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NAGANO – A journey of experiencing Hokusai: Obuse, Nagano

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Obuse Town in Nagano Prefecture is just a 2-hour ride on a Shinkansen and local train from Tokyo. This little town is popular for having good access. It is known as a place where many writers and artists from Edo and Kyoto gathered in the Edo period (between 1603 and 1867) and where Katsushika Hokusai spent his last years producing creative works. During his stay in Obuse, Hokusai drew many original paintings. This series of Obusemono is put on display at the Hokusai Museum. Another masterpiece made open to the public is the “Phoenix Glaring in All Directions” at the old Gansho-in Temple in the town. Hokusai is said to have spent one year making this painting the year before his death. About the size of 21 tatami mats and completed with 150 ryo (old Japanese currency) worth of paint, it is a magnificent and spectacular work depicting the phoenix as if flying around in the ceiling. It has never been repainted until today, maintaining the power of original painting that has aged over time. Following the traces of the globally popular painter Hokusai and the old town streets, visitors can enjoy one of Japan’s best chestnuts, fruits, and other specialties. It is the only place where you can experience the delicate Japanese sense of beauty through Hokusai’s incredible art that influenced Van Gogh and Claude Monet.

A Journey to feel Katsushika Hokusai