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

Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park Closed Due to Snow (Jan. 17th & 18th, 2017)

January 17th, 2017

Due to continuing heavy snowfall across Nagano prefecture, the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park has been forced to close for several days until it clears up. The park was closed today, Monday, January 17th, and will remain closed tomorrow. See Go! Nagano’s facebook page for updates.

Relive the Film “Your Name” in Nagano

January 6th, 2017

Now playing in theaters across Japan and around the world, animated film Your Name has already left a large mark on filmmaking history. It is now the second highest-grossing anime film of all time, netting over $288,800,000 (USD) worldwide. (No. 1 is Spirited Away with over $289,090,000 USD.)

One of Your Name’s major backdrops is Itomori-machi, countryside home of main character Miyamizu Mitsuha. Encircling a large lake and surrounded by distant mountains, Itomori-machi is uncannily similar to Nagano prefecture’s Suwa region. And already people have taken notice and visited in droves to bathe in the landscapes that inspired the movie’s scenery.

(See the Suwa area’s English tourism site here.)

Evening View of Lake Suwa as seen from Tateishi Park

Shinkai Makoto, director of Your Name, also notes that his first inspiration for Lake Itomori was Lake Matsubara in his hometown of Koumi-machi, another area of Nagano.

(See Koumi’s Japanese tourism site here.)

If you too have fallen in love with this anime hit, why not visit the beautiful landscapes that inspired it?

NEW! Direct Bus between Haneda International Airport and Hakuba Ski Resorts

December 13th, 2016

Click on the image to see the full PDF flyer.

For the 2016-17 ski season, the Alpico Kotsu and Keikyu Bus companies are offering a special direct bus service between Haneda International Airport and the Hakuba Valley. Now it’s easier and more comfortable than ever to reach your winter holiday destination.

Stow your cumbersome baggage in the bus’s luggage compartment and relax on one of its spacious sofa seats. Electrical outlets are provided so you can charge your devices, and wi-fi is also available during the ride (requires registration with Wi2 300). Toilets, blankets, and other amenities are also provided.

Two round trip buses run daily. The Haneda to Hakuba line begins running on December 17th, 2016 and ends on March 4th, 2017. The Hakuba to Haneda line begins on December 18th, 2016 and runs until March 5th, 2017. A one-way ticket is 9,000 yen for adults, 7,000 yen for children, and free for infants. See the press release for more details and check Alpico’s page here to reserve your seat!

[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!

Read the rest of this entry »

Sunday, November 6th: Edo Period Parade in the Kiso Valley

October 25th, 2016

Click on the image for the full flyer and more detailed information.

Watch a recreation of the procession which carried the princess Kazunomiya from Kyoto to Edo during the Edo period. Participants wear the traditional outfits of the time, and there are a variety of Japanese cultural activities for visitors to partake in while they’re here. Enjoy the beautiful townscape of Narai and Yabuhara, dress in kimono, and taste the local fare.

The procession will happen on Sunday, November 6th, 2016, and passes through Yabuhara-juku from 11 am to 12 pm, and Narai-juku from 2 pm to 3 pm. Clink on the image above for the full PDF flyer.

Learn more about the Nakasendo on our Killer Contents page, or see this blog which covered the parade last year.

Explore Japan with the JBL Nationwide Bus Pass

September 21st, 2016

The Japan Bus Lines Group is once again offering their Nationwide Bus Pass for the 2016 Autumn Season. The pass gives you full access to their 92 highway bus lines across Japan. A 7-Day Pass is 20,000 yen and a 14-Day Pass is 28,000 yen.

These lines cover transportation between most major cities and give visitors a chance to enjoy Japan’s country scenery at a more relaxed pace. Choose a number of lines between Nagoya, Tokyo and Nagano prefecture’s many cities, as well as bus lines that head directly to Kamikochi, the gem of the Northern Alps.

You can reserve all of your bus tickets directly on their website, making travel around Japan even easier. See their available bus lines here.

Pass Name: JBL Pass
Sales Period: September 15th, 2016 to December 7th, 2016
Usage Period: September 26th, 2016 to December 15th, 2016
Price: 7-Day Pass/ 20,000 Yen, 14-Day Pass/ 28,000 Yen
Available Bus Lines: See here

Hakuba’s Daisekkei Trail Closed until Further Notice

September 2nd, 2016

Hakuba’s Daisekkei, the largest scale snow valley in Japan, was closed on September 1st, 2016, and will remain closed until further notice.

Due to last winter’s low snowfall, crevices have began appearing along the trail, which poses a major hazard for hikers.

The trail begins from the Sarukura-Sou Lodge and is a popular way to reach the summit of Mt. Shirouma. Hikers seeking to climb Mt. Shirouma can use one of the following detour routes:

  • From Tsugaike
    Take the Tsugaike Ropeway up to Tsugaike Hutte. From here, the hike to the summit of Mt. Shirouma takes 12 hours (7 hours up, 5 hours down).
  • From Sarukura
    Take the trail towards Hakuba Yari Onsen. The hike from Sarukura to the summit of Mt. Shirouma is approx. 18 hours and 45 minutes (10hrs 15mins up, 8hrs 30mins down).

Japanese speakers can read this article from the Shinshu Mainichi Newspaper Website: