With sprawling mountains and home to the Japanese Alps, Nagano is an untouched part of Japan that will make you one with its ancient culture as well as the nature surrounding it.
The capital is Nagano city located in the northern part of Nagano Prefecture. However, we are exploring Nagano across a couple of districts to give you a good package adventure in this nature-filled state.
WHAT TO DO
Shimotakai – Onsen or hot springs are big in Nagano and come in many odd colours like milky white sulphur onsens and orange-red iron ones. Jigokudani Monkey Park is a place where you can see snow monkeys bathe in the onsen but if you want to take a dip as well, try the Shibu Onsen hot spring town in Yamanouchi town next door.
For snow sports enthusiast, Nozawa Onsen Village is known to be the birthplace of Japanese skiing and is home to numerous ski resorts thanks to its diverse terrain. Besides hitting the slopes, Nozawa Onsen Village blends traditional Japanese provincial life with extreme snow sports so you get the best of both worlds.
Chino – Act out your best ‘Sound of Music’ portrayal in the lush green hills of Kurumayama Highlands where fields of flowers grow in vivid colours. There is a sort of ski lift ( but with no snow) to take you up the hill where you can catch a glimpse of Mount Fuji in the distance.
Shiojiri – Enjoy a preserved Edo-period town at Naraijuku to take you back to the olden days of Japan. It is located at the foot of the Torii Mountain Pass which is a quite a climb but the destination is worth it as you relax in places like Nakamura Residence which is a preserved Edo period town house and garden.
WHERE TO STAY
Museum goers can stay at Hotel Ambient Tateshina Cottage as the accommodation is close to the World Silhouette Museum and Shirakaba Highlands Museum. Enjoy Japanese style interior like tatami floors in a Western cottage. Enjoy their hot springs and stay connected thanks to complimentary high-speed wireless internet.
Chino city visitors can stay at Candeo Hotel close to scenic spots on top of mountains and volcanoes like Mount Yatsugatake. The facilities include a sky spa with an indoor and outdoor bath overlooking the snow-peak mountains.