Welcome to a World-Class Resort! Introducing the Charms of Mountainous Nagano!

June 28th, 2017

The Great Outdoors will Change Your Life

Nagano prefecture is Japan’s No. 1 mountain resort with 15 mountains at heights of over 3,000m, five national parks and 3 quasi-national parks. Highlands expand under the bright blue sky, sunlight shines through the deep forests, mountains float above the clouds, and limitless stars paint the night sky.

This July to September, Nagano prefecture will be the target of one of the nation’s largest tourism campaigns. During this “Destination Campaign,” we would like to suggest four ways of enjoying a trip to Nagano that may change your life.

We hope that foreign visitors of Japan will also take note of Nagano, which has also received a lot of attention as a tourism destination domestically. The peoples and regions of Nagano Prefecture have come together to share Omotenashi (Japanese hospitality) with all of our guests.


We’re now providing the convenient Nagano Navi application which puts Nagano’s sightseeing and transportation information at your fingertips. Please use it during your trip to Nagano!

Four Great Ways to Enjoy Nagano

1. Healing

No. 1 in Japan for forest therapy courses and day-use hot spring facilities, Nagano is full of places that promote relaxation and healing. In moments of relief, your tired mind can re-energize and focus on what’s truly important.

Places of Healing in Nagano:

  • Akasawa Natural Recreation Park
    The Akasawa Natural Recreation Park is the origin of forest therapy in Japan. Enjoy trails along clear streams and through the beautiful woods of the Kiso Valley.
  • The Wooded Shrines of Togakushi
    Togakushi is located on a plateau above Nagano City and is home to five shrines that dot the wooded landscape. One of the most popular, the Okusha shrine, is a 30 minute hike from the main road and features a lane of 400-year-old cryptomeria trees.
  • Go! Nagano’s Hot Springs Page
    Soak away your worries in some of Nagano’s 100% natural mineral hot springs and enjoy the traditional atmosphere of an onsen town.
  • Go! Nagano’s Guide to Using Onsen Hot Springs
    Never been to a hot spring in Japan? Brush up on your onsen knowledge and find beginner-friendly hot spring facilities.
  • Kamikochi
    Kamikochi is the undisputed jewel of the Northern Japanese Alps. Enjoy virgin forests, clear streams, and majestic mountain views from its gentle walking trails.
  • Nabekura Kogen Beech Tree Forest Therapy
    The beech tree forest of Nabekura Kogen is a certified forest therapy area and offers well-maintained, flat walking paths for people of all ages to enjoy.

2. The Outdoors

Nagano is an outdoor paradise where you can enjoy a range of activities in mountains, lakes, and rivers. Push your limits in the wilds and discover the power of survival in yourself. Experiencing the outdoors helps children find this power too!

Outdoor Activities in Nagano:

3. History and Culture

From the Jomon Period, “Shinshu” (a former name of Nagano) was said to be the center of Japan. It was also here were many military commanders and clans fought for survival during turbulent times, such as the Sanada clan. By learning about Shinshu’s past—or rather, from its past—you may find some hints for the future.

Historical/Cultural Sites in Nagano:

  • The Nakasendo Trail
    Established during the Edo Period, the Nakasendo trail connects Kyoto and modern-day Tokyo. 69 post towns were developed to accommodate travelers, and several of them remain in the Kiso Valley. The townscapes look much as they did 200 years ago and offer a glimpse into Japan’s past.
  • Matsumoto Castle
    Matsumoto Castle is one of Japan’s five national treasure castles. Built over 400 years ago, it still stands proudly in front of the Japanese Alps.
  • Zenko-ji Temple
    Zenko-ji Temple has over 1400 years of history and is the center of Buddhist faith in Eastern Japan.
  • Suwa Taisha Shrine
    The four shrines of the Suwa area form the Suwa Taisha Shrine, and it is renowned for the Onbashira Festival which is celebrated once every six years.
  • Obuse Chestnut Path
    Obuse is a beautiful, small town surrounded by farms and chestnut orchards. It was loved by Katsushika Hokusai, arguably Japan’s most famous artists, and he spent many years there in his old age. You can see a beautiful original painting of Hokusai’s at Gansho-in Temple, as well as a collection of his works at the Hokusai-kan museum.

4. Food

The people of Nagano Prefecture have the longest average lifespan in all of Japan, and food plays an important part in that. Using plentiful Nagano-grown ingredients, Nagano aims to introduce health-conscious cuisine, named “Shinshu Yama-Gohan” (Shinshu mountain food), to wider audiences. You can enjoy Shinshu yama-gohan at accommodations and restaurants throughout Nagano. Adopt aspects of Nagano’s traditional food culture in your own life and live healthily!

All about Nagano’s Food:

For more information, please see the official Shinshu Destination Campaign website here (Japanese only).

The Japan Alps Arts Festival in Omachi

June 7th, 2017

The first Japan Alps Arts Festival will be held from June 4th to July 30th, 2017 in Omachi!

Artists from around the world share their works around Omachi’s varied landscape of woodlands, lakes, and the majestic Japanese Alps. Enjoy beautiful indoor and outdoor artworks while taking in the mountain air and scenery.

Learn more about the event on the official event homepage:

[Nagano Prefecture Mail Magazine] Sharing the Joys of Summer!

April 21st, 2017

Nagano Prefectural Tourism Official Mail Magazine

April 21st, 2017
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.

How are you today?

Thank you very much for reading the spring edition of our official mail magazine. Now, we bring you our summer edition, from June to August, which is full of our recommended sightseeing information.

Early morning mists, evenings when the frogs begin to chirp, and night skies filled with shooting stars. In these moments, more so than daytime, you can personally experience the mysterious passage of time, and enjoy the coolness characteristic of Nagano’s summers.

May this issue’s mail magazine be your guide to Nagano in summer, and allow you to enjoy to the fullest the season and all it has to offer. This summer, enjoy a wealth of refreshing activities in Nagano’s great outdoors.

Read the rest of this entry »

Nagano Navi, Nagano’s New Sightseeing App

April 21st, 2017

Many travelers to Japan have expressed frustrations that finding information for public transportation is quite difficult. In Nagano, it is sometimes necessary to travel by bus or taxi to one’s destination. While we have bus timetables and other public transportation information on our website, it can be difficult for travelers to access this on the road.

But now, we are happy to release a new, free application for Apple and Android devices which makes it easier than ever to travel around Nagano: the Nagano Navi! It features a wealth of sightseeing spot, train, bus and taxi information so that travelers can easily and conveniently move around Nagano.

Sights, taxi and bus stands, and other public facilities can be searched by area and viewed on a map. A route search feature allows you to plot a course between your current position and desired location, or between any two locations of your choice. Other useful information such as digital pamphlets, medical facilities, and volunteer guides are available as well.

The application launches in six languages: Japanese, English, Traditional and Simplified Chinese, Korean, and Thai language.

Read the QR code on the right of this page to download it for yourself!

[Nagano Prefecture Mail Magazine] Sharing the Joys of Spring!

February 6th, 2017

Nagano Prefectural Tourism Official Mail Magazine

February 6th, 2017
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 winter edition of our official mail magazine. Now, we bring you our spring edition, from March to May, which is full of our recommended sightseeing information.

While Nagano is currently in the midst of ski season, as March passes the snow begins to melt, the trees begin to bud, and little by little seasonal flowers make their debut. Breaking through the snow, the heads of pheasant’s eyes and buttercups signal the long-awaited arrival of spring. By mid-April, the rays of the sun grow stronger day by day and cherry blossoms begin blooming in the southern regions of Nagano, quickly covering the prefecture in a cloud of pink.
Backed by gleaming white mountain tops, the scenery of passing clouds, blue skies, flowery fields and rustling greenery is the true charm of Nagano in spring. Despite the warmth of the season, ski resorts are still open as well, and it is possible to enjoy the colorful flowers and snowy mountains at the same time.

May this issue’s mail magazine be your guide to Nagano in spring, and allow you to enjoy to the fullest the season and all it has to offer. A wonderful trip awaits you in Nagano!

Read the rest of this entry »

Hakuba to Nagano Day Tour: Nagano Tomyo Festival and Castle Town of Matsushiro

February 2nd, 2017

Experience traditional Japanese martial arts in the former castle town of Matsushiro.

On Saturday, Feb. 11th; Sunday, Feb. 12th; and Sat., Feb. 18th during the Nagano Tomyo Festival, Hakuba Sanroku Tours is offering day trips from Hakuba to the Nagano area. Take a break from skiing and snowboarding and get in touch with another side of Japan! Visit the former castle town of Matsushiro and participate in traditional martial arts workshops, learn about Japanese games and crafts, and enjoy the Nagano Tomyo Festival and local Nagano foods before returning to Hakuba.

Lanterns cover the street leading to Zenkoji, decorated with paper silhouettes crafted by local people of all ages.

The tour embarks from the Happo Bus Terminal at 13:15 and returns at 21:00. It is 5000 yen per person and includes transportation between Hakuba, Nagano City and Matsushiro, as well as activity and guide fees. See the attached pamphlet for pricing and schedule details. Contact Hakuba Sanroku Tours directly with inquiries or reservations.

Click on the image for the full-sized pamphlet.

Nagano Tomyo Festival (Sat., Feb. 11th to Sun. the 19th)

January 31st, 2017

Lanterns cover the street leading to Zenkoji, decorated with paper silhouettes crafted by local people of all ages.

The Nagano Tomyo Festival is a winter illumination event held in memory of the 1998 Winter Olympic Games. The “Tomyo” are lanterns and lights which are offered to the gods, representing locals’ prayers for world peace. Lanterns cover the road to Zenkoji, covered in designs from local schools and craftsmen, and the temple itself is lit up in a spectacular display of color. Let the bright lights (and hot sake) warm you up during one of the coldest times of the year.

Zenkoji temple is lit with the colors of the Olympic Games.

Nagano Tomyo Festival Light Up

Saturday, February 11th to Sunday, February 19th, 2017
18:00 to 21:00

Details are available on the event’s official webpage (only in Japanese).

Nagano Tomyo Festival Opening Ceremony (Torch Run)

Saturday, Februay 11th
From 16:30

What better way to begin the lantern festival than with a torch relay a la the Winter Olympic Games? The torch bearers will begin at the front of Nagano Station’s Zenkoji exit and make their way up towards Zenkoji with over 100 students in tow carrying lanterns. From 17:00 to 18:00, a special light-up performance will be held at Zenkoji’s Sanmon gate. Don’t miss it!

Nagano Food and Sake Tasting Event

Saturday, February 11th; Sunday the 12th; Saturday the 18th
18:00 to 21:00

Try a variety of Nagano foods and drinks for free! Local Nagano sweets, sake, and wine will be offered for you to try. If you find something you like, volunteer staff can point you in the right direction to purchase it! See details here.

Feel Japan! Nagano Expo at Nagano Station (Sunday, Feb. 5th)

January 30th, 2017

Local students perform a calligraphy show during last year’s event.

On, Sunday, February 5th, The Feel Japan! Nagano Expo 2017 offers visitors a chance to interact with traditional Japanese culture as soon as they arrive at Nagano station. Visitors can try their hands at a variety of activities like making origami, creating traditional Japanese greeting cards, or trying on kimono or samurai armor.

A stage inside the station will host a Ninja show, dances, and traditional martial arts dispays. If you’re just arriving in Nagano, or hanging out in the city for a day, please stop on by and Feel Japan!

Performance Schedule

Sunday, February 5th, 2017
12:00 to 15:00

12:00 Event Opening
12:05~12:50 Ninja Performance*
13:00~13:30 “Daimon Odori” Dancing Performance*
13:40~13:50 “Kacchu-gun” Armored Guard Performance
14:00~14:45 Martial Arts Display*
15:00 Closing

*The latter half of these performances are workshops where volunteers can try these activities for themselves.

Kiso Valley Ice Lantern Festival Begins this Weekend! (Jan. 28th to Feb. 11th)

January 26th, 2017

The Ice Lantern festival accompanied by fireworks as seen from the post town of Narai.

Every year from late January through early February, the Kiso Valley hosts their ice lantern festival along the ancient Nakasendo trail. Beautifully-preserved Edo period buildings glow with warm candlelight and locals set up stalls with festival foods and free hot sake and soup. Interact with local kiso people, try some of its delicious sake, and enjoy the romantic atmosphere of these post towns forgotten by time.

For those unfamiliar with the Kiso Valley, highlights include the Narai, Kisofukushima, and Tsumago post towns, as well as Magome to the south. Many visitors walk the hiking trail which follows the Nakasendo between Tsumago and Magome post towns, or walk along the kilometer-long street of Narai. Kisofukushima is home to two of Kiso’s sake breweries, Nanawarai and Nakanorisan, and has several hot spring hotels and a foot bath to warm up during the cold winter months.

See the schedule below.

Saturday, January 28th, 2017

  • Okuwa Village (around Okuwa Station) from 17:30
  • Kiso Village (around Yabuhara) from 18:00
  • Agematsu Town (Hinokinosato Cultural Center area) from 17:30
  • Kiso Town: Hiyoshi (Yoshinaka Museum and Harano Station area) from 16:00

Friday, February 3rd, 2017

Saturday, February 4th, 2017

  • Kiso Town: Fukushima (Kiso Fukushima Yasawa, Uemachi and Uenodan areas) from 18:00
  • Kiso Town: Kaida Kogen (Nishino Shimokurio farm area) from 10:00-15:00, 17:00 and onward
  • Otaki Village (Outaki Sightseeing Office area) from 18:00

Sunday, February 5th, 2017

  • Shiojiri City: Niekawa (Niekawa post town) from 18:00

Saturday, February 11th, 2017

  • Kiso Town: Kurokawa (Furusato Taikenkan Kisofukushima area) from 18:00
  • Nagiso Town (Tsumago area) from 17:30
  • Nakatsugawa City: Magome (Magome post town & Toson Memorial Museum area) from 18:00