Nagano Prefecture Areas (Cities and Towns)

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Situated in the eastern part of Nagano Prefecture, the Saku area is surrounded by beautiful, abundant nature (Mt. Asama in the north and Mt. Yatsugatake in the south.) This area that stretches around the riverbank of the Chikuma River which rises from Mt. Kobushi, is famous as a tourist resort such as Karuizawa, a well-known health resort, Yachiho Highlands, Shirokoma Pond, Lake Matsubara and many other tourist attractions.

As a castle town, Komoro City which prospered as an inn town along the Hokkoku Route is widely known even in the poems of Toson Shimazaki. Moreover, Saku City was at the strategic point between the Saku Koshu Route and Nakasendo Road. The clean air in the highlands is a good place for astronomical observation and there are observatories in Usuda and Nobeyama.

In the field of agriculture, it is especially famous for its superior quality highland vegetables such as cabbage and lettuce. Hi-tech industries, especially electrical machinery, general machinery and precision machinery, are expanding too.

Saku Area Cities and Towns: Komoro City, Saku City, Usuda Town, Saku Town,Koumi Town, Kawakami Village, Minamimaki Village, Minamiaiki Village, Kitaaiki Village, Yachiho Village, Karuizawa Town, Mochizuki Town, Miyota Town, Tateshina Town, Asashina Village, Kitamimaki Village

Josho Area

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Situated in the east of the prefecture, the midstream along the Chikuma River, both the topographical features and the weather in this area are mild. The center of Ueda City is the town where Sanada Masayuki built a castle in 1583. It is also called “Kamakura of Shinshu” since there are many old shrines and temples at Shiodadaira where the family of Hokujo built their castle in the Kamakura period. The Josho area consists of Ueda City and Chiisagata-gun. There are historical towns; Unno-juku and Wada-juku, hot spring resorts; Bessho Onsen and Maruko Onsen Village as well as highlands; Sugadaira Highlands and Yunomaru Highlands.

The tourism-related industry, which takes advantage of nature and culture, and fresh agricultural products, and the manufacturing industry, mainly of electrical machinery and transportation machinery, are expanding in a well-balanced manner. The newly built Multimedia Research Center and the Ueda City Multimedia Information Center are expected to further expand by leaps and bounds.

Josho Area Cities and Towns: Ueda City, Maruko Town, Nagato Town, Tobu Town, Sanada Town, Takeshi Village, Wada Village, Aoki Village

Suwa Area

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Lake Suwa, at 759 meters above sea level, is the largest lake in the prefecture. The Suwa area, surrounded by an abundant natural environment such as Mt. Yatsugatake, the Tateshina and Kirigamine Highlands. with Lake Suwa as its center, is close to Tokyo and is famous as a tourist resort. In addition to the abundant natural beauty, there are Suwa lakeside and hot springs in Tateshina. This area which prospered as a temple town and inn town with Suwa Shrine at the center, has an increasing number of galleries and museums that attract a large number of tourists.

The Suwa area is also known as the leading industrial area of Shinshu. The spinning industry developed mainly in Okaya in the Meiji era, developed into a precision machinery industry after the war. Plenty of water and clean air is make this area ideal for the precision machinery industry, know as “The Oriental Switzerland” Even now, Okaya City, Suwa City and Chino City are the center of hi-tech industries such as electrical machinery, general machinery, etc.

Suwa Area Cities and Towns: Okaya City, Suwa City, Chino City, Shimo Suwa Town, Fujimi Town, Hara Village

Kami-ina Area

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The flow of the Tenryu River looks like a stitch between the Southern Alps and the Central Alps. There are a variety of cities and villages built on the staircase-like step terraces of the riverbank in the basin. It is an area surrounded by abundant nature and is so located where going to either Tokyo or Nagoya by Chuo Expressway will take only two and a half hours.

Ina City is an inn town developed in olden times as a strategic transport gateway. Komagane City is popular among mountaineers as the gateway to the Central Alps. Takato, the old castle town well known for its “kohigan-zakura” cherry blossoms, is famous as tourist resort too.

In the aspect of in dustry, hi-tech industry such as electrical machinery, precision machinery and general machinery, and research and development enterprises are growing. By making use of the vast agricultural lands on the terraces along the Tenryu riverbank, a various of agricultural production such as growing rice, fruits and flowers and raising livestock are flourishing.

Kami-ina Area Cities and Towns: Ina City, Komagane City, Takato Town, Tatsuno Town, Minowa Town, Iijima Town, Minamiminowa Town, Nakagawa Village, Hase Village, Miyota Village

Han-i Area

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The Han-i area is located in the southern part of Nagano Prefecture. This area, consisting of Iida City and Shimoina-gun, is blessed with its mild weather and the splendid nature of the Southern Alps.

Iida City is a beautiful castle town called little Kyoto. Apple Avenue is popular with both local people and tourists. The scenery and rapids of the Tenryu Gorge is one of the area’s most distinguished natural features. It is also rich in natural wonders such as hot springs and other gorges. This area is also well-known for its traditional entertainment and folk festivals such as the snow festival, village kabuki, puppet theater, etc.

In the aspect of industry, in addition to tsumugi (silk pongee) manufacturing which is representative of traditional cottage industries, electrical machinery, precision machinery and other hi-tech industries are expanding. Taking advantage of this area’s mild weather, there are a wide variety of excellent agricultural products as well such as pears, persimmons, tea plants, and cattle.

Han-i Area Cities and Towns: Iida City, Matsukawa Town, Takamori Town, Anan Town, Seinaiji Village, Achi Village, Ochiai Village, Hiraya Village, Neba Village, Shimojo Village, Urugi Village, Tenryu Village, Yasuoka Village, Takagi Village, Toyooka Village, Oshika Village, Kami Village, Minamishinano Village

Kiso Area

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The Kiso area lies between the Central Alps and the Ontake Mountain Range. Kiso, exactly as described in Toson Shimazaki’s novel, “Before Dawn”, is surrounded by mountains and beautiful forests of Japanese cypress, etc.

Tsumago, Magome, Narai, etc. were once inn villages along the Nakasendo Highway. Their old, traditional appearances have been preserved as a cultural heritage that attracts a large number of tourists. Mt. Ontake, a religious mecca, Nezamenotoko, and Kaida Highlands, once a Kiso horse raising district, are also famous as tourist resorts.

Taking advantage of the abundant forest resources, the forestry industry has prospered since olden times. Also, most of the traditional wood crafts including Kiso lacquerwares have been handed down to the present day.

Kiso Area Cities and Towns: Kisofukushima Town, Agematsu Town, Minamikiso Town, Narakawa Village, Kiso Village, Hiyoshi Village, Kaida Village, Mitake Village, Otaki Village, Okuwa Village, Yamaguchi Village

Matsumoto Area

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The Matsumoto area, which extends from the foothills of the Northern Alps to the center of Nagano Prefecture is surrounded by many famous tourist resorts such as Utsukushigahara Highlands, Kamikochi, Norikura Highlands, Azumino etc. with Matsumoto City at the center. There are hot springs, galleries, museums, historical sites and many other places of attraction as well.

Matsumoto City is a castle town developed around the famous “karasujo” (crow castle), which is the former name for Matsumoto Castle. The central government of the Country of Shinano was situated here in olden times. Shiojiri City used to be the inn town at the intersection of the Nakasendo Highway and Hokkoku-nishi Route. Other towns and villages also possess keen individual characteristics such as the Japan Alps Salad Route, the town of “Mandala”, etc.

Leading manufacturing industries of the prefecture such as electrical machinery, general machinery, precision machinery, foodstuffs, and medical supplies are concentrated here. This area also enjoys a variety of fruit production such as apples, grapes, watermelons, etc. as well as unique agricultural products such as Japanese horseradish, and rainbow trout.

Matsumoto Area Cities and Towns: Matsumoto City, Shojiri City, Akashina Town, Hata Town, Shiga Village, Honjo Village, Sakakita Village, Omi Village, Sakai Village, Ikusaka Village, Yamagata Village, Asahi Village, Toyoshina Town, Hotaka Town, Nagawa Village, Azumi Village, Azusagawa Village, Misato Village, Horigane Village

Taihoku Area

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Situated at the foothills of the Northern Alps and in the northeast of Nagano Prefecture, the northern part is one of the heavy snowfall regions in Japan. This area comprising Omachi City and Kitaazumi-gun, is also famous for its “Shio-no-michi” (salt trading road), once used to carry salt from the Sea of Japan. There are numerous ski grounds such as the Hakuba and Happo-one which served as Olympic competition venues. This area is also so full of hot springs, lakes and other tourist attractions that it has been developed into a mountain resort.

Omachi City is the gateway to the Tateyama-Kurobe Alpine Route. It is also known as a city with a variety of unique museums.

The agriculture and forestry industry cooperates with the tourist industry and the pre-sales processing of agricultural products is popular. In addition to local specialties such as handmade soba (buckwheat noodles) and oyaki (a steamed bun containing a filling), herbs and other new local specialties are being developed. Furthermore, expectations are also high for the growth of a variety of hi-tech industries.

Taihoku Area Cities and Towns: Omachi City, Ikeda Town, Matsukawa Village, Yasaka Village, Miasa Village, Hakuba Village, Otari Village

Nagano Area

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Nagano area is surrounded by beautiful mountains situated in Joshinetsu National Park with Zenkoji Plain, the merging point of the Chikuma River and the Sai River in the center. Rich in cultural assets and historical sites, it developed mainly around Nagano City, the prefectural capital.

Nagano City, the home of Zenkoji Temple, first developed as a temple town. Even Kawanakajima which is famous with its old battlefield, and Matsushiro, the Sanada Jumangoku castle town, have become part of the city that has a population of 350,000 today. The town of storehouses, Suzaka City, is a castle town that has retained its old appearance. Koshoku City is the “Apricot Country” of Japan. There are a lot more tourist resorts such as Obuse, the town of Japanese chestnuts and Hokusai (a famous Ukiyoe artist), Minamishiga Onsen Village, Togura Kamiyamada Onsen, Iizuna Highlands, Kurohime Highlands, Lake Nojiri etc.

With manufacturing industries such as electrical machinery, general machinery, food-stuff and printing as its main industry, value added agriculture, forestry and various kind of industries are also expanding in this area. As the host city of the 1998 Olympic Winter Games, the international exchange of culture and sports are expected to grow even further.

Nagano Area Cities and Towns: Nagano City, Suzaka City, Koshoku City, Kamiyamada Town, Ooka Village, Sakaki Town, Togura Town, Obuse Town, Takayama Village, Shinshushin Town, Toyono Town, Shinano Town, Mure Village, Samizu Village, Togakushi Village, Kinasa Village, Ogawa Village, Nakajo Village

Hokushin Area

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Situated in the northernmost part of Nagano Prefecture, it is one of Japan’s snowiest areas. Taking advantage of the characteristics of a snowy area, it has developed as a base for winter sports as represented by Shiga Highlands, Nozawa Onsen, Madarao Highlands. as well as tourist resorts with rich hot springs such as Yudanaka, Shibu, Nozawa, etc.

Nakano City, famous as the “country of clay dolls,” is the birthplace of a famous composer, Shinpei Nakayama. Iiyama City is a castle town within the Okushinano region with many shrines and temples standing side by side. The phrase, “the country that will never be forgotten”, in a famous song “Furusato,” is refering to Toyota Village.

In the industrial area, as well as the local industry of manufacturing Buddhist altars and Japanese Uchiyama paper and other traditional craftworks, the high productivity agricultural industry such as producing jumbo grapes, apples, and mushrooms are prospering as well. With the Olympics bringing this area to the attention of the world, steps are being taken to develop the area into a year-round resort by adding canoeing, paragliding, etc.

Hokushin Area Cities and Towns: Nakano City, Iiyama City, Yamanouchi Town, Kijimadaira Village, Nozawaonsen Village, Toyota Village, Sakae Village