Our week 6 travel of Japan day-by-day, including Monkeys, fireflies, brush with the Sea of Japan, and hundreds of rice fields.

  1. Wajima, Senmaida to Niigata
  2. Matsumoto: Fireflies
  3. Nagano: Monkeys
  4. Matsumoto to Niigata
  5. Niigata (Sea of Japan) & Hagurosan
  6. Hagurosan to Akita
  7. Akita to Sapporo

From Kanazawa, we headed to Senmaida also known as a thousand rice fields flowing into the Sea of Japan. We took a whole day traveling to Wajima, a large city located by Senmaida, so that we could take the earliest bus to the rice fields the next morning. We were very happy to have finally made it to famed fields. They were miraculous and that they were by the Sea of Japan was fantastic, we could not have asked for more.

We headed back to Kanazawa, and then on to Niigata, were we found some amazing tree huggers. From there we headed on to Nagano and Matsumoto. After speaking with the information center in Matsumoto we found out that there was a local park that hosts firefly festivals. The park was a large mash area with a slow moving stream zig-zagging throughout. Circling the park was a nice paved or boarded walk where you could stroll to view the different areas and groups of fireflies. As the night continued on, it appeared that the fireflies became more and more tired. Tired enough for us to catch a couple and inspect them a little closer. I had only seen one in my life, on the east coast, but it was from a distance, while Val had never seen one. To be standing in a park that we only paid 300¥ each to enter and be surrounded by hundreds to thousands of these magnificent creates was dream-like.

In an area by Nagano, Jigokundani Onsen, they have monkeys that regularly bathe in the hot springs. Oh, we enjoyed taking photo after photo of them.

We wanted to head back to Niigata so that we could dip our toes into the Sea of Japan. Val got only her toes wet, while I got swallowed by the Sea. This long cement pier was a blast of fun, standing on the sea jacks, playing in the water, and greeting the gentlemen that were surveying the structure and watching what the fisherman were catching. What better way to enjoy the morning then by experiencing the little, everyday things.

Train stations had become a part of our everyday lives in the last couple of weeks. Akita was one of these stations that we spent a little time in on our way to the next place. They say: it’s not the destination but the journey that matters, or something to that affect. We were enjoying both: the destination and the journey.

Didn’t read week 5? Click here | View week 7’s post here