A flower paradise with
blooming alpine plants of various kinds
Karuizawa is one of the most famous summer resorts in Japan
Nagano Prefecture is an inland prefecture situated in the central
part of the Japanese mainland and covers the Central Highland also
known as the Roof of Japan. Because it is situated between Kanto and
Kansai regions, it developed whilst being influenced by both the
cultures of the east and west. In the central part of the prefecture
are mountains that belong to three volcanic mountains, Nasu, Fuji and
Norikura, and the 3,000 meter-class Japan Alps Mountains on the west.
Nagano has both a high and severe mountain region as well as a more
moderate stretch of highlands. In the summer it becomes a flower
paradise with blooming alpine plants of various kinds. The natural
beauty here is grand and fragile. In the winter ski resorts open in
various places throughout the prefecture and many skiers visit.
The line of tourists does not seem to end throughout the year. They
visit scenic spots like Jyoestu Kogen National Park, which has Mt.
Asama and Mt. Yokote , Minami Alps National Park, and Chubu Sangakau
National Park. They also visit Karuizawa, which is one of the most
famous summer resorts in Japan, and Zenko-ji Temple in Nagano City,
which hosted the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, as well as Ueda, and
Matsumoto cities, which prospered as castle cities. Famous hot springs
include Nozawa onsen, and Shibu onsen known for bathing monkeys in the
rock bathes at Jigokudani Yaen Koen (Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park).
About 1 hour 45 minutes from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station by JR
Nagano Shinkansen Line. About 1 hour from Shin Osaka Station to Nagoya
Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and about 2 hours 47 minutes
from Nagoya Station to Nagano Station by JR Chuo Honsen Line.
Developed as a Zenko-ji Temple town. The site of the Nagano Winter
Nagano in the northern part of Nagano Prefecture is located at
the basin of Chikuma-gawa River that runs through Zenko-ji Daira.
It developed as a temple town of Zenko-ji Temple that is said to
have been built at the beginning of the 7th century. Chuo Dori
Street, which stretches from Nagano Station North Square, is Omote
Sando, the front approach to Zenko-ji Temple, and is now the
largest shopping mall in the city. Omote Sando was renovated at
the time of the Nagano Olympics in 1998, and it is lined with
buildings in both Japanese and western architectural styles
arranged in a modern manner. Along the street you can see mini
street-corner museums that are part of shops, such as the Fire
Fighters' Museum that exhibits pumps and fire-resistant clothes,
the Clock Museum that exhibits old clocks from all over the world,
and the Glass Museum at which you can see various kinds of lamps
and glass products.
Inside the ice skating rink M-Wave, that was one of the venues for
the Winter Olympics, is the Nagano Olympics Museum where you can
try to bobsled on a bobsled simulation machine. Kawanaka-jima War
Field, which left many episodes during the age of civil wars in
the 16th century, is maintained as Hachiman-para Historical Park.
About 1 hour 40 minutes from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station by JR
Nagano Shinkansen Line. About 2 hours 30 minutes from Shin Osaka
Station to Tokyo Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line.
Zenko-ji Temple is the main tourist spot in Nagano
Experience the ordination designed to grant priests with
Zenko-ji Temple, said to have been built in the early 7th
century, never sees the end of a line of visitors and is the main
tourist spot in Nagano. Go through the Great Outer Gate and Deva
Gate and you will see the Temple Gate, about 20 meters high, at
the end of the approach. This Gate is designated as an important
cultural asset. The main temple has two layers of roofs thatched
with layers of cypress bark, and the characters for Zenko-ji
Temple bore on the very front of this roof are known to have every
stroke of the characters assuming the shape of doves.
Further behind the Temple Gate is the main temple designated as a
national treasure. It was rebuilt in 1707 and is the third largest
wooden architecture in Japan. In the altar is the Amitabha
Tathagata statue that is normally not open to the public but every
seven years Zenritsu Honzon, which is the alter ego, is made open
to the public. At other times you make indirect contacts with the
sealed statue. Right underneath the altar is a dark tunnel where
you can experience going through the ordination platform designed
to grant priests with commandments, and try to find and touch the
key said to be that of paradise. Here you can meet many deities
including Nure Botoke, which is said to protect children.
About 1 hour 40 minutes from Tokyo Station to Nagano Station
by JR Nagano Shinkansen Line. About 2 hours 30 minutes from Shin
Osaka Station to Tokyo Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line.
Asama-osen Hot Spring
Gateway to Utsukushi-ga-hara, Asumino and Kamikochi Heights
Parade with 100 torches in a hot spring town
Asama-osen Hot Spring is located in eastern Matsumoto at the
center of Nagano, and is one of the most popular hot springs in
Nagano. This hot spring is said to be effective in curing rheumatic
diseases, gastronomical troubles and external wounds. Only the
feudal lords residing in Matsumoto Castle, built around 400 years
ago, used to be entitled to use this hot spring. Today it is the
gateway to Utsukushi-ga-hara, Azumino and Kamikochi Heights as well
as to climbing the Northern Japan Alps.
The Asama hot spring center, called Hot Plaza Hall, is where you can
enjoy 7 variations of baths including an air bubble bath in which
air bubbles stir the bath water and a falling bath in which you are
doused with falling hot spring water that massages you. There is
also another public bathhouse called Yuyuan-Biwa where you can enjoy
open-air baths. In addition, you can buy a ticket and use the
elaborately designed hot spring baths to your heart's content
without having to stay overnight. The Asama Onsen International
Skating Center offers you the pleasure of skating as well.
The Onsha jinja Shrine celebrates the Torch Festival every autumn. A
parade marches through the town holding over 100 torches. The larger
torches may be as big as 2 meters in diameter and 3 meters long.
Visitors can join in, either carrying the torches or pulling the
Take a limited express train on JR Chuo Main Line for 2 hours
and 38 minutes from Shinjuku Station (in Tokyo) to Matsumoto
Station. If you are coming from Osaka Station, take JR Tokaido
Shinkansen Line and a limited express train on Chuo Main Line for 3
hours from Shin-Osaka Station to Matsumoto Station. Take a bus for
20 minutes from Matsumoto Station to Asama Onsen Kaikan.
Bessho Hot Spring and Ueda
Ueda Castle provides a sense of Japan's civil war era
Bessho Hot Spring, where you can try out all sorts of hot springs
Ueda is a castle town in the marshlands of eastern Nagano, and
is situated on Chikuma-gawa River, which runs quietly through the
town. The town was built around Ueda Castle, which was constructed
in the sixteenth century by the military commander Sanada Masayuki.
In the remains of Ueda Castle, three turrets and the Higashi
Toraguchi Yagura-Mon (turret gate) have been restored, and along
with the stonewalls they provide even today a sense of Japan's civil
Walls covered with square tiles (arranged in a lattice pattern and
joined with raised plaster) and the pure white storehouse walls of
the merchant houses give the feeling of having traveled several
hundred years back in time. Also, Ueda prospered from the 1910s in
the silk industry, producing silkworms and silkworm eggs, and is now
known for specialty traditional fabric products Ueda Tsumugi.
In the southeast of Ueda basin is Bessho-onsen Hot Spring, which is
said to have been discovered over 1,000 years ago. It contains hot
springs each with its own individual charm, which can be enjoyed by
anyone no matter where they are staying. These include Ishi-yu, O-yu,
Daishi-yu, Aoino-yu. There are also many historic cultural
monuments, such as the three-tiered pagoda in Zenzan-ji temple, and
in the center of town, Kitamuki-kannon and Anraku-ji temple, which
has a three-tiered octagonal pagoda that has been designated a
national treasure. Banners designated as intangible national
treasures are also well known because they feature in the annual
rain festival, a strange festival held every summer.
Ueda Station is 1 hour 13 minutes from Tokyo by JR Nagano
Shinkansen Line. Bessho-onsen Station is 27 minutes from Ueda
Station by Ueda Kotsu Bessho Line.
A mountain range left with geographical features of the Ice Age
A ropeway with a 950-meter difference in altitude
Central Alps is synonymous with Kiso Mountains that stretches
from the southwestern part of Nagano to the border of Gifu and
Aichi. The principal peak that runs from northeast to southwest for
80 km is the 2,956 meter-high Mt. Komagatake (also known as Mt.
Kiso-Komagatake), and it has many points worthy of note including
Nou-ga-ike Pond, a treasure box of rare species of flowers situated
in the northeastern part of the summit, as well as parts of the
slope on the southeast called Senjojiki Cirque that was scooped out
by a glacier. The mountain range consists of 2,000 meter-high
mountains but it is relatively easy to climb, and day trip routes
are possible as well.
You can climb up from Komagane Heights at the eastern foot of Mt.
Komagatake to the Senjojiki Cirque by ropeway from Shirabi Daira.
The ropeway takes you up a distance of 950 meters in 7 minutes 30
seconds to the top station, and from there you can enjoy hiking on a
looped course of about 50 minutes.
Also at Komagane Heights is Komagane Heights Museum that exhibits
art of distinct characteristics by artists such as Masuo Ikeda, old
temples surrounded by 100-year old giant cedars and Kozen-ji Temple
with a garden of miniature hills and lakes.
About 2 hours and 20 minutes from Shinjuku Station (Tokyo) to
Okaya Station by JR Chuo Honsen Limited Express. About one hour 10
minutes from Okaya Station to Kamagane Station by JR Iida Line.
About 1 hour 50 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Toyohashi Station
by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. About 3 hours 40 minutes from
Toyohashi Station to Komagane Station by JR Iida Line.
Hakuba and Azumino
Enjoy skiing and trekking throughout the year
A magnificent view of the Northern Japan Alps
Hakuba is a highland resort that stretches out from the foot of
Hakuba Sanzan Mountains in northwestern Nagano where you can enjoy
skiing, trekking and all kinds of other sports throughout the year.
The magnificent view of the Northern Japan Alps and other mountains
is the most recommended feature of this area. There is a 6km long
Happo-one Natural Study Path, a popular easy trekking course. A
ropeway and lift run throughout the year, offering the attractive
aerial walk looking down on the sea of trees.
Azumino is situated in the mid and upstream areas of the Azusa-gawa
River to the south of Hakuba. It is a pastoral area that stretches
to the north of the Matsumoto Basin. The greenery of the pastures
and the remaining snow in the Northern Japan Alps form a nice,
peaceful sight. Azumino is also characterized by many rivers that
flow with snow water. The Daio horseradish farm, the largest farm in
Azumino, takes full advantage of this natural gift and produces high
quality horseradishes that grow only in clean, pure water. Another
symbol of Azumino is the Rokuzan Museum, an ivied church-like
Take a limited express on JR Chuo Main Line from Shinjuku
Station (in Tokyo) for 2 hours and 40 minutes to Matsumoto Station,
then take a limited express on JR Oito Line for 55 minutes from
Matsumsoto Station to Hakuba Station. If you are going to Azumino,
take JR Oito Line for 26 minutes from Matsumoto Station to Hodaka
excellent choice of outdoor sports such as paragliding and canoeing
A park renowned for its 2,000 cherry trees and 1,000 azaleas
Ina, in the south of Nagano, is located between the mountainous
regions of Ina in the east and Kiso in the west, along the upper
reaches of the Tenryu-gawa River. The city prospered for many
centuries as the main settlement along the Ina-kaido or Ina Route,
an important thoroughfare.
Kasuga Park is situated on the small hill overlooking the city. The
park, which contains the ruins of the Kasuga Castle, is renowned for
its flowers with around 2,000 cherry trees and 1,000 azaleas.
Miharashi Farm at the Habiro Agricultural Park is a farm where
visitors can enjoy strawberry picking, and the enormous 120,000 sq.
meter site also includes public hot spring facilities and lodgings.
Visitors can also experience first-hand bamboo processing, vegetable
dyeing, weaving, and the art of making soba (buckwheat noodles).
Near the farm is the Hatobuki-yama Paraglider School where you can
experience the thrill of paragliding, as well as a canoeing school,
and mountain bike rental shops. For something a little different,
try driving a go-cart or mini-bike at Rally-Kids Ina.
Approximately 2 hours 20 minutes to Okaya Station from Shinjuku
Station by JR Chuo Honsen Line Limited Express, and 45 minutes from
Okaya Station to Ina Station by JR Iida Line.
One of the most scenic spots in Japan
Vast virgin forests of birch trees and Japanese larch trees
Kamikochi is a small basin, 1,500 meters above sea level on the
upper stream area of Azusa-gawa River, which runs through the
western part of Nagano. The Hodaka Mountains, Yake-dake Mountains
and Jonen Mountains surround Kamikochi. It was Walter Weston, a
British missionary and mountain climber who introduced this place to
the world in the 19th century and since then many climbers have come
to know about this place. Kamikochi is one of the most scenic spots
in Japan and belongs to Chubu-sangaku National Park.
The whole area is covered with virgin forests of birches, Japanese
larch trees and Japanese hemlocks. Taisho-ike Pond, Tashiro-ike Pond
and Myojin-ike Pond are scattered in the forest and produce a
beautiful landscape by reflecting the high-rising mountain peaks.
Taisho-ike Pond presents a very special scene. In the early 20th
century, Mt. Yake-dake erupted and dammed Azusa-gawa River to form
Taisho-ike Pond, where trees stand decayed in the blue water. The
young leaves of birch trees are so beautiful in June that they are
called "light green mist", and attract many tourists. The foliage is
at its peak in October and many visitors come to admire their
beauty. The wooden suspension bridge on Azusa-gawa River, Kappa-bashi
Bridge, 36.6 meters long and 3.1 meter wide, is the symbol of
Kamikochi. With Hodaka Mountains rising in front and Mt. Yake-dake
in the south billowing white smoke, Kappa-bashi is known as one of
the most scenic spots in Kamikochi.
From Shinjuku Station, 2 hours 40 minutes by JR Chuo Honsen
Limited Express to Matsumoto Station. From Matsumoto Station, 30
minutes to Shin-shimashima Station by Matsumoto Dentetsu Line. The
bus from Shin-shimashima Station to Kamikochi takes 1 hour 7
Highlands covered with larches and white birches
A popular summer resort with a cool climate
Karuizawa is situated at the foot of Mt. Asama in southeastern
Nagano. It is on a plateau with an altitude of 1,000m and surrounded
by Mt. Asama, Mt. Hanamagari and Usui-toge Pass. It has thrived as
the most popular international summer resort in Japan since the late
19th century because of its cool summer and the breezy environment
with many larches and birches.
Yagasaki Park, with an area of 46,000m, is in front of Karuizawa
Station. It is the place for relaxation for the residents. Mikasa
Hotel stands on Mikasa-dori Street that runs straight to the north
of the station. In the Karuizawa Ginza, restaurants, coffee shops,
boutiques and fashion goods shops stand side by side, making
Karuizawa a fashionable resort for young people.
There are several rent-a-cycle shops around the station. Many
visitors enjoy cycling through the woods to immerse themselves in
the forest air. Camping grounds, tennis courts, skating rinks, golf
courses and many other tourist attractions are well maintained in
the surrounding area. There is also Shiotsubo hot spring and Hoshino
hot spring so visitors can enjoy this summer resort through all the
Take JR Joetsu Nagano Shinkansen Line for 1 hour and 20 minutes
from Tokyo Station to Karuizawa Station. If you are coming from
Osaka, take JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line for 2 hours and 30 minutes
from Shin-Osaka Station to Tokyo Station.
valley area is one of the most beautiful wooded areas in Japan
Beautiful old houses are restored along the stone-paved sloping
Kiso is located on the upper reaches of the Kiso-gawa River that
is at the border of Gifu and Nagano, and the whole valley area is
counted as one of the most beautiful woods in Japan. Surrounded by
steep mountains, Kiso-ji is a highway, which developed as a point of
transportation that connected Edo (today's Tokyo) and Kyoto. In
Magome-juku at the mouth of Kiso-ji there remains old rows of houses
with lattice along stone-paved sloping roads. In order to avoid
ruining the town's Edo-era look of almost 300 years ago, all
overhead power-lines and cables etc are laid underground so that
they cannot be seen.
Beyond the 801m high point on a mountain road, you will reach
Tsumago-jyuku. The town suffered a temporary decline because of
fires, however, the campaign for preserving the town has been going
on since 1968 and it has helped to restore the town to its original
state. It is now registered as one of the Japan's most important
traditional building conservation areas. The Bunka-Bunsei-Fusoku-Emaki-Gyoretsu
that is held in Tsumago every autumn is the big parade where people
dress up themselves in costumes from the Bunsei period of late
Edo-era in 19th century.
By JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line for 1 hour and 50 minutes from
Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station. By JR Chuo Main Line for 50 minutes
from Nagoya Station to Nakatsugawa Station. By bus for 30 minutes
from Nakatsugawa Station to Magome.
View the breathtaking view of Japan's deepest valley
An exciting trolley ride that goes through 41 tunnels and over 25
Kurobe Valley is located in the eastern part of Toyama and lies
between Tateyama Mountains and Ushiro-Tateyama Mountains. It is the
deepest valley in the whole country. If you take the trolley ride
you can view the beauty of the canyon between Unazuki-Onsen Station
and Keyaki-daira Station. The trolley ride takes 1 hour and 20
minutes for the distance of 20.1 km and includes going through 41
tunnels and over 25 bridges. One of the bridges is called
Atobiki-kyo, which lies over the deepest part of the valley, and is
55 m long and 56 m high. The view from this bridge is one of the
best in this area.
There are many hot springs along the trolley route such as the
Kuronagi-onsen, Kanetsuri-onsen and Meiken-onsen Hot Springs and
these supply water to Unazuki-onsen Hot Spring. You can get off the
trolley at any one of those springs and enjoy the spa.
Kanetsuri-onsen Hot Spring is known for distinctive characteristic
that you can dig anywhere along the Kurobe-gawa River and have hot
spring water so that you can indulge yourself in your own private
spa, anytime and anywhere.
If you take a 1 km walk from Keyaki-daira Station, the last stop of
the trolley route, you will see Kurobe-gawa River from the
precipitous cliff called Sarutobi-kyo Valley. Also there is also
Yamagoya-Babatani-onsen Hot Spring in the surroundings where you can
relax and have a rest.
By JR Jyoetsu Shinkansen Line from Tokyo Station to
Echigo-yuzawa Station, then to Toyama Station for a total time of 4
hours and 30 minutes. From Osaka, by JR Hokuriku Main Line for 3
hours and 10 minutes from Osaka station. By Toyama Chiho Tetsudo
Honsen Line Limited Express for 1 hour from Dentetsu Toyama Station
to Unazuki Onsen Station. From there, walk for 3 minutes to Kurobe
Kyokoku Tetsudo Unazuki Station.
Lake Shirakaba-ko and Yatsugatake
The highland area has many ateliers and museums
A teddy bear museum with over 5,000 teddy bears from all over the
Lake Shirakaba-ko is an artificial lake that is up to 9 meters
deep and 1,416 meters above sea level. It is located at the western
foot of Mt. Tateshina in the northern part of Chino, Nagano
Prefecture and belongs to Yatsugatake Chushin Kogen Quasi National
Park. On the surface of the lake between Mt. Kirigamine and Mt.
Tateshina are tour boats and pedal boats. You can enjoy cycling
around the roads on the lakeside, and there are camping grounds and
skating rinks in the vicinity. On the eastern side of the lake is
Lake Shirakaba-ko Family Land, which has leisure facilities such as
Luna Park, a heated swimming pool, hot springs that you can go in
with a swimming costume on, a museum and a forest railroad.
Yatsugatake is a chain of mountains on the southeastern side of Lake
Shirakaba-ko. There are many climbing routes set up along the
moderate slopes of the mountains covered with forests, and with the
help of convenient transportation routes from the metropolitan area,
many climbers visit Yatsugatake. The foot of Yatsugateke is known as
an area where artists such as painters and sculptors gather and the
area is dotted with hard-core museums such as Yatsugatake Art
Museum, Ito Modern Art Museum and Rene Lalique Museum as well as
other unique museums, ateliers, and galleries. The Tateshina Teddy
Bear Museum in Suwa has over 5,000 teddy bears from all over the
world and is a popular tourists spot among adults, too.
Lake Shirakaba: About 2 hours 15 minutes from Shinjuku Station
(Tokyo) to Chino Station by JR Chuo Honsen Limited Express. About 50
minutes from Chino Station to Minami Shirakaba-ko by bus.
Yatsugatake: About 2 hours from Shinjuku Station to Kobuchizawa
Station by JR Chuo Honsen Limited Express, and about 25 minutes from
Kobuchizawa Station to Kiyosato Station by JR Koumi Line.
Suwa: About 2 hours 20 minutes from Shinjuku Station to Kami Suwa
Station by JR Chuo Honsen Limited Express.
One of the world's largest geysers is a splendid sight at the
Frozen water fishing is a seasonal scene during the winter
Lake Suwa-ko is situated almost right in the center of Nagano.
It is the largest lake in the prefecture with the altitude of 759
meters and circumference of16.2 km. In the winter when the lake
surface freezes, you will see people frozen fishing for pond smelts
alongside ice skaters, adding poetic charm to the season. Also, when
they have 10 or more of days with a temperature below minus 10
degrees Celsius, as a result of the contraction and expansion of
ice, you can hear a loud noise as cracks on the lake surface appear
and the ice on the surface rises by about a meter. This very rare
phenomenon is called Omiwatari (God's Cross/Passage).
At Lake Suwa-ko Geyser Center, which faces the Lake, you can see a
geyser that spouts water up to about 40 to 50 meters high every
hour. It is one of the biggest geysers in the world. In the Center
there is also an indoor pool and an exhibit of Omiwatari Georama.
Suwa-taisha Shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Japan with more
than 10,000 branches. The Shrine consists of two shrines, the Kami
Suwa (Upper Shrine) and the Shimo Suwa (Lower Shrine). The gods
enshrined in Suwa Shrine are of chivalry, farming, hunting and wind,
and it has many believers. Every six years in spring
Ombashira-matsuri Festival is held. It is a dynamic festival during
which four large timbers for the four corners of the Shrine are cut
down from a mountain, slid from atop a 30-degree hillside on which
Ujiko climb up to roll down.
About 2 hours 20 minutes from Shinjuku Station (Tokyo) to Kami
Suwa Station by JR Chuo Honsen Tokkyu Limited Express. About 20
minutes from Kami Suwa Station to Shimo Suwa Station.
A castle town with Japan's oldest donjon
A Japanese drum summer festival is held in the castle
Matsumoto, situated almost right in the center of Nagano and
known as the gate to the North Alps' climbing routes prospered as a
castle town at the foot of Matsumoto Castle. The Castle's donjon
that was built in 1615 is Japan's oldest existing donjon and is
designated as a national treasure. In the summer, Taiko (Japanese
drums) Festival and Takigi No (No-play under torchlight) are held in
the castle and attract many visitors.
Along the Nakamachi Dori Street on the south of the castle are many
old merchant houses built in the old godown style and warehouses
built with walls covered with square tiles jointed with raised
plaster. Matsumoto-shi Hakari Kan is a former warehouse of the
Tanakas, a weights and measures shop that was established in 1902,
and exhibits a collection of measuring tools. The former Kaichi
School building is a western style building built in 1876 and is
open to the public as an education museum. The large, green
Shiroyama Park, at an altitude of 800 meters, is where Dejiro the
guarding branch castle for Matsumoto Castle used to be. The view of
North Alps from the park is beautiful, and it is a famous cherry
blossom spot in the spring. The neighboring Matsumoto City Alps Park
has popular field athletic facilities, as well as the 995 meter-long
About 2 hours 40 minutes from Shinjuku Station (Tokyo) to
Matsumoto Station by JR Chuo Honsen Limited Express. About 51
minutes from Shin Osaka Station to Nagoya Station by JR Tokaido
Shinkansen Line, and about 2 hours from Nagoya Station to Matsumoto
Station by JR Chuo Honsen Limited Express.
Spring and Mt. Tanigawa
A hot spring resort where you can also enjoy numerous outdoor sports
Minakami-onsen (hot spring resort), located in the northern part
of Gumma, is said to have been found in around 16th century and is a
generic term for Minakami, Yubiso, Tanigawa, Unose, Takaragawa, and
Minakami-cho, which includes Minakami Onsen, commands fine views of
Mt. Tanigawa, Mt. Hotaka, Mt. Shibutsu. The town has several scenic
spots such as Lake Fujiwara-ko, Lake Togen-ko, and Lake Okutone-ko.
The town is also known for its skiing grounds such as Tenjindaira
slopes. You can also enjoy outdoor sports like rafting. Mt. Tanigawa
is a mountain located in the northwestern part of Gumma, on the
border with Niigata. The mountain belongs to Jyoshinetsu Heights
National Park. It consists of two peaks, Tomano-mimi and Okino-mini,
also called the two mimis (two ears). It is also known as the lowest
mountain in Honshuu that keeps perpetual snow. It takes about 10
minutes to cover the 2.3 kilometers between Tanigawa-Doaiguchi and
Tenjindaira, 1,321 meters above sea level, by the Tanigawadake
Ropeway. The grandeur of the Tanigawa Mountains enjoyed from the
window of the ropeway car never fails to fascinate.
Jyomo Heights is about 1 hour 20 minuets from Tokyo Station by
the JR Jyoetsu Shinkansen Line. Then take a bus from Jyomo Heights
to Minakami Onsen, which takes about 10 minutes. In order to get to
Mt. Tanigawa, take another bus from Jyomo Heights to Tanigawa
Ropeway, which takes about 55 minutes. Tokyo Station is about 2
hours 30 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station by the JR Tokaido
A plateau surrounded by white birch, plum and larch trees
The drinkable hot spring water is good for all sorts of ailments
Norikura is a plateau around Nagano's western border with Gifu.
It ranges in height from 1,400 to 1,500 m, and is surrounded by
white birch, plum and larch trees. Mt. Norikura-dake near the
plateau contains Ushidome Pond, which was formed by a volcanic
eruption. It is surrounded by evergreen trees, and its surface
reflects their green leaves and the 23 peaks of Mt. Norikura-dake.
In Ichinose Pasture, located almost in the middle of Norikura
Plateau, dairy cows are put out to graze from early summer till the
autumn. There are lots of walks to enjoy around the pond. The time
required for them ranges from 40 Minutes to 1 Hour 20 Minutes. On
the walking course near Zengoro-no-taki Fall, you can go near enough
to the waterfall to be showered by spray.
Shirahone-onsen Hot Spring in the north of Norikura is said to have
been opened about 600 years ago. The hot water is milky and contains
pure hydrogen sulfide. It is drinkable and retains heat, making it
good for ailments of the stomach and intestines.
Matsumoto is 2 hours 40 minutes from Shinjuku Station by Limited
Express by JR Chuo Honsen Line. It takes 30 minutes by the Matsumoto
Dentetsu Kamikochi Line to get from Matsumoto Station to Shin-shimashima
Station. A Matsumoto Dentetsu bus takes 40 minutes from Shin-shimashima
Station to Odakimae or 55 minutes to Shirahone-onsen Hot Spring.Z
From spring to autumn there are more than 500 types of alpine plants
A popular location for skiing and other winter sports
Shiga-kogen Heights is in the northeastern part of Nagano.
Formed by volcanic activity, it has a mountainous landscape and is
studded with more than 70 ponds and marshes. From spring to autumn,
more than 500 types of alpine plants bloom in the area, creating an
Visitors can experience Shiga-kogen's natural wonders first-hand at
the Higashi-Tateyama-kogen-shokubutsuen (Alpine Plant Park), whose
most noteworthy attractions include orange-yellow day lilies that
bloom from mid to late July. Another local attraction is the
Yokoteyama Observation Deck, which at 2,305 meters above sea level
is Shiga-kogen's highest point. Accessible in about 10 Minutes using
a skylator and the Natsuyama Lift, it affords views of Shiga Kogen,
the Kusatsu Hot Spring area, the Northern Alps, and even Mt. Fuji.
Thanks partly to the 1998 Winter Olympics, Shiga-kogen Heights are
also known as a venue for skiing and other winter sports. The nearby
Yudanaka-onsen, Shibu-onsen, and Oku-shiga-onsen Hot Springs are
perfect places for tired visitors to relax after sports, nature
walks, and other activities.
The Oku-shiga-kogen bus stop is about 1 Hour and 10 Minutes from
Yudanaka Station by Nagano Railway Bus. Yudanaka Station is about 40
Minutes from Nagano Station by Limited Express on the Nagano
Dentetsu Line. Nagano Station is about 1 Hour and 55 Minutes from
Tokyo Station on the JR Nagano Shinkansen Line.
The 1,500 small, reddish cherry blossoms are illuminated at night
The town's oldest merchant's residence is open to the public as a
Takato is located in the Ina Basin along the Fujisawa-gawa
River, a tributary of the Mibu-gawa River, and Yamamuro-gawa River
in the northwestern Ina Mountains in southeastern Nagano. It is
surrounded by mountains of the Central Japan Alps on all sides and
was a castle town of the feudal lord Naito from the end of the 17th
century to the end of the 19th century.
Although only the stonewalls and fences of Naito's castle remain
today the site was transformed into the Takato Castle Ruin Park.
There are over 1,500 Kohigan-Zakura cherry trees in the park. Their
blossoms are smaller and more reddish than typical cherry blossoms,
and they are designated as a precious natural property of the
prefecture. When they bloom, the blossoms are illuminated at night,
and the park becomes crowded with people who enjoy the beautiful
Inside Takato, the town's oldest merchant's residence is open to
public as the Ikegami Residence Merchant Folk Material Museum. The
Takato Local History Museum stands at the side of Lake Takato-ko,
displaying the palanquins used in the Toro Matsuri, or garden
lantern festival celebrated in autumn. Within the museum, there is a
historic site called Ejima-Kakomi Yashiki, the residence of an
exiled high ranked lady Ejima who had served a Shogun's wife. This
residence has a restored living room, bathroom, lavatory and wooden
fence of the Edo Period in the 18th century.
Take a limited express on JR Chuo Main Line and Iida Line from
Shinjuku Station (in Tokyo) to Inashi Station via Okaya Station. It
takes 2 hours and 55 minutes. If you are coming from Osaka, take JR
Tokaido Shinkansen Line for 2 hours and 30 minutes from Shin-Osaka
Station to Tokyo Station, and then take JR Chuo Line for 14 minutes
from Tokyo Station to Shinjuku Station.
Enjoy the beautiful mountain route through all seasons
Kurobe Dam is the highest dam in the country
Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route has a distance of 86 km and goes
from Tateyama Station on the Toyama Chiho Tetsudo line to Nagano
Ogisawa, by a combination of bus, cable car, and ropeway. This route
was started as a transportation route to construct the Kurobe-gawa
River No. 4 electric power plant, and was opened in 1972.
Tateyama was known as disciplined place for religious believers.
Jigoku-dani Valley is the area where you will notice the strong
smell of sulfur. There are no trees or plants here. Moreover there
is Mikuriga-ike Pond, which is the largest crater lake in Tateyama.
Also, there are areas where you can see snow covered mountains even
during the summer time. Mountaineers and tourists will visit in the
season of fresh green to the season of tinted autumnal leaves.
Kurobe Dam is built at the upper stream of Kurobe-gawa River with a
capacity of 200 million tons of water and at a height of 186 m. The
dam is formed in the shape of an arch and the scene as water drains
is exciting and insatiable. On the way to the Alpine-route, there
are many scenic spots such as the Akushiro-no-kabe rock, Syomyo-daki
Falls and also Murodo where a spring of 2-5 degrees Celsius gushes
out even in summer.
By JR Joetsu Shinkansen Line from Tokyo Station to Echigo-yuzawa
Station, change there and on to Toyama for a total journey time of 4
hours and 30 minutes. From Osaka, by JR Hokuriku Main Line for 3
hours and 10 minutes from Osaka Station to Toyama Station. Then by
Toyama Chiho Tetsudo Tateyama Line for 2 hours from Dentetsu Toyama
Station to Tateyama Station.
Boating down the Valley lined with keen-cut cliffs and huge rocks
The captain catches river fish, which he grills on the boat for the
Tenryu-kyo Valley is situated on the southern tip of Ina Basin
in Nagano and is a transverse valley that cuts its way through Ina
Mountains. You can enjoy its picturesque scenery by going down the
valley by boat, with chains of dynamic cliffs like Eboshi Iwa and
Ryukaho on both sides. Tenryu Kudari is boating down the stream from
Benten Port near Ina Yawata Station on the Iida Line. You can enjoy
the nature to your heart's content on this rapid stream going over
difficult points such as Garyu-kyo Valley, sometimes getting wet
with splashes of water. It takes about 1 hour to the final
destination, Tenryu-kyo Port near Tenryu-kyo Station. The vicinity
is famous for azaleas and cherry trees and its autumn leaves are
also beautiful, and attract many visitors.
An approximately 50-minute Tenryu Rhine Kudari is also available
from Tenryu-kyo Port going slowly down along the calm stream. The
boat captain throws a net into the stream to catch river fish, which
he then grills on the boat to serve to the customers. You can enjoy
the beauty of Tenryu-gawa River from Koya-kyo Bridge near Tenryu
Station as well as the hanging bridge, Tsutsuji-bashi Bridge, about
500 meters down from Koya-kyo Bridge.
About 2 hours 20 minutes from Shinjuku Station (Tokyo) to Okaya
Station by JR Chuo Honsen Limited Express. About 2 hours 50 minutes
from Okaya Station to Ina Yawata Station by JR Iida Line. About 3
hours 5 minutes to Tenryu-kyo Station. About 1 hour 50 minutes from
Shin Osaka Station to Toyohashi Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen
Line. About 2 hours 40 minutes from Toyohashi Station to Tenryu-kyo
Station by JR Iida Line and about 3 hours to Ina Yawata Station.
Togakushi and Kurohime
A performance of traditional sacred music and dancing
The Fairy Tale Museum collects fairy tales from all over the world
Tokakushi Heights is situated in the north of Nagano within the
Joshinetsu National Park. This volcanic area has an altitude of
1,200m and is located in the foot of the two volcanoes, Togakushi
and Iizuna. In the midst of a wood with cedar trees that are over
100 years old, there stands the Togakushi-jinja Shrine. You can see
Kagura, a performance of traditional sacred music and dancing with
themes selected from myths at the grand festival in autumn.
Togakushi is also noted for the production of buckwheat noodles and
Kurohime Heights spreads to the southeast of Mt. Kurohime, situated
near the border of Niigata and known as Shinano-Fuji. It is a
popular summer resort with larch and birch woods and skiing in
winter. Around the area named a forest of fairy tales, there is the
Kurohime Fairy Tale Museum that collects fairy tales from all over
the world, as well as the Oike Pond, Nanatsuike Pond and other
volcanic crater lakes, cosmos fields and cattle grazing fields. The
Lake Nojiri-ko at the eastern foot of Mt. Kurohime gained sudden
eager attention when fossils of an Elephas Naumanni were discovered
from the lakebed. You can see the fossils and other excavated
articles in the Nojiri-ko Museum.
Take JR Joetsu and Nagano Shinkansen Line for 1 hour and 55
minutes from Tokyo Station to Nagano. Take a bus for 1 hour from
Nagano Station to Togakushi Chusha. If you are going to the Kurohime
Heights and Lake Nojiri-ko, take the JR Shinetsu Main Line for 25
minutes from Nagano Station to Kurohime Station.
A 360-degree panoramic view of the surrounding mountains
An open-air exhibition hall where sculptures are permanently
The Utsukushi-ga-hara Heights is located at the center of
Nagano, in the north of Yatsugatake Chuushin Kogen Quasi-National
Park. It is a tableland of a lava plateau that extends in the
highlands with the altitude of 2,000m. There are few rises and
falls, and it covers Matsumoto, Takeishi-mura and Wada-mura.
The view from Ogato, the highest spot of the Utsukusi-ga-hara
Heights is magnificent. You can overlook the Northern, Central and
Southern Japan Alps, as well as the Yatsugatake Mountains, Mt. Fuji
and Mt. Asama, and enjoy its 360 degree panoramic scenery.
Cows graze freely in the Utsukushi-ga-hara Kogen Farm with an area
of 4 million sq. meters offers a peaceful, pastoral scene in summer.
Other attractions are the open-air museum on the eastern slope of
the 1,990m high Mt. Ushifuse and the Utsukushi-ga-hara Kogen Art
Museum. The entire area of 133,000 sq. meters is crowded with milk
vetch azaleas and gypsy roses and there is an open-air exhibition
hall where around 400 pieces of sculptures are permanently
displayed. In the Children's Art Museum in the premise, you can
directly touch the art objects.
Take a limited express on JR Chuo Main Line for 2 hours and 40
minutes from Shinjuku (in Tokyo) to Matsumoto. Take a bus for 1 hour
and 30 minutes from Matsumoto Station to Utsukushi-ga-hara Art
Museum. Or take another bus from Matsumoto Station to
Utsukushi-ga-hara Heights. It takes 1 hour and 20 minutes.