Easily overseen by tourists. This quiet town has a fabulously scenic walk and has lot of hikes to offer – e.g. Alps Azumino, Mount Hikarujo etc. Whether you choose to visit Hotaka shrine, onsen, wasabi farm or just walking around the town, there is NO CROWD. Peace at last!!
I took a bicycle and went to the freebie foot onsen, known as Hachimen Daio Ashiyu 八面大王足湯, meaning 8 faces kings’ foot bath. In the morning, fresh hot water comes out of their mouths / noses. It is a perfect stop for tired feet. The onsen is right next to a hiking trail and the Azumino bath house.
Nearby, 10min bicycle, is THE farm北アルプス (north arupusu?). Have to taste their milk and ice cream!! Totally heavenly. The milk taste is FIERCE. In Japanese, 濃いよ！！！
How to reach this patch of heaven?
Matsumoto to Hotaka 30min by train
JR Oito line: JPY 320 one way if you don’t have the JR pass.
From the train station, you can:
- Bicycle: 200 JPY / hour. It took me 40min to ride to the onsen, but I am a slow rider.
Bicycle rental is available just outside of the train station. The guys there speaks English and they give good advise on biking route.**Also in this town: Daio Wasabi Farm (refer to my post)
Azumino is part of Nagano prefecture; i.e. winter comes swiftly and think of the 7 m snow walls… The bicycle shop and hikes are non-winter seasons only.
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