【Tourist Hot Spot in NAGANO】NAGANO

▶︎ NAGANO

A key city of the Shinshu region with the smell of hot springs in the air

An economic powerhouse and home to the Nagano Prefectural Government Office, Nagano City is also a prime destination for hot spring fans, boasting many hot springs that visitors can go to on day trips.
The city is home to the Joshin’etsu Highland National Park that served as an Olympic venue where even beginners can enjoy skiing and snowboarding, and more traditional cultural sites such as Zenko-ji temple and Togakushi shrine.
The food is also exceptional, with the delicious Shinshu soba and oyaki being the local specialties.

Zenko-ji Temple


zenkoji

©663highland

Venture beyond the inner chamber of this pilgrimage site, down a narrow flight of steps to a completely dark corridor. Visitors who manage to touch a metal key hanging on the wall here are said to gain enlightenment. Because the temple is non-denominational, many have travelled here over the years to be saved regardless of religion, gender, or station, driving the temple’s ongoing popularity.

Info: www.zenkoji.jp

Togakushi Handmade Soba


soba

©Nagano Prefecture   ©JNTO

The climate of Togakushi gives birth to a tasty soba noodle with a strong aroma known as Kirishita Soba. Traditional soba making techniques combine with clear water to create a strong noodle. The soba is harvested each year in summer and autumn; the fresh soba of autumn known as ‘new soba’ and available from late October.

Info: www.nagano-cvb.or.jp

Togakushi Shrine


togakushi-shrine

©Nagano Prefecture   ©JNTO

This shrine is located at the base of Mt. Togakushi, a widely visited holy mountain 1904m in height long known as a pilgrimage site for those of faith or seeking enlightenment. Today, it is a holy spot and a power spot where visitors can feel the earth’s energy, drawing visitors from across the country to pray for strong harvests, good fortune, and good health.

www.togakushi-jinja.jp

Shichimi Hot Spring


shichimi-hot-spring

©Nagano Prefecture   ©JNTO

A hidden hot spring at the heart of Matsukawa Gorge in the Shinshu Takayama Onsen- kyo. Three hot spring resorts call the area home, and day visitors are welcome. The autumn foliage is some of the best in the entire region, and the hot springs are the perfect place to relax. The region’s name comes from the seven different springs in the area.

www.mountaintrad.co.jp/nagano/scm/ hi0/guide.html

The Nagano Ebisu Fireworks Festival


fireworks

©Nagano Prefecture

This fireworks festival is a symbol of the coming of winter to Nagano City. In addition to splendid fireworks displays, giant 24-inch shells light up the autumn sky in internationally- acclaimed displays.

www.nagano-cci.or.jp/ebisukou/

Kagami Lake


kagami-lake

©Yasufumi Nishi   ©JNTO

A beautiful lake 1,200m above sea level with a mirror- like surface that reflects the landscape year round, from the new shoots of spring to the cool breezes of summer and the autumn foliage. For the best view, plan a visit in the morning. The lake is lined by a walking track, and the Togakushi Mountain Botanical Gardens is close by as well.

www.nagano-tabi.net/modules/enjoy/ enjoy_1004013.html

【Tourist Hot Spot in NAGANO】MATSUMOTO

▶︎ MATSUMOTO

A castle town with over 400 years of history

Situated in the heart of Nagano Prefecture, Matsumoto City is a popular destination for many, known as a castle town with a long history and the gateway to the northern Alps.
Matsumoto Castle, the city’s star attraction and a national treasure, is a famous tourist spot, but the city is also known for buildings constructed in the downtown districts during the Meiji and Showa eras, their mix of western and Japanese influence lending the area a touch of nostalgia. Matsumoto City is also known for its natural springs, and is dotted with a series of wells.

Matsumoto Castle


matsumoto-castle

©Nagano Prefecture   ©JNTO

Matsumoto Castle was built in the late 1500’s at the end of Japan’s warring period, and makes for a striking sight. The donjon (castle keep) is a national treasure, and the castle remains are designated as a national historical landmark. Visitors can view the interior of the donjon, recreated to represent the time of its construction, and you can see downtown Matsumoto City and even parts of the northern Alps from its highest levels.

Info: http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp

Handmade Soba Making


handmade-soba-making

©Utsukusigaharaonsen Ryokan Kyoudo Kumiai

Premium soba, or buckwheat in English, comes from land that is high in elevation, is prone to fog, and where the daylight hours are short. Nagano Prefecture provides the perfect growing conditions for soba and is famous for its soba noodles. Particularly noteworthy are Norikura and Nagawa, with Nagawa being home to the famous traditional Toujisoba. Visitors can also learn to make soba noodles by hand at the Fureai Yamabe-kan.

Info: http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp

Kamikouchi


kamikochi

©Matsumoto City   ©JNTO

A beautiful landscape in the northern Alps at 1,500m above sea level, Kamikochi is visited by many tourists from April through to November outside the winter months. Walking paths running 10km from Taisho Lake to Yokoo by the Azusa River provide a view of beautiful scenery year round.

Info: www.kamikochi.or.jp

The Matsumoto Castle Town Wells


matsumoto-castle-town-wells

©Matsumoto City

There are many wells in this castle town. These wells provide access to the spring waters that flow down from the Utsukushigahara Highlands, and are places of rest and refreshment for the city’s residents and visitors. The wells in the city are an urban oasis, and a great place to have a drink as you explore the city.

Info: http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp

The Norikura Highlands


norikura-highlands

©Matsumoto City   ©JNTO

The Norikura Highlands are a collection of lands ranging 1,200m to 1,800m above sea level along the eastern reaches of Mt. Norikura. Attractions include the Ichinose Gardens, forests and lakes, marshes, waterfalls, autumn foliage, four hot springs with their own unique waters, flowers, and more.

http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp

Nakamachi Street


nakamachi-street

©Matsumoto City   ©JNTO

Located in the center of Nagano Prefecture, Matsumoto City has long prospered as a castle town and hub of commerce. Nakamachi Street in the heart of the city is home to heritage white-walled and latticed clay wall buildings. This area is a place for shopping, with goods stores, folk craft stores, sweets shops, restaurants, and more.

Info: http://welcome.city.matsumoto.nagano.jp

【Tourist Hot Spot in NAGANO】YUDANAKA SHIBU Onsen-kyo

▶︎ YUDANAKA SHIBU Onsen-kyo

Taking a Dip, Snow Monkey Style

Not far from Shiga Kogen is the Yudanaka Shibu Onsen-kyo. This hot spring destination is formed by nine different hot springs in the Yokoyu River and Yamase River basin in Yamanouchi Town in Shimotakai- gun, Nagano Prefecture. A range of accommodation is on offer, from large ryokans and the latest modern hotels to traditional wooden-style ryokans, and the area plays host to visitors all year round. The hot springs work together on initiatives such as a hot spring touring pass that allows you to enter a selection of public bathing areas throughout your stay, and summer festivals lasting over a month. The town in the hot springs is also home to many foot spas that allow even those not staying at accommodation to enjoy the hot water.

Shiga Kogen


shigakogen

©Nagano Prefecture   ©JNTO

A highland area ranging 1,300m to 1,600m above sea level in height and surrounded by even taller mountains such as Mt. Higashidate and Mt. Yokote. Approximately 20 minutes by car from Yudanaka Onsen-kyo, the area is visited by many after a trip to the hot springs to see the lake here and the alpine vegetation. Take a boat ride on Lake Biwa or Lake Maru, or a gondola lift from Hoppo Hot Springs to the peaks of Mt. Higashidate at 1,994m above sea level.

Info: www.shigakogen.co.jp

Yudanaka Early Morning Markets


yudanaka

©Nagano Prefecture

Every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 6:30 a.m., the area in front of the Nagano Electric Railway Yudanaka Station transforms into an early morning market where more than 20 stalls sell fruit and vegetables freshly picked that morning. There are fresh vegetables and mountain vegetables, peaches, kyoho grapes, apples, and other seasonal produce, handmade pickles and oyaki dumplings, all at market prices. Talking and interacting with the local stall owners is sure to become a fond memory of your stay.

Info: www.info-yamanouchi.net

Shibu Hot Spring Public Bathing Area Tours


hot-spring

©Yamanouchi Town   ©JNTO

With more than 1,300 years of history, the public bathing areas of Shibu Hot Springs have been carefully tended to over the years by the local village people. While public baths are usually only open to local residents, those who stay at accommodation can enter the bathing areas for free by borrowing the wooden keys (hot spring touring passes) at their place of stay. Each of the nine outdoor baths possesses its own special properties.

Info: www.info-yamanouchi.net

Jigokudani Yaen Koen


jigokudani

©Yamanouchi Town   ©JNTO

One of the hot springs in Yudanaka Shibu Onsen-kyo, Jigokudani Hot Springs is home the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park that cares for wild Japanese monkeys (Macaca fuscata) and allows visitors to come and see them as well. The sight of the monkeys taking a bath in the hot springs here in winter is renowned overseas as a hot tourist attraction.

Info: http://jigokudani-yaenkoen.co.jp

Fruit Picking


fruit-picking

©Yamanouchi Nagano Prefecture

Orchards in Kitashiga Kogen offer the chance to try picking local specialties such as cherries, blueberries, grapes, apples, and more. The melted waters of the snow, high in minerals, combine with the large difference in temperature between the daytime and nighttime to create produce that is strong in flavor and sweet to the taste.

Info: www.info-yamanouchi.net