Nagano Prefecture A Recommended Place to Visit

Japan Visit

Nagano Prefecture’s Natural Beauty

To explore Nagano Prefecture’s natural beauty, visit some of its most stunning attractions, such as the Japanese Alps, Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, and Zenkoji Temple. Each location showcases different aspects of Nagano’s natural splendor, providing opportunities for adventure, relaxation, and contemplation.

The Japanese Alps

Nestled in Nagano Prefecture lies the Japanese Alps, a stunning range of peaks resembling their European counterparts. This geological gem draws outdoor enthusiasts with its dramatic landscapes and diverse terrain. Mount Kita stands tall at over 3,000 meters.

Iconic resorts like Hakuba Valley invite skiers and snowboarders from around the world. Hikers can take multi-day treks through National Parks like Chubusangaku. Summer offers serene lakeside views and incredible alpine wildflowers.

The Japanese Alps played a pivotal role in Japan’s modernization movement with the first non-Japanese to summit Mount Yarigatake in 1899. This inspired a climbing revolution in Japan that continues today.

The Japanese Alps symbolize resilience and natural beauty, making Nagano Prefecture an unforgettable destination for outdoor enthusiasts. And don’t forget the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, where real-life snow monkeys hang out!

Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park

Nestled in Nagano Prefecture’s wilds lies an extraordinary attraction. It’s the Hot Spring Inn called “Hell’s Valley Snow Monkey Park.” Here, travelers can observe Japanese macaques living and bathing in natural hot springs.

The Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park isn’t just any ordinary park. It’s a place to watch monkeys in their natural habitat. With welcoming staff, it’s one of Japan’s most popular tourist spots.

Tourists can also watch rangers feed some of the primates. It’s a rare chance to witness animals so intimately, making it great for photography enthusiasts.

Mika Walters documented her experience at this destination. She described how the snow monkeys looked happy while soaking in the hot springs. It goes to show how bewitching this place is!

Why not take in the sights of a man-made wonder? Zenkoji Temple in Nagano Prefecture has intricate architecture worth appreciating.

Zenkoji Temple

This ancient religious site is famous for its unique architecture and history in Nagano Prefecture. Zenkoji Temple has been a spiritual center for over 1,400 years, and is important to both Shinto and Buddhist faiths. Visitors can marvel at its grandeur by taking a walk in the beautiful corridors and admiring original artifacts.

Built in the early 1700s, Zenkoji Temple is one of Japan’s oldest and largest Buddhist temples. Here, you can find priceless antiques like statues, paintings, scrolls and relics that glimpse Japan’s cultural heritage. There’s also an underground passage leading to a wooden Buddha statue – it’s the perfect spot to seek enlightenment or blessings.

The temple hosts several annual events, such as the Naoi-no-Gyoretsu procession. If you seek unique experiences, you can take part in meditation sessions with monks, or even stay overnight in the guesthouse. This way, you can connect with the spirituality of the temple, while immersing yourself in Nagano’s serene landscape.

When visiting Zenkoji Temple, observe silence, dress appropriately, and try traditional treats like soba noodles and mochi sweets sold around the premises. Don’t forget to bring souvenirs back home to preserve these timeless memories forever! And if you’re feeling adventurous, why not try snowmobiling? It’s just like motorcycling but with even more stunning scenery – and more lasting bruises! Welcome to Nagano Prefecture’s Winter Sports!

Nagano Prefecture’s Winter Sports

To explore Nagano Prefecture’s winter sports with skiing and snowboarding in Hakuba Valley, winter sports and activities in Shiga Kogen, and Olympic sports venues in Nagano City. Experience the thrill of winter sports with Nagano Prefecture’s various mountain resorts and activities. Discover the historic venues of the Winter Olympics held in Nagano City, which promise a unique winter sports experience.

Skiing and Snowboarding in Hakuba Valley

Explore Hakuba Valley for Snow & Ski Adventures! Discover the beautiful Hakuba Valley located in Nagano Prefecture. It offers over 200 world-class runs and deep powder snow. Here are some of its highlights:

  • Longest ski season: From Nov to May.
  • Variety of terrain: 11 resorts with beginner slopes and off-piste zones.
  • Après-ski activities: Hot springs, bars, cultural experiences.

Enjoy Mt. Yari (3rd tallest peak) & craft beer breweries.

Pro Tip: Research the resorts before you go – make sure it fits your skills & preferences.

Time to shred some snow & dignity in Shiga Kogen!

Winter sports and activities in Shiga Kogen

Shiga Kogen is a winter paradise of icy thrills and picturesque landscapes. You can ski, snowboard, snowmobile, snowshoe, and even relax inside mini igloos. Enjoy a night skiing under the stars from one of the twelve resorts. After a long day, soak in an Onsen to relax your muscles.

Explore nearby temples and shopping spots in Gunma Prefecture. Witness the enchanting Dosojin Festival’s torchlight procession and the Tsukimi Festival’s sight of the full moon.

The heartwarming story of Shiga Kogen began during the Great Hanshin Earthquake when Spanish Olympics coach Francisco Fernandez was offered free shelter at a hotel until it closed for summer. In gratitude, he recommended Shiga Kogen as a training base for Spain’s ski team for the Nagano Winter Olympics in 1998. Now, Nagano City still reaps the rewards from hosting the Olympics all those years ago.

Olympic Sports Venues in Nagano City

The Nagano City Olympic Games shocked the world with their incredible winter sports venues. Tourists and spectators flock to these places to witness top-tier athletes in a world-class setting.

A glance at the table of winter sport venues in Nagano City gives an idea of their scale and complexity. For example, M-Wave speed skating rink can hold up to 18,000 viewers! It set a high standard for future Winter Olympic hosts. Also, Shiroyama Athletic Stadium hosted thrilling events like Nordic combined skiing and ski jumping.

Visitors to M-Wave will be amazed by its huge size. Bring binoculars to get a close-up view of the races from your seat! Nagano City is so steeped in culture and tradition, it makes hot cocoa seem plain.

Nagano Prefecture’s Culture and Traditions

To understand Nagano Prefecture’s culture and traditions, explore Matsumoto Castle, Obuse Town – Hokusai and Chestnuts, and Shinshu Soba Cuisine. These destinations offer unique insights into the prefecture’s history, art, and cuisine.

Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle, located in Matsumoto City of Nagano Prefecture, is a flatland castle built in 1504. It is Japan’s oldest wooden-framed castle and has survived battles and natural disasters for centuries. There are weapons and armor on display for visitors to get a glimpse of life during those times.

Climb the five-story main keep for a unique view and witness traditional Japanese performances held on-site to understand how the Samurai lived and fought. To immerse yourself further in Matsumoto’s rich history and culture, join periodic night tours, which feature fascinating stories about each castle section guided by knowledgeable guides. You can even rent samurai costumes to feel like a warrior knight!

Obuse Town – Hokusai and Chestnuts

Obuse Town, located in Nagano Prefecture, is a unique blend of culture and tradition. It’s renowned for its connection to the famous painter Hokusai, and its delicious chestnuts. Museums dedicated to Hokusai’s work, and chestnut-based treats are just some of the things visitors can experience here.

The town has many artifacts of Hokusai’s artistry, as well as temples, shrines and historical buildings. Visitors can also explore the outdoors with activities such as hiking, skiing and snowboarding. Plus, there are hot springs, or ‘onsens’, where people can relax in natural warm water pools.

The chestnuts from Obuse are renowned for their sweetness across Japan. They have been cultivated in the area for centuries, and tourists can take part in cooking classes, or enjoy local delicacies like “Kuri Manju” (sweet steamed buns filled with mashed chestnuts).

Hokusai found artistic inspiration while staying in Obuse. He completed one of his most famous pieces – The Great Wave off Kanagawa – during his time there. Shinshu soba is the perfect dish to slurp and pretend you’re in an anime!

Shinshu Soba Cuisine

Shinshu Soba – A Culinary Wonder of Nagano!

Shinshu soba, a traditional dish of Nagano, is famous worldwide for its distinct taste and cultural importance. It’s gained fame due to its nutritious components and long history.

Table for Shinshu Soba Cuisine:

Buckwheat Noodles (Soba)Handmade, Rolled thin
Dashi BrothBoiled with Kelp and Bonito Flakes
ToppingsGrilled or Boiled Vegetables, Tempura, Wild Mushrooms

This scrumptious meal is often served cold in the summer and hot in winter, with a sauce called Tsuyu. Also, it’s known for its versatility as it can be eaten plainly, blended with veggies/meat, or dipped in delicious sauces.

The History of Shinshu Soba dates back to the mid-Edo period. It became a local favorite due to the abundance of nutritious buckwheat crops grown nearby. Over time, this dish incorporated regional ingredients like wild mushrooms, mountain vegetables, and steam-grilled tofu.

An interesting story about soba’s beginning is from the Kamakura period; a monk from Okina-mura taught the Japanese how to make soba noodles during a severe drought.

Stay snug in Nagano Prefecture’s cozy accommodation options.

Accommodation Options in Nagano Prefecture

To find the perfect place to stay during your visit to Nagano Prefecture, explore the various accommodation options available. Opt for a traditional and relaxing experience by choosing one of the cozy ryokans. If you’re looking to hit the slopes, consider one of the many ski resorts, offering breathtaking views and thrilling activities. For those preferring a more modern stay, the hotels and resorts in Nagano City offer luxury amenities and convenience.


Ryokans offer a unique lodging experience, showcasing traditional Japanese culture and hospitality. With Tatami mat floors, Futon bedding, hot springs, and seasonal Kaiseki cuisine, Ryokans give you an immersive cultural experience. They are often in beautiful natural places, like hot springs resorts and mountain villages. Staff in Ryokans provide personalized service that guests find calming.

If you want to experience Japan’s hospitality, staying at a Ryokan is a great idea. In addition to the traditional decor, most Ryokans have Onsens – indoor and outdoor hot spring baths believed to provide health benefits.

Nagano Prefecture’s Ryokans have even more to offer – like shuttle services to ski slopes, rental equipment, pet-friendly rooms, and game rooms for kids.

Pro Tip: To make the most of your experience, remember to be respectful – like taking off your shoes before entering guest rooms or common areas. Get ready to hit the slopes, then hit the hay! Nagano’s ski resorts provide the perfect balance of adventure and accommodation.

Ski Resorts

Nestling retreats of the snowy slopes are a divine way to explore Nagano’s skiing delights! Shiga Kogen has 19 interlinked ski areas. Hakuba Valley’s terrain offers Olympic pistes and backcountry regions, making it a pro-skier favourite. Nozawa Onsen is known for its hot springs that cater to Japanese culture and traditions. Niseko is a popular spot for international visitors who come for the powdery snow. Jigokudani Monkey Park has monkey hot-springs for skiers passing through. Myoko Kogen Ski Resorts boast fir trees surrounding enthralling slopes. Weekdays are serene with no bustling crowds.

Hakuba Valley’s ski resort is home to the biggest super-pipe on the planet. An immense staff team maintain it, showing outstanding professionalism.

Riko was lost in Japan’s great wilderness. She stumbled upon Fujiwara Ski Resort in Nagano Prefecture’s serrated mountains. Riko soaked up the pure white surroundings and breathed in the fresh air before going back to reality again.For an unforgettable experience, stay in Nagano City and enjoy a hot spring bath with a view of the mountains.

Hotels and Resorts in Nagano City

Nagano City offers a wide range of places to stay. From lavish hotels to peaceful resorts, visitors will have an unforgettable stay.

  • Hotels in the city center give easy access to sights like Zenko-ji Temple and the Nagano Olympic Stadium.
  • Resorts in the mountains provide stunning views and a calming retreat.
  • Ryokans offer guests a chance to experience traditional Japanese hospitality and customs, plus hot springs and delicious meals.

Plus, many lodgings provide transport to ski resorts, for snow lovers who want to hit the slopes.

My friend stayed at a ryokan with private hot springs, overlooking the mountains. The staff was attentive and served traditional Japanese dishes with local ingredients.

Getting around Nagano is easy, just hop on a snowflake and go!

Transportation Options in Nagano Prefecture

To ease your travel to Nagano Prefecture, this section provides you with various transportation options including Shinkansen Bullet Train Access, Shinano Railway, Nagano City Buses, and Taxis. Treat yourself with comfortable and efficient ride options to help navigate your trip smoothly.

Shinkansen Bullet Train Access

Shinkansen Bullet Train is the way to go if you’re visiting Nagano Prefecture. It’s the fastest train worldwide and has several features to ensure a comfortable ride. It offers reserved seating, washrooms, food kiosks and more.

It was introduced in 1964 and changed the face of transportation across Japan. It enabled people to get to their destination faster and increased tourism revenue. It set a high standard for other high-speed rail networks worldwide.

So, if you’re planning a trip to Nagano, don’t forget to check out the Shinkansen Bullet Train network before booking any other transportation options. Shinano Railway will get you there in no time, and give you a smooth ride.

Shinano Railway

The Shinano Railway is a renowned, reliable and efficient rail network operating in Nagano prefecture. Popularly known as the Shinano Express, it connects Nagano City to Matsumoto, a national treasure renowned for its castle. Other lines include the Kita-Shinano Line taking passengers to Myoko-Kogen Ski Resort and the Shinonoi Line that extends to Naoetsu via Niigata Prefecture. With pocket-friendly fares and regular schedules, it makes exploring the beautiful prefecture easy.

On board trains crossing the mountains, passengers can enjoy breathtaking views. To make their experience better, the railway has a mobile app which provides fare prices, real-time service information and ticket/special offer purchase.

The Omachi Onsen-kyo Station stands out with its Italian-style structure – part hotel. Passengers can stay and appreciate the view of the nearby mountains while experiencing Japanese hot springs.

Recently, I got lost in Nagano with my rental car but was helped by locals who showed me the direction to the Shinano Railway station. Taking the Nagano City bus, I had an enjoyable conversation with friendly locals and my journey was stress-free!

Nagano City Buses and Taxis.

Discover Nagano Prefecture! Use their efficient public transportation. Bus routes run throughout the city, making it easy and affordable to visit famous attractions. Taxis offer door-to-door service for those who prefer it. For remote areas, why not rent a car?

In 1998, Nagano City hosted the Winter Olympics. This meant public transport infrastructure was upgraded. Railway lines and expressways were improved, making it easier than ever to travel around the prefecture.