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Obuse Town

Obuse Town is situated in the northern part of Nagano Prefecture and in the northeast section of Nagano Basin which is known as Zenkoji Plain. Local products include the famous chestnut sweets and chestnut rice, but the basic industry is agriculture. The town produces high quality fruits such as apples, grapes, peaches, pears, as well as local vegetables such as eggplants and hot radishes.

History of Obuse Town

-Town of Chestnuts, Hokusai and Flowers -

Inthelate Edo Period, when transportation along the Chikuma River and Tani Road went into service, Obuse Town flourished as acultural and economic center of Northern Shinano. As wealthy farmers and merchants rose, writers and artists were invited to Obuse Town. Hokusai Katsushika was one of them. His remaining original drawings in Obuse Town led to the opening of "Hokusai-kan" in 1976. The original purpose of the Hokusai-kan was to store and hand over the parade floats to the next generation, to collect and stop the outflow of Hokusai's drawings and to set up a base for the research of Hokusai. In those days, Hokusai-kan was called a "small museum in the rice field" which described its status. The museum was initially intended to protect the culture rather than to attract visitors. Eventually, the museum gathered many tourists to function as a new meeting place in Obuse Town. After opening the Hokusai-kan, more than 10 museums were opened, including Obuse Museum/Nakajima Chinami-kan, which are enriching the art culture of Obuse Town. The foundation of Hokusai-kan has led to the original Machizukuri method known as "Shukei Project" where townspeople and the administration cooperate to create public urban space by opening private properties and commercial spaces. The building activities in the town have been guided by the "Cooperative Environmental Design Standards" and "Designing Manual for Dwelling" to create a harmonious and beautiful living atmosphere. These movements have encouraged townspeople's recognition of town space as "outsideis for everyone, inside is for your own." Furthermore, heightened awareness of the"landscape" has also led to Machizukuri with "flowers" in 1990s. "Open Gardens," beautiful private gardens opened to the public, have proliferated up to 76 places.
  •  Obuse Town
  •  Hokusai-kan
  •  Open Garden

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