Sunday, March 6, 2011

Return to Nozawa Osen: Pt. 1

Foot's Bar, located along the main drag in Nozawa Onsen, a lovely little ski resort town in the northern Nagano area, has it all: Guiness on tap, a foosball table, big-screen HDTV for watching live sports via satellite, a PC with Internet access (free with drink purchase)...

...and this incongruously frilly number by the restroom sink:

There was an entirely different sort of Kleenex dispenser on the bar:

We ducked into Foot's on the Thursday we arrived, after a fine (early) meal at Kaze No Ie, one of the town's best restaurants (IMHO) run by English-speaking Japanese serving terrific Italian (get the green salad topped with fresh mozzarella and the spaghetti with eggplant and tomato sauce). Nobody bats an eye here when you bring kids into a bar but it was still nice having the place to ourselves.

We were just passing the time that first evening, waiting for our friends the Kirchers to arrive from Singapore. They told us later they were so glad they decided to spring for a private taxi from Narita, a six hour journey made bearable with DSes and iPads and a roadside stop for ramen. And a really friendly driver armed with Mickey Mouse blankets.

Contact info for future reference:
Chie Yamaguchi, CHUO TAXI
Phone: +81 26 282 0232
Email (and Chie will write back in English):

The transport ain't cheap, but if you're traveling with kids and/or late in the day, go for it. The alternative is to take three trains (or two trains and a bus: Narita express to Tokyo, shinkansen to Nagano, then 1-hr. train (or shuttle bus) into town.

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