Nagano City (Nagano-shi, 長野市), (pop. 361,000), is the political and economic center of Nagano Prefecture. Nagano is the capital city of Nagano Prefecture, situated in the northern part of the prefecture near the junction of the Chikuma River and the Sai River, on the main island of Honshu, Japan. Its central location makes it a good place to explore the surrounding areas from. The Winter Olympics put Nagano on the world’s stage for two weeks in 1998 and it’s still evident by the public works projects and sports facilities around the city today. They even added a Shinkansen, which makes it easier to visit Nagano from Tokyo. There are numerous parks and sports facilities as well.
Nagano City is surrounded not only by beautiful green mountains, but also by the Sai and Chikuma Rivers. It has been known to the people of Japan since olden times as the town below Zenkoji Temple.
Since 1897 when the municipal system was introduced, the city has experienced remarkable development, growing into a mid-level designated city, and then celebrating its 100th anniversary in 1997. The year after that special anniversary, Nagano City hosted the last festival of peace of the 20th century, the Nagano Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games. The Games were a wonderful success, giving hopes, dreams, and inspiration to people all over the world.
The following year, and every year since, the Nagano Olympic Commemorative Nagano Marathon has been held through the support of many citizens of Nagano and other volunteers.
Togakushi is a highland village at the foot of Mt. Togakushi. In the center of the village, amidst an unspoiled natural setting, are as many as 30 soba shops boasting the superior taste of their hand-made soba. Accordingly, this area is a favored destination for soba lovers.
More than 100 kinds of wild birds inhabit Togakushi Kogen (highlands), one of Japan’s most renowned areas for wild birds. Togakushi Forest Botanical Garden, which covers an area of 71 hectares, features pristine forests, and is visited by many bird watchers and hikers. More Details: Togakushi-Yama (Mt. Togakushi), Togakushi Heights in Togakushi highland village
Otari Village is situated at the foot of the Northern Japan Alps in the northwest end of Nagano. This quiet mountain village adjoins Niigata and Toyama prefectures. Yama-bundo is a wild grape grown in the mountains of Otari. The fresh juice contains 50% pure grape and is an Otari specialty, popular for it’s unique natural taste. Around the time when snow begins melting, a clear contrast between the remaining snow and the exposed surface of the mountains becomes obvious. The village farmers used to liken the shapes to farming horses, an old man sowing seeds, etc. The images were used as a calendar for farming.
From Matsumoto 1 hour 50 minutes by Oito Line (local train)
From Shinjuku 3 hours 50 minutes by Chuo Tosen (Oito Line) Super Azusa Express.
Otari Hot Spring
Otari hot spring resort is located in the folds of the mountains, and has a history of some 400 years. The area is near the trailhead for Mt. Amakazari, a popular destination with mountaineers and hikers.
Grasslands extend from the foot of Mt. Kurohime, 2053 meters above sea level. There are many tourist spots in the Kurohime Kogen, such as the Nursery Story Museum and farms and flower gardens renowned for their picturesque scenery.
Part of Kurohime Kogen becomes covered in cosmos flowers from late August through early October. During this time, one million cosmos flowers collected throughout the world are in full bloom.
From July through early August, lavender growing all over the five hectare area on the south hillside face of Mt. Kurohime. It fills the area with color and a beautiful fragrance.
33 minutes from Nagano by local train
This plateau spreads over two mountains, Azuma-san and Neko-dake. The scenery is said to resemble that of Switzerland. Whether that’s accurate or not, it’s a scenic area worth exploring.
Nojiro-ko (Lake Nojiri)
Nagano’s second largest lake, Nojiri-ko has a variety of summertime activities including water skiing, wakeboarding, windsurfing, boating, cycling. It’s also a nice drive around the lake. In winter, try ice fishing for pond smelt. On the south shore there is an international resort area. Some cottages are owned by foreign missionaries. In the Taisho period, foreign missionaries began coming to Lake Nojiri to avoid the crowds at Karuizawa. Even today, the International Village on the shore is a popular summer resort.
Nagaden bus from Kurohime Station or Kawanakajima bus from Mykoko Kogen Station.
Mt. Iizuna is a popular hiking destination that can be enjoyed by the whole family. A legend says that Lake Daizahoshi, located at the foot of the mountain, was made from a footprint by Daidara-Bochi, a legendary giant. The pond, surrounded by Japanese larch, is especially beautiful in spring and fall. Many families come here for camping and other outdoor activities. Iizuna heights, on the lower part of Iizuna-yama, hosted the freestyle skiing events during the 1998 Winter Olympics. In addition to the two ski resorts, you’ll find lakes, golf courses and peaceful retreats. Iizuna Kogen is about 30 minutes from downtown Nagano. More Details: Nagano Iizuna Kogen in Mount Iizuna/Izuna (Iizuna/Izuna-yama)
Zenkoji temple designated national treasure is said to have been built approximately 1,400 years ago. This temple is very well known as the one which bestows paradise upon all the people. Because Zenkoji temple does not belong to any sect of Buddhism. he geometrical pattern of the stone pavement at Zenkoji temple looks really beautiful. More Details: Nagano Zenkoji Temple
Nagano City Museum, Chausu Yama Park, Zoo & Botanical Gardens (Dinosaur Park) in Hachimanbara Shiseki Park (Kawanakajima Battlefield)
Nagano City Museum exhibits on such themes as the History of the Nagano Basin, Zenkoji Temple and its faith, and the medieval Battle of Kawanakajima. Chausu Yama Natural History Museum, excavated fossils and specimens are on display. We can also trace various events and the history of nature that occurred on Earth. Chausu Yama Park is a natural botanical garden, a dinosaur park, and a zoo. Nagano Chausu Yama Zoo has 30kinds of mam-mals (226 specimens), 20kinds of birds (103 specimens), 13kinds of Reptile (37 specimens). There is also botanical garden, picnic square that has a fine view of Zenkoji-daira, Sugadaira-Heights, Shiga-Heights and other surrounding areas. Chausu Yama Botanical Gardens (Dinosaur Park) has a long tunnel made from a Wisteria trellis, an herb garden, adventure facilities, and 23 giant dinosaurs (the first in Japan). Hachimanbara Shiseki Park (Kawanakajima Battlefield) is an ancient battleground is now a historic site which has been retained as parkland. Also features a planetarium. enkyuji temple located beside Matsushiro Ohashi bridge is the family temple of Nobushige, Shingen’s brother. In Omine Castle and Butterfly Museum 1,300 kinds of butterflies are exhibited. More details: Nagano City Museum, Chausu Yama Park, Zoo & Botanical Gardens (Dinosaur Park) in Hachimanbara Shiseki Park (Kawanakajima Battlefield)
Matsushiro Castle, Sanada Treasures Museum, Former Bunbu Gakko (Matsushiro Literary and Military School), Matsushiro feudal lord, Sanada family tomb in Nagona Chokoku-ji Temple and Matsushiro Underground (bunker/tunnel):
The Sanada family gained fame between the civil war era and early in the Edo era. Matsushiro was a former castle town of Sanada Jyuman goku. And there are some Samurai residences, temples and gardens in existence here. Sanada Treasures Museum of the Sanada family treasures are on public view, including samurai armour, swords and calligraphy. Various precious treasures of the Matsushiro clan’s history are on display. National Historical Monument of Former Matsushiro Literary and Military School (Bunbu Gakko) retains the original structures and what it used to look. Men from the Matsushiro clan who were between the age of 8 and 30 years were forcible made to enter the school. Matsushiro feudal lord, Sanada family tomb of the feudal lords such as Yukitaka of Sanada clan are contained here in the Nagona Chokoku-ji Temple. Matsushiro Underground (bunker/tunnel) Imperial Army Headquarter/ Matsushiro Zozan Chikago/ Matsushiro Daihonei is dug by Korean forced-laborers in a bid to provide an impregnable sanctuary for the Emperor and the organs of the Imperial Japanese government at the end of World War II. More details: Matsushiro Castle, Sanada Treasures Museum, Former Bunbu Gakko (Matsushiro Literary and Military School), Matsushiro feudal lord, Sanada family tomb in Nagona Chokoku-ji Temple and Matsushiro Underground (bunker/tunnel)
Nagano City Cultural Assets and Historic Sites:
Nagano city is known as a cultural city from ancient time. Numerous precious cultural assets remain all over Nagano city. Nagano City Cultural Assets and Historic Sites are – The main hall of Zenkoji temple with a Zushi, Katsurayama Ochiai Shrine Main hall with a piece of Munefuda plate, Jindai Cherry Tree in Suzakura Shrine, National Historical Monument of Former Matsushiro Literary and Military School (Bunbu Gakko), General Senryu and Himezuka Burial mound, The ruin of Matsushiro castle with the ruin of the new palace called Shingoten, Matsushiro feudal lord, Sanada family tomb in Nagona Chokoku-ji Temple. More details: Nagano City Cultural Assets and Historic Sites
Nagano Winter Olympics and Paralympics Venue:
Nagano Winter Olympics and Paralympics Venue was Big Hat Ice Hockey Arena (Wakasato Municipal Civic Cultural Hall), Aqua Wing Ice Hockey Arena (Nagano Athletic Sports Park & Aqua Wing Ice Hockey), White Ring (Figure Skating and Short Track Speed Skating Arena) – Now “Mashima Sports Arena”, Spiral (Nagano Bobsleigh Luge Park), M-WAVE Speed skating Arena/Nagano Olympic Memorial Arena/Nagano Olympic Museum, Minami Nagano Sports Park/Nagano Olympic Stadium/South Nagano Sports Park/Stadium for the Opening and Closing Ceremonies and Nagano Olympic Village. More details: Nagano Winter Olympics and Paralympics Venue
Aogaki Park Public Pool:
The pool overlooks Mount Minakami, Zou, and Iizuna, giving you spectacular views in the distance. More details: Nagano Aogaki Park Public Pool
Chikumagawa River Front Sport Garden:
Chikumagawa River Front Sport Garden consists of Roller Skating Rink, Turget Bird Golf Course, Free Open Space, Management House, Softball Field (2 Fields), Rugby Field, Soccer Field. More details: Chikumagawa River Front Sport Garden
Sun Marine Nagano:
Sun Marine Nagano is an all-around sports facility health and fitness place. More details: Sun Marine Nagano
Nagano City Youth Science Museum and Shinano Art Museum in Joyama Park
Shinano Art Museum (Higashiyama Kaii Gallery) is the works of local artists and landscape paintings depicting the beautiful scenery of Shinshu, Hometown writer’s Painting, Higashiyama Kai Gallery, etc. It is located in Joyama Park adjacent to Zenkoji Temple. Nagano City Youth Science Museum has Universe, earth, living things, substances, energy, playground and much more. More details: Nagano City Youth Science Museum and Shinano Art Museum in Joyama Park
Joshin’etsu-kogen National Park
Asahimachi-1108 Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 380-0846, Japan Tel: 026-231-6570 Fax: 026-235-1226
Nagano City Joyama (jouyama/jyoyama) Zoo
2-1-19 Uematsu, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 380-0802, Japan Tel: 026-233-0586 Fax: 026-233-1585
Patio Daimon Kuraniwa
Patio Daimon is an open-air collection of small buildings built like kura, by the Daimon and Daimon Minami bus stops. Located in front of Zenkoji Temple is an area of buildings transformed from the original merchant houses and warehouses into a place for tourists and visitors to relax. 54 Daimon-cho, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 380-0841, Japan Tel: 026-267-5323 Fax: 026-267-5326
Kitano Art Museum
Kitano museum of art displays the work of painter at the Showa era and Taishou era , Meiji era. There are 600 separate art works held at this museum of art,consisting of Japanese paintings, European paintigs, sculptures, calligraphic works,and craftwork objects. Hours: 9:00 a.m – 4:30 p.m, Closed on Monday,and Dec.28-Jan.6 Public Transportation: Approximately 35 minutes ride from Nagano Bus Terminal and get down at the bus stop of “furuya” Address: 7963-2 Wakaho-Watauchi, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 381-0101, Japan Tel: 026-282-3450 Fax: 026-282-4757
Nagano City Four Seasons Festival, Event, Flower Calender and Gourmet (Souvenir):
There are various kinds of festivals such as traditional performances succeed for a long time and modern festivals for all residents in Nagano City (Nagano-shi). A large number of tourists from the inside and the outside of Nagano prefecture visit Nagano city to enjoy watching many kinds of flowers and trees. Togakushi, next to Nagano city, is famous for delicious soba. There are many restaurants where you can enjoy the taste of real soba in Nagano city. More details: Nagano City Four Seasons Festival, Event, Flower Calender and Gourmet (Souvenir)
Open-air Sculptures in Nagano: The city exhibits open-air sculptures at park and street corners as one part of efforts to make the community comfortable and attractive, with an accent of cultural sophistication.
Nagano Municipal Products Hall: This hall built Meiji era. The stained glass is beautiful in the light at night.
Nagano City Library, Nanbu Library: Both are rich public libraries. More details: Nagano City Library, Nanbu Library
Nagano City is the political and economic center of Nagano Prefecture. Its central location makes it a good place to explore the surrounding areas from. The Winter Olympics put Nagano on the world’s stage for two weeks in 1998 and it’s still evident by the public works projects and sports facilities around the city today. They even added a Shinkansen, which makes it easier to visit Nagano from Tokyo.
- Osaka Airport–>Matsumoto Airport 55 min.
- Sapporo Airport–>Matsumoto Airport 1 hrs. 30 min.
- Fukuoka Airport–>Matsumoto Airport 1 hrs. 30 min.
Tokyo(Ueno)–>JR Nagano-yuki sinkansen Line For Nagano 1 hrs. 19min.(the shortest)
The Nagano Shinkansen – called “Asama” – opened before the Nagano Olympics, and made the resorts in Nagano Prefecture more accessible than ever, with a quick journey of 222.4 kilometers.
Take the JR Chuo Saisen Line to Matsumoto, which takes approximately 2 hours. From there, take the Shinonoi Line into Nagano City, which takes approximately 1 hour.
Nagoya–>JR Shinonoi Line For Nagano 3 hrs.
From To Time Needed Nagoya Station Matsumoto 2 hours Matsumoto Nagano Just over 1 hour
Tokaido Shinkansen JR Chuo Saisen Line & Shinonoi Line
For the quickest way, take the Tokaido Shinkansen from Shin-Osaka station to Nagoya station, which takes about 1 hour.
From To Time Needed Shin-Osaka Station Nagoya Station 1 hour Nagoya Station Matsumoto 2 hours Matsumoto Nagano Just over 1 hour
Tokyo(NerimaIC)–>NaganoIC 2 hrs. 15 min.
- Option 1
Take the Kanetsu Expressway until Fujioka Junction, where you change onto the Joshinetsu Expressway which goes all the way up to Nagano City (and beyond to the Myoko Kogen region of Niigata Prefecture).
KANETSU EXPRESSWAY > Fujioka Junction > JOSHINETSU EXPRESSWAY to Nagano City.
- Option 2
Take the Chuo Expressway and at the Okaya Junction change to the Nagano Expressway which goes north to Nagano City region.
CHUO Expressway > Okaya Junction > NAGANO Expressway to Nagano City.
- Option 1
Take the Chuo Expressway east to the Okaya Junction and from there head north on the Nagano Expressway to the Nagano area.
Nagoya(NagoyaIC)–>NaganoIC 3 hrs. 15 min.
Take the Meishin Expressway and at the Komaki Junction, change onto the Chuo Expressway. At the Okaya Junction, change onto the Nagano Expressway and head north up to Nagano.
Osaka(SuitaIC)–>NaganoIC 5 hrs. 10 min.
Kawanakajima Bus Route by Alpico Group public transport company in Nagano Prefecture
Togakushi Line (via Bird Line): Nagano – Iizuna Kogen Heights – Togakushi Chusha Shrine – Togakushi Campsite / Togakushi Ski Area Okususobana Line: Nagano – Kinasa – Okususobana Sightseeing Center – Okususobana Nature Park Anzu Line: Yashiro – Anzu-no-sato Kawanakajima Bus (Alpico Nagano Office) 2131-1 Oshimada-machi, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 381-2212, Japan Tel: 026-254-6000, 026-254-6700, 026-227-0404 (Nagano Station office) Fax: 026-254-7005
Website: http://www.alpico.co.jp/access/nagano/ or http://www.alpico.co.jp/kbc/
Alpico Taxi in Nagano City 2131-1 Oshimada-machi, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 381-2212, Japan Tel: 026-283-8800
Nagano Electric Railway Co., Ltd. (Nagaden train line) Nagaden operate a train line from Nagano Station which runs as far as Yudanaka, which is the gateway to Shiga Kogen. At Yudanaka Station, you can jump on a bus or catch a taxi to Shiga Kogen. 2201 Tsuruga, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 380-0833, Japan Tel: 026-232-8121 Fax: 026-232-8125
Nagaden Bus Nagano Dentetsu (Nagaden) operate express buses from Bus Stop #3 at the East Exit (Higashi Guchi). These buses run along the Joshinetsu Expressway, along route 292 and up to Shiga Kogen. 471-1 Murayama, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 381-0011, Japan Tel: 026-295-8008 Fax: 026-295-8060
Shinano Railway Line to Nagano Station 1-3-39 Tokida, Ueda City, Nagano Prefecture, 386-0018 Tel: +81-268-21-4700 Fax: +81-268-4703
Nagano Station Tourist Information Center JR Nagano Station (Main Passageway) Kurita, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 380-0921, Japan Tel: 026-226-5626 Open: 9:00-18:00, Closed on Dec.30-Jan.3
Nagano Tour by East Japan Railway Company (JR East): http://www.jreast.co.jp/e/shinshu/
Nagano Bus Terminal Okadamachi-178-2 Nakagosho, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 380-0936, Japan Tel: 026-228-1155, 026-228-1157 Fax: 026-228-1154, 026-224-7068
Nagano City (Nagano-shi) Area Tourist Information Centers and Others
Togakushi Kagamiike (Donguri House)
2039-10 Togakushi, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 381-4101, Japan Tel: 026-254-3719 Fax: 026-254-3720
Togakushi Tourism Association
1554 Togakushitoyooka, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 381-4102, Japan Tel: 026-254-2888 Fax: 026-254-3711
Togakushi Tourism Association Website: http://togakushi-21.jp/
Nagano City Development Corporation
Nagano in City Hall 1613,1F Tsuruga, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 380-0813, Japan Tel: 026-226-3272 Fax: 026-228-2461
Nagano Convention & Visitors Bureau
1485-1 (4F) Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 380-0835, Japan Tel: 026-223-6050 Fax: 026-223-5520
Nagano City Tourism Division – Togakushi Heights Info
Midori-cho 1613, Tsuruga, Nagano City, Nagano 380-8512 Japan Tel: 026-224-5042 Fax: 026-224-5043
Nagano City commerce and industry association, Togakushi Office
1484-2 Togakushi, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 381-4101, Japan Tel: 026-254-2541 Fax: 026-254-2166
Nagano City commerce and industry association, Kinasa branch office
207-4 Kinasa, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 381-4301, Japan Tel: 026-256-3347 Fax: 026-256-3329
Nagano City commerce and industry association website: http://www.s-togakushi.com/togakushi/mame/
English Speaking Hospitals in Nagano City:
Nagano Sekijuji Byoin:Tel.026-226-4131/Fax.026-228-8349 Shinonoi Sogo Byoin: Tel.026-292-2261/Fax. 026-293-0025 Asahi Byoin: Tel.026-2446411/Fax.026-244-5969 Kobayashi Nogeka Byoin [Neurosurgery]: Tel.026-241-6221/Fax.026-259-0948 Aiwa Byoin: Tel.026-2263863/Fax.026-223-7168 Higashiguchi Byoin: Tel.026-227-0700/Fax.026-224-8654 Nagano Chuo Byoin: Tel.026-234-3211/Fax.026-234-5627
Nakazawa Sanfujinka Byoin [Obstetrics & Gynecology]: Tel.026-234-0788/Fax.026-235-2758
Nagano City Health Center in Wakasato: Tel. 026-226-9941 Nagano City Education Consultation Office: Tel. 026-232-7830, 026-353-8811 Nagano Police Headquarters, Youth Division: Tel. 026-232-4970 Nagano Chuo Police Station: Tel. 026-241-0783 Matsumoto Police Station: Tel. 0263-25-0783 Nagano City Labor And Employment or Job Security Office (called “Hello Work”) and Nagano Labor Affairs Bureau: Tel. 026-228-1300, 026-223-0553 Nagano Prefecture Regional Office in Nagano City: Tel. 026-233-5151
Nagano City Municipal office: Tel. 026-226-4911