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Matsumoto Castle is one of Japan's premier historic castles, along with Himeji Castle and Kumamoto Castle = Adobe Stock

Matsumoto Castle is one of Japan's premier historic castles, along with Himeji Castle and Kumamoto Castle = Adobe Stock

Nagano Prefecture: Best Attractions and Things to do

Nagano Prefecture has many tourist attractions that represent Japan, such as Hakuba, Kamikochi, and Matsumoto. On this page, I will introduce you to the various fascinating worlds of Nagano.

In the central part of Honshu, there is a mountainous area called "Japan Alps" with an altitude of 3000m = Shutterstock 1
Photos: Do you know "Japan Alps"?

Japan is a mountainous country. To the north of Mt. Fuji, there is a mountainous area called the "Japan Alps." Mountains with an altitude of 2,000 to 3,000 meters are lined up. Hakuba, Kamikochi, and Tateyama are all part of the Japanese Alps. There are many mountain resort areas that can ...

Outline of Nagano

Map of Nagano

Map of Nagano

 

 

Matsumoto

Bautiful reflection in water at night of Matsumoto Castle. It is a Japanese premier historic castles in easthern Honshu, Matsumoto-shi, Chubu region, Nagano Prefecture, Japan = shutterstock

Bautiful reflection in water at night of Matsumoto Castle. It is a Japanese premier historic castles in easthern Honshu, Matsumoto-shi, Chubu region, Nagano Prefecture, Japan = shutterstock

Matsumoto Castle in Nagano Prefecture = Shutterstock
Photos: Matsumoto Castle in Nagano Prefecture

Matsumoto Castle in Nagano Prefecture is one of the most beautiful castles in Japan. The pure black castle tower built around 1600 is designated as a national treasure. From December to March, the castle is covered with snow. The sight of this castle with the snowy mountains in the background is ...

Matsumoto is the largest city in Nagano prefecture after Nagano City. As you walk through Matsumoto City, you'll find that the traditional streetscape remains. In addition, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the 3000-meter high mountains around Matsumoto.

The main attraction in this town is Matsumoto Castle. Himeji Castle (Hyogo Prefecture), which is the most popular in Japan, is pure white, while Matsumoto Castle is dignified jet black. The castle tower built around 1600 is a national treasure. Many tourists photograph this castle tower against the background of the surrounding snow mountains.

 

Kamikochi

Hotaka mountains and Kappa bridge in Kamikochi, Nagano, Japan = Shutterstock

Hotaka mountains and Kappa bridge in Kamikochi, Nagano, Japan = Shutterstock

 

 

Hakuba

In Hakuba you can enjoy skiing while watching the beautiful mountains representing Japan = shutterstock

In Hakuba you can enjoy skiing while watching the beautiful mountains representing Japan = shutterstock

Hakuba is popular for hiking trails in the summer = Shutterstock

Hakuba is popular for hiking trails in the summer = Shutterstock

Hakuba in Nagano Prefecture = Shutterstock 1
Photos: Hakuba -Japan's leading mountain resort area

Hakuba, located in the northern part of Nagano Prefecture, is famous as a ski resort alongside Niseko in Hokkaido. However, Hakuba has many other great tourist resources besides skiing. Hakuba has mountains with an altitude of about 3,000m and a nostalgic countryside scenery. If you go to Hakuba, be sure to ...

 

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

Kurobe Dam on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route = Shutterstock

Kurobe Dam on Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route = Shutterstock

On the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, you can get a close view of the mountainous areas at an altitude of 3,000 m = Shutterstock

On the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, you can get a close view of the mountainous areas at an altitude of 3,000 m = Shutterstock

Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route=Shutterstock
Photos: Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route

If you are planning to travel to Japan from late April to early June, I recommend the mountain area from Tateyama to Kurobe in central Honshu. From Tateyama to Kurobe, you can move easily by connecting the bus and ropeway. You will surely enjoy the amazing snow scene. Table of ContentsPhotos ...

The Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route is a mountain sightseeing route that connects JR Shinano-Omachi Station in Nagano Prefecture to Tateyama Station in Toyama Prefecture, which is located next to the north. On the route, there is a magnificent Kurobe Dam and a mountainous area with an altitude of 3,000m. Tourists can enjoy the scenery comfortably by transferring to buses, ropeways and cable cars.

 

Togakushi

Togakushi in winter, Nagano Prefecture = Shutterstock

Togakushi in winter, Nagano Prefecture = Shutterstock

Togakushi Shrine in Nagano Prefecture = Shutterstock 1
Photos: Togakushi Shrine in Nagano Prefecture

Togakushi is a beautiful mountain area located in the northern part of Nagano City. Here, Togakushi Shrine, a collective term for five shrines with very old history, spreads. From Tokyo to Togakushi, it takes about 3 hours by Shinkansen and bus. If you go to Togakushi, the wonderful mountains, shrines and ...

Togakushi is a beautiful mountain area located in the northern part of Nagano City. Here, Togakushi Shrine, a collective term for five shrines with very old history, spreads. From Tokyo to Togakushi, it takes about 3 hours by Shinkansen and bus. If you go to Togakushi, the wonderful mountains, shrines and soba gourmet will refresh you. This is a very snowy area, so I recommend going in the fall or summer.

 

Jigokudani Yaen-koen

Snow monkeys in a natural onsen (hot spring), located in Jigokudani Park, Yudanaka. Nagano Japan

Snow monkeys in a natural onsen (hot spring), located in Jigokudani Park, Yudanaka. Nagano Japan

Snow Monkeys at Jigokudani Yaen-koen, Nagano Prefecture=Shutterstock 10
Photos: Jigokudani Yaen-koen - Snow Monkey in Nagano Prefecture

In Japan, monkeys as well as Japanese people love hot springs. In the mountainous region of Nagano Prefecture in central Honshu, there is a "hot spring resort" dedicated to monkeys called Jigokudani Yaen-koen. Monkeys warm their body in this hot spring, especially during the snowy winter. If you go to Jigokudani ...

In Nagano Prefecture and Hokkaido there are places where monkeys enter hot springs
Animals in Japan!! Best Spots you can play with them

If you like animals, why not visit sightseeing spots that you can play with animals in Japan? In Japan, there are spots to play with various animals such as owls, cats, rabbits, and deer. On this page, I will introduce popular places among those spots. Click on each map, Google Maps ...

Jigokudani Yaen-koen is very popular among foreign tourists. Here, you can observe wild monkeys bathing in the hot springs.

The nearest bus stop to Jigokudani Yaen-koen is "Snow Monkey Park", which is about 40 minutes from JR Nagano Station (Nagano City) by express bus to Shiga Kogen. From this bus stop, you have to walk about 40 minutes one way on a snowy road. Please note that it is a very snowy place in the winter.

 

Karuizawa

Karuizawa is a representative summer resort in Japan. There are many old churches because Westerners have liked it since the end of the 19th century = Shutterstock

Karuizawa is a representative summer resort in Japan. There are many old churches because Westerners have liked it since the end of the 19th century = Shutterstock

There are many old churches in Karuizawa. The photo shows the Karuizawa Show Memorial Chapel built in 1895 in Kyu-Karuizawa = Shutterstock
Photos: Karuizawa, one of Japan's most popular summer resorts

Karuizawa, at the eastern end of Nagano Prefecture, is a famous summer resort at the foot of Mt. Asama (elevation 2,568m, active volcano). This area has developed as a western resort since the late 19th century. Today, the area around Kyu-Karuizawa (former Karuizawa) from the beginning of development is full of ...

 

Kirigamine

In Kirugamine in the midwinter, a fantastic view called "Muhyo" may be seen = Adobestock

In Kirugamine in the midwinter, a fantastic view called "Muhyo" may be seen = Adobestock

Mishakaike Pond in Nagano Prefecture, Japan
Mishakaike: Japan's most beautiful pond which attracted Kaii Higashiyama

If anyone asks me where is the most beautiful pond in Japan, I would say that it is Mishakaike Pond in Nagano Prefecture. The famous Japanese artist Kaii Higashiyama (1908-1999) drew his representative work "Vibrant Green" (1982) with this pond as the motif. If you go to Mishakaike Pond, you will ...

 

Tsumago

Magome and Tsumago where the image of post towns in the Edo period are left = Shutterstock 1
Photos: Magome and Tsumago -Historic post towns in Japan

If you want to travel back to Japan hundreds of years ago and walk through the historic post towns, you should go to Magome (Gifu Prefecture) and Tsumago (Nagano Prefecture) in the mountainous areas of central Honshu. Magome and Tsumago retain the atmosphere of former post towns. You can stay at ...

 

 

I appreciate you reading to the end.

 

About me

Bon KUROSAWA  I have long worked as a senior editor for Nihon Keizai Shimbun (NIKKEI) and currently work as an independent web writer. At NIKKEI, I was the editor-in-chief of the media on Japanese culture. Let me introduce a lot of fun and interesting things about Japan. Please refer to this article for more details.

2019-08-01

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