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Japan Hour

BINGO Theme: Local Bus Trip In Shinshu - Part 1

A famous national treasure in Nagano City and a park with more than 20 life-sized dinosaurs are among the places visited by Team Tagawa and Team Takashima as they embark on yet another bingo race.

Team Tagawa and Team Takashima embark on another bingo race, this time in Nagano Prefecture. Using catchphrases written on the bingo card as clues, they must find tourist spots and speciality foods and complete missions in order to mark squares on the bingo card. The teams can also use a special card to take a square from the opponent team; it can only be used once on the second day. 

The bingo battle starts from Nagano Station. There are seven areas on the bingo card which can be reached by buses and trains. Both teams plan to visit places in Nagano City first. One of the clues is about a national treasure in Nagano City, while another states “buckwheat noodles that Emperor Showa once ate". The teams find out that the first clue refers to Zenkoji Temple so both teams decide to take the 10.40am bus from Nagano Station to the temple. Before that, Team Tagawa starts enquiring about the “buckwheat noodles” and finds out from a taxi driver that there is a noodle shop called Kosugetei which has been visited by several emperors. It is located near the east gate of Zenkoji Temple.

Both teams take the same bus from Nagano Station but Team Tagawa alights at a bus stop before Zenkoji Temple. They hope to find a place linked to a clue about an “oyaki master”. They manage to locate it on the approach to Zenkoji Temple. Oyaki masters grill authentic oyaki on an irori in front of the guests. The restaurant serves 10 flavours of baked and steamed oyaki, such as nozawana, sweet red beans, aubergine, apple and dried daikon. The team’s mission is to eat the oyaki and guess which is the second-most popular flavour. They will only know if they are right after finishing the oyaki. They first try the grilled oyaki filled with finely chopped pickled nozawana and lightly seasoned with miso. They are then told this is the number one product so they have to guess again.

Team Takashima reaches Zenkoji Temple and plans to tackle the buckwheat noodles place next. The main shrine of Zenkoji Temple is listed as a national treasure. The team’s mission is to play the gacha-mikuji capsule toy machine and get the elusive golden Zenkoji Temple. The team members are thrilled when they get the golden temple on their first try, thus securing their first square on the bingo card. 

Team Tagawa receives a message about the opponent team getting their first square. They then continue their mission at the oyaki place and finally guess that the grilled aubergine oyaki is the second-most popular one. They claim their first square on the bingo card so both teams are tied. Team Tagawa then asks about the clue which states “free zoo”. They find out it is on the east side of Zenkoji Temple. As the buckwheat noodle shop Kosugetei is on the way to the temple, the team plans to visit the noodle place first.

Team Takashima is also on their way to the noodle shop where Emperor Show once ate. They reach Kosugetei first. The restaurant opened around 130 years ago. The team’s task is to eat the buckwheat noodles which the Emperor ate when he visited Nagano Prefecture and stayed at Zenkoji Daikanjin. 

Team Tagawa sees the other team is already at the noodle shop, so decides to go to Suzaka. They catch the 11.55am bus to Nagano Station first. 

After finishing the noodles, Team Takashima heads to the “free zoo”, which the other team had planned to visit earlier. Joyama Zoo has about 230 animals and an amusement park. The mission here is to look for the object - an apple - depicted in an illustration in the park. They finally find a turtle named Apple at the zoo and get their second square in Nagano City. They then return to Nagano Station and aim to go to “a park where you time travel to ancient times” in Shinonoi. They are told this refers to a dinosaur park. They also ask about another clue about “sweets served in an earthen pot”. They can be found at Matsuki - which opened about 120 years ago - near Shinonoi Station. So the team heads to Shinonoi from Nagano Station.

Team Tagawa takes the 12.30pm bus from Nagano Station to Suzaka. Once they reach Suzaka Station, they drop by the information centre to ask about “fruit land”. They are told it refers to a fruit-picking farm called Nakajo. They must take a train to Kitasuzaka Station and then walk for about half an hour. They also enquire about the clue - “speciality sukiyaki meal”. They find out they can eat this at Yururi, which is within walking distance from Suzaka Station. So Team Tagawa checks out Yururi first and then plans to take the train to “fruit land”.  Yururi is a restaurant in a house which was built more than 100 years ago. The team must eat its miso sukiyaki meal. Shinshu Suzaka miso is mixed in the restaurant's special sauce and then added to simmered Shinshu beef and a traditional Nagano vegetable called Murayama burdock. There are many Shinshu miso factories in Suzaka and this dish has been popular with the locals since the Taisho era. Team Tagawa completes the task easily and gains another square on the bingo card.

Meanwhile, Team Takashima catches the 2pm bus from Shinonoi Station to Chausuyama Dinosaur Park. More than 20 types of life-sized dinosaurs are scattered around the park and the team must memorise the names of all the dinosaurs. They are still struggling with the mission at the dinosaur park when they get the message that the opponent team has clinched a square in Suzaka. It takes Team Takashima 1.5 hours to complete the mission at the dinosaur park.

Team Tagawa, meanwhile, takes the train from Suzaka Station to Kitasuzaka Station. They then walk to the fruit farm. They are informed about Team Takashima getting a square in Shinonoi. Team Tagawa reaches Nakajo Fruit Farm, the first farm that started offering apple picking in northern Nagano. The mission is to harvest Shine Muscat grapes with a sugar content of at least “20 degrees”. They must pick one bunch of grapes and choose one grape from it. If its sugar content is less than “20 degrees”, they must eat the entire bunch of grapes before picking the next bunch. They learn that the best way to tell if a Shine Muscat is sweet is by its colour. Instead of the usual vivid green colour, Shine Muscat grapes which are slightly yellowish have a higher sugar content. The mission is complete once they find the grapes with the high sugar content. 


Tips:

1)    A must-visit attraction in Nagano City is Zenkoji Temple, a national treasure
2)    Shine Muscat grapes which are slightly yellowish have a higher sugar content


 

Source: CNA

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