Obuse is located north of the Nagano Prefecture and the smallest town of the region with a population of 11,000 inhabitants. However, more than 1.2 millions of visitors come to visit it each year.
There are many museums, ancient temples and shrines, little shops selling local pastries and the town is surrounded by a quiet and wonderful scenery. In this traditional town you feel a true wellbeing. Formerly, it was a farming village which was witnessing increasing rural exodus.
In order to revitalize its streets, the Hokusai Katsushika (famous japanese painter known for the art of ukiyo-e) museum was established.
Hokusai will therefore be remembered as the painter who lived in Obuse for several years since he had 83.
At this age, it was the first time he came to Obuse to visit his old friend, Kozan Takai, a wealthy farmer settled in the town for a long time. Takai established a workshop in his house for Hokusai. Hokusai came back to Obuse in 1844 until 1848. He passed away in Edo, age 90.
Hokusai was very famous and renowned for its remarkable work but also for his very particular personality, and many people though he was crazy, and totally uncaring on money. However, Hokusai was completely serene when he lived in Obuse.
Hokusai is well-known for his beautiful engravings “Ukiyoe”, and he was also a great painter. You could admire in Obuse, among his most beautiful works. The best known in this small town are “Ryu” (the dragon), “Houou” the phoenix and “Do-to” (the furious wave), and you would not miss it. You would visit the Gansho-in temple to see the ceiling that Hokusai painted. This painting is the “Happo-Nirami no Houou” (the phoenix staring in 8 directions). This remarkable painting is 191cm x 95.5 cm, the size of 12 tatamis mats. The works of Hokusai contribute to promote the town in addition to the efforts which have either been completed to develop Obuse as we know today.

Many architects play an important part in harmonizing modern life with ancient traditional buildings. Obuse spotlights its speciality, the chestnut cooked in several ways (pastries, ice creams, and a wide range of other delicious recipes). In addition, the infrastructures and tourism are widely developed in comparison to other small touristic towns of the same kind.

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