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Patrick Murphrey

Articles by Patrick

When English archaeologist William Gowland coined the term “Japanese Alps” in the late 1800s, he was originally referring to the Hida Mountains, now commonly known as the Northern Alps. Here on the…

When the English archeologist William Gowland saw the major mountain chain in the middle of Honshu he thought they resembled the European Alps so he named them accordingly. Later, English missionary Reverend…

On the border of Nagano and Niigata prefectures is an area that defies time as its mountain ranges have set the stage for some of Japan’s most historic moments. Within this area there is…

Japan’s winter resort town of Nozawa Onsen, located in the northern corner of Nagano’s Japanese Alps, is best enjoyed by foot. Walk from onsen to onsen (all free) amongst the steamy vapors…

When poet Matsuo Basho referred to the “silent clouds of stars” he very well could have been referring to the tiny village of Achi in Japan’s Southern Alps. Located in Nagano near…

In southern Nagano Prefecture between the Southern and Central Alps is the scenic Ina Valley. The rapid waters of the Tenryu River, referred to as the “Violent River” in Nara period records,…

While the ski resorts of Hokkaido are currently the hot ticket with international visitors, and Niigata Prefecture is where skiing started in Japan in the early 20th century, Nagano Prefecture retains the…

“The Mississippi River will always have its own way; no engineering skill can persuade it to do otherwise,” wrote Mark Twain. The same can be said for Japan’s Tenryu River, which early…