Azumino is a city in the northwest of Matsumoto with beautiful mountains and small clear rivers flowing through it. There are many small clear waters which pour into the Azusa River as it runs through the city.
Activities to undertake
Daio Wasabi Farm
Daio Wasabi farm the home of the main ingredient used in sushi. Wasabi grows by the river banks, meaning there is never a shortage of the wasabi. There is wasabi everywhere along the river banks of clear water which run through the farm and they are at different stages of growth. The snacks and food in the farm are finger-licking as all of them contain the main ingredient wasabi. Which better way of enjoying biking in Nagano, other than riding through the rice fields on paved lanes. This farm is a popular family outing joint as I am set to find out, but one can never have enough of the place. Apart from biking the place is rich in Japanese culture with a shrine and a temple. Though there is nothing much to do here the scenery is peaceful.
Summer mountain biking
One word to describe my biking experience is ‘INCEDIBLE.’ Hakuba has a valley where biking tours are popular and the refreshing breeze blowing through makes it more enticing. With our safety gear in place, athletic shoes, bike helmet and a water bottle, we set up our bikes and we are ready to go. There are many downhill routes to choose from and we take on the adventurous and challenging route. The biking path is full of man-made jumps which makes the experience more thrilling. We pass rocky trails and some villas before getting to our first stop, the local Suwa shrine. The clear waters running through the place and this enormous huge cedar tree which we enjoy the view and trying to make out how big it is. We continue to ride through the woods to a campsite where there is a pool formed by rocks surrounding. Of course we honor the invite of the cool water by taking off our clothes and enjoy a refreshing cooling dip in the pool. After some time we get out of the water, dry and continue to last leg of the biking tour. What a day as we eventually pop out on the main roads.
Rafting in Hakuba
At the height of cherry blossom season in the early spring is the best time to go rafting. Snow-capped mountains with fast currents and blooming cherry trees provide a welcoming scene. Mountain streams abundantly flow through the mountains making it a leading area for water activities. Looking for a way to cool off during summer, there is no better way than rafting, in Hakuba. It is more enjoyable when done as a group other than enjoying this adrenaline rushing moment alone. We have an instructional safety meeting and our safety gear is in place that is helmet and floating devices. After that we were ready to push off. With our guide being very helpful we start peddling once our device was in the water. One, two, three, paddle it was so much fun, especially areas where the water is a bit calm and cool. Then the time comes when you have to test your five minute training on a rapid with violent currents. This is where the adventure lies, but at the same time the reality of life. This is the moment your entire life flashes before you in a minute when you think about the water roaring and the violent waves. I decide to take life seriously to overcome this threatening water. In the middle of the currents, we started paddling as hard as we could, to combat them. We were all soaked in cold water and the body responds by shivering, but soon overcome by feelings of flight and fight. It was not time to stop, but to move forward, making sure we are clear from the currents. At least we make it to calmer waters, and as we try catching our breaths we cannot stop paddling yet. If anything our guide maintained composure, giving us a sense of security all through the experience. The scenery is breathtaking and relaxing and this was a refreshing, thrilling summertime activity. This was a great adventure and I have my own story to tell now.