From Nagano City to Karuizawa, the resort town on the eastern edge of the prefecture, it is a blazingly fast 30 minutes by Shinkansen bullet train.
Or, as a luxurious alternative, you could take Shinano Railway’s special Rokumon train and enjoy a leisurely 2 hour 20 minute ride through Nagano’s scenic countryside.
For those that care to indulge, you can partake in a gourmet meal along the way: French featuring cheese from Tomi City’s esteemed Atelier de Fromage, on the run from Karuizawa to Nagano, or kaiseki-style Japanese from Obuse’s famous restaurant Suzuhana on the return.
I had the opportunity to ride from Karuizawa to Nagano. The warm wood interior furnishings of the train and the friendly smiles of the attendants combined with the carefully prepared dishes featuring an abundance of local ingredients would have made the trip a perfect 10 for me.
However, what made riding Rokumon extra special was the enthusiastic hospitality we received along the way, from local preschoolers to the Station Master at Ueda.
Rokumon — the perfect unhurried way to enjoy Nagano’s countryside.