[Nagano Prefecture Mail Magazine] Bringing You the Charms of Winter!

November 2nd, 2016

Nagano Prefectural Tourism Official Mail Magazine

November 2nd, 2016
Published by Nagano Prefecture Tourism Department Tourism Promotions Division
International Tourism Promotions Office

We send this mail magazine to those who have exchanged business cards with members of our office.

Good Afternoon, Everyone!

Thank you very much for reading the autumn edition of our official mail magazine. Now, we bring you our winter edition, from December to February, which is full of our recommended sightseeing information.

Nagano is 212km long from north to south, so the weather differs greatly from area to area. On the same day, Nagano city may be covered in fresh snow, Matsumoto may be cloudy, and the southern Ina valley may be sunny with blue skies. Each area of Nagano shows a different face of winter with its own scenery and activities. With majestic mountain views, white carpets of snow, and plenty of things to do outdoors, winter is certainly Nagano’s most charming season. With this mail magazine as your guide, enjoy the winter wonderland of Nagano!

Table of Contents

Special Feature: A Fun-filled Trip around Nagano’s Ski Resorts and Hot Springs

Play in a Winter Wonderland and Enjoy the Snow!

  • The Hakuba Valley

    This area is the most popular among Australian skiers and snowboarders. The scenery of the snowy mountains is incredibly beautiful. This was one of the arenas for the 1998 Winter Olympic Games and the ski jump used during the competitions still remains. Tourists can climb to the top and see it from the perspective of an Olympian at the starting gate.

    A direct bus connects Hakuba and Narita International Airport (from Dec. 19th to Mar. 8th) for convenient and easy access.

    Hakuba Village Tourism Commission
    Hakuba Valley Official Website (English)

    Direct Bus from Narita to Hakuba
    Alpico Narita-Hakuba Line Page

  • Shigakogen and Kita Shigakogen Areas

    These resorts offer some of the world’s best powder snow and are the most conveniently located to the Jigokudani snow monkeys. Shigakogen is composed of 19 different ski areas, all covered under the same pass! The views from Mt. Yokoteyama (2307m) on a clear day are amazing, and some days you can even see Mt. Fuji.
    More Information: Shigakogen Tourist Association (Japanese w/ Machine Translation)

  • Asama 2000 Park

    Asama 2000 Park is located in the center of the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park on the prefectural border between Nagano and Gunma. This area is just two hours away from Tokyo and boasts an altitude of 2,000m, top class among Japanese resorts. Due to this altitude, they enjoy stable powder snow and firm piste. Enjoy skiing in the great outdoors with a panoramic view of the Northern Japanese Alps.
    More Information: Information Sheet

Stroll through Winter Woods with Snowshoes

Walk through wide-open fields of fresh, fluffy snow and enjoy endless winter fun!

  • Nabekura Kogen’s Mori no Ie

    Nabekura Kogen is one of the areas of heaviest snowfall in the world. While at an altitude of only 550 meters, during the cold winter months it is covered in over 4 meters of snow. Nearby is Nabekura Kogen’s Mori no Ie, an outdoor experience facility with cottages for rent. You begin your snowshoe tour the moment you step out the door, and Mori no Ie runs guided tours for beginners and experienced snowshoers alike.
    More Information: Information Sheet

  • An invitation to a 2000m high natural hot spring lodge located in a whole other world!

    Only 2 hours from Tokyo! Journey to a snowy world illuminated by a bright, starry sky!
    More Information: Information Sheet

  • Asama International Outdoors and Nature School

    In Takamine Kogen there are courses through the forests and mountains that can be enjoyed with snowshoes, whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned veteran. Enjoy the vast carpets of snow, frosty pines, powdery mountaintops and fresh animal tracks while walking in the great outdoors.
    Available languages: English
    More Information: Official Website

  • Kurumayama Kogen Ski Resort

    Nature guides offer tours of the area with wonderful views of the Yatsugatake and Japan alps ranges, from long tours through the snow plains of Kirigamine to shorter tours which include nature observation and tea breaks.
    Access: 50 minutes from the Suwa Minami IC exit, 40 minutes from the Suwa IC exit, 60 minutes from the Joshinetsu-do Saku IC exit.
    More Information: Official Website

  • Ontake Tanohara Nature Park

    Ride a gondola up to 2,240 meter heights. Enjoy snowshoeing in the sky on soft, fluffy snow.
    Address: Kiso-gun, Otaki-mura 3162
    Access: 100 minutes from the Ina IC exit, 120 minutes from the Nakatsugawa IC exit
    More Information: Ontake Adventures Website

Leisurely Strolls with Cross Country Skis

Glide over snowy fields and ski down gentle hills on cross country skis. Take a lunch with you and escape from town for a lovely picnic in the great outdoors.

  • Kurohime Kogen Fairytale Forest Snow Wave

    Run, walk, or ski through a winter wonderland while gazing at majestic mountain scenery. Cross-country ski and snowshoe rentals are available as well as changing facilities, etc.
    Address: Kamiminochi-gun, Shinano-machi, Kurohime Kogen
    Access: 15 minutes from the Joshinetsu-do Shinano-machi IC exit
    More Information: Official Website (Japanese)

  • Utsukushigahara Cross Country Ski Tour

    One of Japan’s top 100 mountains, Utsukushigahara is also a great place to view them. On a clear day, 42 of these famous mountains can be seen from the gently undulating plains of Utsukushigahara.
    Address: Chiisagata-gun, Nagawa-machi, Utsukushigahara 5101-1
    Access: 70 minutes from the Joshinetsu-do Tobu Yunomaru IC exit or Nagano-do Okaya IC exit.
    More Information: Official Page (Japanese)

Beginner-friendly Ski Resorts

  • Karuizawa Prince Hotel Ski Resort

    Just one hour from Tokyo via Shinkansen and located next to the station, this ski resort has unparalleled accessibility. The resort has a variety of courses for beginners, and next door is the prefecture’s largest outlet shopping mall. Very reasonable when paired with a stay at Prince Hotels!
    More Information: Information Sheet

  • Ina Ski Resort

    Free ski and snowboarding lessons are available to beginners, and the gentle slopes are also perfect for people just starting out. Night skiing is available every day. Restaurants can also accommodate vegetarian customers.
    More Information: Information Sheet

Legends of Nagano’s Famous Springs

Nagano prefecture is rich in both the nature and volume of its spring water, earning it second place in Japan for number of onsen areas, and first place for number of day-trip onsen facilities.

  • Kashio Onsen

    Located in Oshika-mura, a place blessed with splendid blue poppies in early summer and beautiful foliage in autumn. The spring is salty like the sea, and was discovered when deer were noticed drinking from it. It has been called “Kashio” since the Heain period.

    Yumoto Yamashiokan
    Official Website (Japanese)

    Official Website (Japanese)

  • Hayataro Onsen

    At the foot of the Central Alps where the Hayataro Onsen flows is the ancient temple Kozen-ji. A very long time ago, a Japanese wolf named Hayataro was kept there. Known for his strength, a traveling monk requested the wolf’s help in defeating an evil spirit haunting the Mitsuke Shrine in modern-day Shizuoka. The wolf exorcised the creature and saved countless villagers, and for this heroic deed Hayataro Onsen was named after it.

    Komakusa no Yu
    Official Website

    Komayu Kiso
    Official Page

    Shinshu Komagane Kogen Roten Kobushi no Yu
    Official Page

  • Kogen Onsen Kake no Yu

    This area was named Kake no Yu, or “Deer Spring,” for the deer that inhabit the area. You can enjoy Fujimi Kogen resort all season long. In winter there’s skiing, and in summer there’s golfing and hiking. Hori Tatsuo’s novel, Kaze Tachinu, was set in part in this area.
    More Information: Official Website

  • Hoshino Onsen Tonbo no Yu

    Hoshino Onsen was opened in the 4th year of the Taisho era (1915). Once, the Hoshino area was known for the number of dragonflies which lived here, a symbol of its wealth of nature.
    More Information: Official Page

  • Koma no Yu Onsen, Nukumori no Shuku, Koma no Yu

    This spring is at the base of Kisokomagatake. Its name originates from the the horse-like shapes that the snow make in winter. This iron-rich spring was also known to heal horses’ injuries.
    More Information: Official Website

  • Mimizuku no Yu

    Mimizuku means horned owl in Japanese, and the spring was named for the them because there were so many in the nearby forest. The spaciousness of the outdoor bath is especially attractive.
    More Information: Official Page (Japanese, English)

  • Maguse Onsen, Bokyo no Yu

    This onsen was named for the horses which climbed the mountain. Due to the steep slopes and winding roads, horses had to twist their bodies greatly to climb up or down. The bath of beautiful skin, or bihadayu, is popular with women.
    More Information: Official Website

Useful Information

Throughout Nagano prefecture, you can find a variety of festivals from fire festivals which drive away the cold to gorgeous festivals with endless, glittering lanterns. Why don’t you join in one of Nagano’s winter events?

  • Iiyama Kamakura Restaurant

    These small kamakura igloo huts are surprisingly warm despite the winter chill. Inside, you can enjoy a hot pot meal featuring locally-grown ingredients. Even if you’re not eating, the kamakura huts look phenomenal when lit up by candles.
    More Information: Information Sheet

  • Nozawa Dosojin Fire Festival

    One of Japan’s top 3 fire festivals, the Nozawa Dosojin Matsuri is celebrated on a grand scale. A group of local villagers attempts to protect a shrine from being burned, while another group attempts to burn it. The heated battle is overwhelming, and the event reaches its climax as the shrine finally catches on fire.
    More Information: Nozawa Official Tourism Website (Japanese)

  • 30-tiered Display of 1,000 Girl’s Day Dolls

    On March 3rd, Japanese families have a tradition of putting out dolls wearing traditional garments to pray for the healthy growth of their daughters. Here in Suzaka from January to April, you can see an exhibition of 6,000 dolls which have been collected over the course of several centuries. The titular display is the center piece of the exhibition.
    More Information: Information Sheet

  • Shimotsuki Matsuri

    This festival occurs in Tohyamago of Southern Nagano. Villagers dressed as myriad deities gather in the center of town where a large cauldron of water is being boiled. As they circle the pot they dance and the cauldron master splashes boiling water with his bare hands. This festival has been recognized nationally as an Important Intangible Cultural Property and served as inspiration for Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away.
    More Information: Official Page (Japanese)

Today’s Tweet

In mid-September I headed to Shiojiri, Nagano’s most famous grape producer, to pick a few of my own. For 500 yen I could pick as many grapes, pears, and prunes as I liked with no time limit! It was all so delicious and fresh, I thought about how glad I am to live in Nagano prefecture. Soon, it will be the season for picking plump, juicy apples as well!

The mornings and evenings have become quite cold, and in the gardens the smell of fragrant olive wafts through the air as crickets pounce from leaf to leaf, chirping rhythmically in the night. This calm autumn music soothes the soul and allows us to forget time. These little moments are reminiscent of a simpler time, and Nagano’s visitors are continually impressed by their nostalgic beauty.

Stay tuned for our spring edition which will cover the months of March to May!


We regularly update our page with seasonal sightseeing spots and information. Please take a look and give us a like!

Nagano Prefecture International Tourism Website Go! Nagano

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Nagano Prefecture Mail Magazine (Published Quaterly)
Editing: Nagano Prefecture Tourism Department
Tourism Promotions Division International Tourism Office
Tel: 026-235-7252 Fax: 026-235-7257
E-mail: go-nagano@pref.nagano.lg.jp
URL: http://www.go-nagano.net/

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