Tourist attractions in Nagano Prefecture
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We will introduce sightseeing spots in Nagano for those who come to Japan from overseas.
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Table of contents
Sure, here are some popular tourist attractions in Nagano that you might be interested in visiting.
Kamikochi, located in the Japanese Alps, offers stunning natural beauty with its pristine Azusa River, lush forests, and majestic mountain peaks. Visitors can enjoy scenic hiking trails, observe diverse wildlife, and immerse themselves in the serene atmosphere. Experience traditional Japanese culture and hospitality at local inns, making Kamikochi an unforgettable destination for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Matsumoto Castle has been designated a national treasure as the oldest surviving castle tower in Japan. The black lacquer used on the siding gives the castle a beautiful contrast of black and white. Climbing the narrow stairs to the castle tower offers a panoramic view of Matsumoto city.
Suwa Taisha, also known as Suwa Grand Shrine, is a sacred Shinto shrine complex in Nagano Prefecture, known for its ancient history and spiritual significance. Visitors can admire its beautiful architecture, expansive grounds, and tranquil atmosphere, while experiencing the rich cultural traditions of Shintoism. The shrine is particularly famous for its biennial Onbashira Festival, a spectacular event that showcases the vitality of the local community and their deep connection with nature.
Zenkoji Temple, located in Nagano City, is one of Japan's most important Buddhist temples, with a history dating back to the 7th century. The temple is home to the revered "Hibutsu" (hidden Buddha) statue, which is not displayed to the public, lending an air of mystery and spiritual significance. Visitors can experience the beautiful architecture, serene atmosphere, and rich cultural heritage while exploring the temple's expansive grounds and attending its many seasonal events and festivals.
Jigokudani Monkey Park, located in Nagano Prefecture, is a unique and captivating tourist attraction known for its wild Japanese macaques, or "snow monkeys," that inhabit the area. Visitors can observe these fascinating creatures up close as they go about their daily routines, including bathing in the natural hot springs to keep warm during the cold winter months. Surrounded by the picturesque beauty of the Japanese Alps, Jigokudani Monkey Park offers an unforgettable experience, immersing tourists in the wonder of Japan's native wildlife and breathtaking natural landscape.
Daio Wasabi Farm, located in Azumino City, Nagano Prefecture, is one of the largest wasabi farms in Japan. Near the farm flows the Tate River, fed by meltwater from the Northern Alps, along which stand three watermill huts that have become popular photo spots. Additionally, within the farm, you can also savor popular treats like wasabi ice cream.
The Senjojiki Cirque is a breathtaking natural wonder located in the Central Japanese Alps. Its stunning landscape, featuring dramatic cliffs and expansive plateaus, was sculpted by glaciers over thousands of years. Visitors can experience thrilling hiking trails, take in panoramic views from the nearby observation deck, and appreciate the beauty of alpine flora and fauna.
Karuizawa is a picturesque mountain resort town in Japan, known for its cool summers, stunning natural beauty, and outdoor activities. Visitors can enjoy leisurely strolls, shopping at the popular Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza, and explore historic sites like the Old Mikasa Hotel. Outdoor enthusiasts will also love cycling, golfing, and hiking in the surrounding scenic landscapes.
Taisho Pond is a picturesque, tranquil spot located in Kamikochi, Nagano Prefecture. Its crystal-clear waters reflect the stunning surrounding scenery, including the majestic Hotaka Mountain Range. It's an ideal destination for nature lovers seeking serenity and breathtaking views.
Suwa Lake is a stunning natural attraction in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, known for its breathtaking scenery and tranquil atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks along the lakeshore, indulge in various water sports, or explore the historic Suwa Taisha Shrine nearby. The annual Lake Suwa Fireworks Festival is a must-see event, showcasing dazzling fireworks displays that illuminate the night sky over the lake.
Tsumago-juku is a beautifully preserved post town in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, offering visitors a unique glimpse into the Edo period. Stroll down the charming streets lined with traditional wooden buildings, shops, and inns, and experience the authentic atmosphere of old Japan. Nearby attractions such as the Nakasendo Trail and the Tsumago Castle Ruins make Tsumago-juku an ideal destination for history enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.
Togakushi Shrine, nestled in the beautiful Togakushi mountain range in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, is a sacred Shinto shrine complex with a rich history and serene atmosphere. Visitors can enjoy a picturesque hike through the cedar-lined forest path, leading to the shrine's five distinct areas. The stunning natural surroundings and spiritual ambiance make Togakushi Shrine a must-visit destination for those seeking tranquility and a connection with Japan's ancient traditions.
National Alps Azumino Park is a vast national park stretching at the foot of the Northern Alps. The park consists of the Horikane/Hotaka area and the Omachi/Matukawa area, each with different characteristics. In the Horikane-Hotaka area, visitors can relax and enjoy the Alpine scenery and experience local nature and culture. The Omachi/Matukawa area has five areas for day camping, athletic activities, picnicking, and river play.
Utsukushigahara Highlands is a captivating destination, known for its breathtaking panoramic views at 2,000 meters altitude. The area offers serene hiking trails and scenic nature walks, making it an ideal escape for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.
Tateshina Onsen is a charming hot spring resort in Nagano Prefecture, offering visitors a rejuvenating experience amid the picturesque Japanese Alps. The area boasts numerous traditional ryokan inns with soothing indoor and outdoor baths, providing relaxation and tranquility. Surrounded by lush forests and mountainous landscapes, Tateshina Onsen is a perfect destination for nature lovers seeking serenity and well-being.
The Chihiro Art Museum in Azumino exhibits the works of Chihiro Iwasaki, who was active as a picture book artist. Visitors can spend a full day in its wooden space reading picture books, playing, and making use of the café and shop with an open terrace. The museum is also surrounded by the Azumino Chihiro Park, where you can enjoy walks and experiences against the backdrop of the Northern Alps. A corner of the park recreates the world of 'Totto-chan: The Little Girl at the Window,' with a dedicated 'Totto-chan Square'.
Azumino Winery is a charming destination that offers visitors a glimpse into the world of Japanese wine-making. Surrounded by picturesque scenery, the winery provides guided tours and tastings, allowing guests to sample locally produced wines and learn about the unique characteristics of the region's terroir. The serene atmosphere and beautiful views make it an enjoyable and relaxing experience for wine enthusiasts and casual visitors alike.
Mishakaike Pond is a serene and picturesque destination in Nagano, Japan, known for its vibrant seasonal colors and tranquil atmosphere. The pond's mirror-like surface beautifully reflects the surrounding landscape, making it a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy leisurely strolls along the pond's walking trails while soaking in the breathtaking scenery.
Narai-juku, a beautifully preserved post town in Nagano Prefecture, transports visitors back to the Edo period with its traditional wooden buildings and atmospheric streets. As a key stop along the historic Nakasendo Trail, it offers a unique glimpse into Japan's past. Wander the charming streets, sample local delicacies, and soak up the history in this enchanting destination.
Atera Valley captivates visitors with its stunning turquoise waters, lush greenery, and picturesque waterfalls. It offers a tranquil escape for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Activities such as swimming, fishing, and simply relaxing by the river make Atera Valley a memorable destination.
Hirugami Onsen is a charming hot spring resort nestled amidst Japan's pristine nature, offering rejuvenating baths and stunning views. Visitors can experience authentic Japanese culture, indulge in local cuisine, and explore nearby attractions like the beautiful Senga Falls. This serene getaway is perfect for relaxation and rejuvenation, away from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Shiraito Falls, located in Nagano Prefecture, is a stunning natural attraction featuring a wide, cascading waterfall surrounded by lush greenery. The tranquil atmosphere and picturesque scenery make it an ideal spot for relaxation and photography. Visitors can enjoy easy access to the falls via a short walking trail, making it a must-see destination in the region.
Thank you for reading to the end.
( Written by Tatsuo Ikura )