season you visit, you will be absolutely stunned by the amount of beauty packed into this small space. Be sure to visit the Museum of Jade Art, located near the exit of the garden, to appreciate its large exhibit of jade sculptures, featuring both local and imported jade. Admission Adults: 500 yen Under 18: 300 yen Joint Admission with Tanimura Art Museum & Gyokusuien Garden Adults: 800 yen Under 18: 500 yen

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  • History and Culture
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn

The Salt Trail (Matsumoto Road)

Beautifully Preserved Section of the Ancient Matsumoto Road The Matsumoto Road, also known as the Salt Trail, was used in ancient times to transport salt and maritime products from Itoigawa to what is now Nagano Prefecture and Matsumoto City. Salt was vitally important in those days for preserving food to survive the harsh winters, especially for the people of Nagano, so this trade route was kept open for porters who carried their loads by foot or by oxen, even at the height of war between the two provinces. The section of the Salt Trail in Itoigawa's Ōno district is exceptionally well-preserved, showing the unique U-shaped road as it appeared when it was in use. It's a perfect place to slip back in time while enjoying a relaxing hike. Eagle-eyed travelers along this ancient trail will be able to spot a number of ancient sculptures, temples and other remnants of the old road.

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  • Places and Activities
  • Hands-on Experiences
  • Spring
  • Summer
  • Autumn

Takanami-no-Ike Campgrounds

Camp in the Hakuba Foothills Near the Kotakigawa Jade Gorge These campgrounds are located beside the beautiful Takanami-no-Ike Pond, offering stunning views of Mt. Myojo and access to hiking trails, the Kotakigawa Jade Gorge and more! The campgrounds are well-equipped with an on-site restaurant, shop, hot showers, flushing toilets and other amenities! It's a great place to escape to nature without going too far off the grid. Campsite Information Tent Sites: 53 Site Usage Fee: 1000 yen (free with tent rental) Amenities: 3 cooking stations 2 fire circles 2 restrooms (flushing toilets) 4 showers (heated) Picnic tables and chairs On-site restaurant & shop Hand carts available for use Free WiFi available Rentals: Tent: 2,000 yen (fits 6) Boat: 1,000 yen / 30 min Fishing Rod: 300 yen Frisbee: 200 yen Ground Golf: 300 yen / game Firewood: Firewood: 520 yen / bundle Charcoal: 520 yen / bag Notice: No cellphone reception  No electrical outlets 50 m walk from parking lot to campsites

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  • Hands-on Experiences
  • Summer

Jade Gorge Fishing Park

Mountain Stream Fishing by the Kotakigawa Jade Gorge Just a minute drive from the Kotakigawa Jade Gorge, this fishing park is a popular place to enjoy trout and char fishing with friends and family! Rent a pole, basket and bait and get fishing!  There are cleaning areas and fire pits available so you can enjoy your catch right here in the park! Want to enjoy some fresh trout, but not into fishing? Don't worry! You can order freshly grilled trout, too! ■Max Occupancy: 30 Rental & Other Fees: ・Fishing: 2,200 yen (Up to 5 fish) ・Grilling: 100 yen per fish Freshly Caught & Grilled Fish: ・Salt-grilled Trout: 500 yen

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  • Nature and Best Views
  • Summer
  • Autumn

Takanami-no-Ike Pond

One of Itoigawa's most dazzling sights! Located near the Kotakigawa Jade Gorge, this pond is at an elevation of 540 m and is famous for the legends of a massive fish said to live in its waters. The area around the pond features walking trails, campgrounds, ground golf, boat rentals, a restaurant and more! Rental Fees: Boat (For 3 People):  1,050 yen for first 30 min, then 500 yen per 30 min Fishing Pole: 300 yen (half day) Ground Golf: 300 yen Ground Golf Equipment: 200 yen Frisbee: 200 yen Barbecue Supplies: Logs: 520 yen per bundle Charcoal: 520 yen per bag Visit here for information about the campsite.

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  • Places and Activities

Gekkazan Kaneko Azalea Garden

Dazzling Sea of White and Pink Located on a hillside on 5,500 square meters of private land, the Kaneko family have cared for the 3,500 azalea plants here for two generations. Each May, this hillside bursts into a brilliant display of white and pink azaleas creating a beautiful flower-filled landscape in tune with the natural surroundings. The view of Itoigawa and the Sea of Japan from the top of the hill is not to be missed! ※Note, the Kaneko Azalea Garden is located in the garden of a private home, but the owners have been kind enough to open it to the public. Please be mindful of their privacy and property.

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  • Places and Activities
  • History and Culture
  • Spring

Aramachi Wisteria Festival

Wisteria flowers blooming in a historic community The community of Aramachi has long had a fascination with wisteria flowers. The nearby Tsukimizu-no-Ike Pond has been famous for its wild wisteria for centuries. What started as a private practice of growing ornamental wisteria flowers blossomed over time into a full-fledged festival, with dozens of wisteria flowers blooming on either side of Aramachi's Main Street. Each plant is cared for by local residents who use the festival to showcase their work. The flowers are judged and awarded medals, which the residents proudly display. The festival starts in early May and runs for about two weeks. While the exact timing of the blooms varies from year to year, the time around the 10th of May is usually the best time to enjoy them.

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  • Nature and Best Views

Omigawa Jade Gorge

 A National Natural Monument. Massive boulders of pristine white jade. The Omigawa Jade Gorge is a National Natural Monument where over 40 large boulders of pristine raw jade can be found. The Omigawa Jade Gorge is not as easily accessible as the Kotakigawa Jade Gorge, so be prepared to hike a little bit. The sheer size and beauty of the jade boulders here make it worth it! The Omigawa and Kotakigawa Jade Gorges are the two largest jade deposits in Japan. The jade in these gorges are considered national treasures and visitors are welcome to explore, touch and even climb on the jade boulders here.  The Omigawa Jade Gorge is a National Natural Monument of Japan The collection, damage or abuse of minerals, plants or animals is strictly prohibited. We ask for you cooperation in preserving our natural and cultural heritage for all to enjoy.

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  • Places and Activities
  • History and Culture
  • Spring

Nou Hakusan Shrine Spring Grand Festival

Centuries Old Dances in the Light of the Setting Sun  The Nou Hakusan Shrine Spring Grand Festival (Nou Festival) is held every April 24th at Nou Hakusan Shrine in Itoigawa City's Nou Region. It began in the 15th century and centers around 11 bugaku, a type of ceremonial Japanese court dance.  The festival starts with the Shishimai or Lion's Dance. Two men dressed as mythological lion dance around in front of the festival procession as it makes its ways into and around the shrine grounds.  Starting around noon, the festival explodes with energy as the Running of the Shrines begins. Three mikoshi portable shrines are carried on the backs of teams of young men who run them in circles around the shrine grounds to ceremonial music.  As the atmosphere calms following the Running of the Shrines, the first bugaku dancers take the stage. 11 different bugaku court dances are performed by adults and children, some as young as 4. These dances culminate in the dramatic 'Ryo'o-no-Mai' dance performed in the light of the setting sun.

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