- November 30 2015
The best traveling course in Nojiri Lake. Let’s relax at a lake known for summer resorts.
I went to a big lake called Nojiri Lake in Nagano on a sunny autumn day!
What is Nojiriko?
When you think of Nojiri Lake, the first thing people would think of is the Naumann elephant. Nojiri Lake is famous for the Naumann elephant fossils being found.
※Naumann elephants: Giant elephants that are believed to have been living in Japan, which became extinct 15,000 years ago. They look like mammoths, but they are a different specie.
Nojiri Lake is also has a very moderate temperature during the summer, and you can swim in the lake and play with kayaks. In the winter they have many places to go skiing. This is why it is also a popular place for resorts among foreigners.
It has a long history of its popularity actually, having an international village that is managed by the Nojiri Lake Association.
We will introduce how the tourists are enjoying this lake for their first time in this article!
Let’s ride on swan boats!
When you come to Nojiri Lake, the first place the tourists head to is the island in the center of the lake, Biwa-jima. They have a shrine named the Uga Shrine, and it is known as a famous spiritual place.
You have to ride on the boat to get to the island.
The standard way is to ride this swan boat. It’s 2,500 yen per hour, a little bit expensive.
There are normal rowboats too. These are 1,200 yen per hour.
My husband who was with me wanted to ride the swan boat for some reason, so we chose that to go to the island.
Good thing we rented the boat for 60 minutes and not 30 minutes. I think it’s a little bit difficult to go back and forth to and from the island plus go to the shrine.
You have to row with your feet, and you will get pretty exhausted...
We found a boat shaped like a helicopter too! Boys would love them lol.
We arrived within 10 to 15 minutes!
Went to the Uga Shrine that protects the Nojiri Lake
To the Uga Shrine as soon as you arrive at Biwa-jima!
When you pass under the red gateway, there are stone steps.
When you look back, you will see the lake beyond the gate. Beautiful!
When you walk all the way up the stone steps, there is another gate. As you pass underneath, you gradually get closer to God.
You will get to the very end within three minutes from the entrance.
It’s not big, but it is a well-maintenanced and colorful shrine.
Here, there is a grave of a samurai named Usami Sadamitsu.
This is Uesugi Kenshin, who was one of the most famous military commander.
Back then, there was a rumor that Nagano Masakage (Uesugi Kenshin’s adopted son) was planning a rebellion, and Usami Sadamitsu, who thought that the name of Uesugi Kenshin would be harmed if families turned to each other, invited Nagano Masakage over to Nojiri Lake for boat riding.
On the boat, Usami tried to persuade Nagao, asking him to show that there was no rebellion being planned against Uesugi Kenshin, but Nagao did not listen. So, Usami grabbed Nagao and jumped into the lake.
After Usami died, Uesugi Kenshin who heard this story was very moved by Usami’s loyalty to him and built his grave here, mourning until the day he himself died.
The large Japanese cedar tree inside the precincts of the shrine is often seen in Nagano.
The lake beyond the green is also very beautiful.
After visitng the shrine, let’s get back to the hill.
I saw a excursion boat on the way back. You have to stop the boat when they are moving through the water near you.
We made it!
Let’s feed the carps
There are many carps in Nojiri Lake. You can buy food to feed for 100 yen.
I opened the package and realized that it was dog food. Carps eat dog food…? haha
When you throw the food in, carps gather instantly.
There was one beautiful carp.
They were all fighting for food.
I’m glad I got to feed them since I was able to take this great shot of them lol.
I can relate to their apetite hehe.
Enjoy junk food at the food court!
There is a food court when you are hungry, so no worries.
They are mostly junk food, but there is everything from ra-men, soba noodles, to sandwiches, so you can rest here after the rowing exercise.
There was soft ice cream too, which are in almost every tourist site in Japan. Here they were highly recommending the blueberry flavor!
How was the article? I honestly didn’t know if I could find anything to do in Nojiri Lake, but it was unexpectedly fun.
You can also play with kayaks and banana boats, maybe go fishing too, and visit the Naumann Elephant Museum a little far away.
If you’re tired of the summer heat in Japan, you should visit Nojiri Lake to cool off!