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Obuse is a small town located in the northern part of Nagano Prefecture and is known for being an artistic town.


Obuse is a small artistic town located in the northern part of Nagano Prefecture. The town is best known for being the home of the famous Katsushika Hokusai, an ukiyo-e painter from the Edo Period, in his later years. He lived and worked in Obuse on the request by Takai Kozan, a wealthy salt merchant and art enthusiast. Some of his best works were created at his Hekiiken studio like the Chinese style phoenix mural for the Ganshoin Temple. At the Hokusai Museum you can see a few of his woodblock prints, watercolor paintings, manuscripts, and two festival floats. Close by is the Takai Kozan Memorial Museum, a restored former residence, with displays of sketches by Hokusai and the Hekiiken studio. Takai was also a talented artist and some of his sketches and calligraphy are displayed in the museum along with his personal items.

Obuse is not only known for its art, but for chestnuts, when they are in season, and sake. For over 600 years, chestnuts have been cultivated in the small town. You can find a variety of chestnut products like ice cream, jelly, rice, and cream. These products can be found in shops and restaurants all over the town. In Obuse there are two big sake breweries, Masuichi and Matsubaya. At the forefront of developing Obuse, Masuichi Brewery owns the Kyakuden Hotel, Kurabu Restaurant, and Obusedo Honten Restaurant. The Floral Garden Obuse is located a good distance away from the town center. It is a Western style flower park with walk paths passing by a variety of flowers planted around ponds and a greenhouse. Across from the garden is a small market place where you can purchase the local produce.