Welcome to Nagano
Mountain-ringed prefectural capital Nagano (長野) has been a place of pilgrimage since the Kamakura period, when it was a temple town centred on the magnificent Zenkō-ji, which still draws more than four million visitors per year.Since hosting the Winter Olympics in 1998, the city has reverted to its friendly small-town self, while still retaining plenty of accommodation and some nice restaurants
Top experiences in Nagano
Full-Day Tour of Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple and Sake in Nagano
This tour will take you to see the most important attractions of Nagano City and the Yamanouchi area. You will take a scenic route to see the cutest monkeys in the world and afterwards spend time at the temple of Zenkoji and the bustling Nakamise shopping street, as well as having a sake tasting experience at the end.Your guide will meet you at Nagano Station at 8:45 am and will lead you to the Yamanouchi region here you get to meet the Japanese snow monkeys. These monkeys are world-famous for their rare habit of bathing in hot springs during winter. When at the Park, the snow monkeys will let you get really close to them for some great photo opportunities. After saying goodbye to the snow monkeys take a stroll along a tranquil forest trail to the lunch cafe. After a delicious lunch you will get back on the road and head to the Zenko-ji Temple. The temple of Zenkoji is famous for holding the first Buddhist statue brought to Japan. This has made the temple an important pilgrimage site with people coming from all over Japan to pray for their place in Buddhist heaven. Zenkoji Temple has a special energy, and welcomes people of all faiths and religions. The temple grounds have many hidden gems to explore, such as the dark tunnel which runs under the temple. Here you can allegedly gain enlightenment if you find the "Key To Paradise".After exploring Zenko-ji Temple, the guide will take you to one of Nagano's most historic sake breweries where you get the opportunity to try several types of sake. Nagano is one of the regions in Japan with a very active production of sake. Clean spring water in combination with a climate suitable for rice production creates the optimal environment for high quality sake. You can find yourself a good souvenir at Nagano's beloved sake brewery. You will be taken back to Nagano Station where the tour concludes at 5pm.Tour Itinerary: 8:45am: Meet up at Nagano Station under the East Exit information board opposite of the Shinkansen exit. 10am: Walk for 30 minutes along a forest trail to the Snow Monkey Park where you get to enjoy the wild monkeys playing around. 12:15pm: Have delicious lunch nearby the Snow Monkey Park.1pm: Leave the lunch restaurant and get taken to the historically important Zenko-ji Temple. 2:15pm: See the sights of the Zenko-ji Temple and learn the interesting facts. Enjoy up to 30 minutes of shopping on Nakamise Street. 4pm: Visit a sake brewery and enjoy tasting different types of sake. 4:45pm: Get on the bus and arrive back to Nagano station by 5pm.
Explore Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park and Taste Local Sake
A visit to the snow monkeys is one of the highlights of a visit to Japan. Jigokudani Yaen-koen is a place to observe the interesting ecology of Japanese monkeys nearby, and many people in the world have loved this place since 1964 when it first opened. Many researchers and photographers has also visit here for the photo opportunity. The monkeys here are known as "Snow Monkeys” because they bathe in the hot springs and no other monkeys in the world do this. In 1970, they were appeared in the cover of "LIFE" magazine in the U.S. and were reported by the press overseas. Furthermore, in 1998, when the winter Olympic Games were held in Nagano, many athletes, game staff, news media and tourists from foreign countries visited, and made it a big topic.Soaking in the hot spring is only one part of the monkeys’ lives. Monkeys do not usually soak in the hot spring in the warm season because they soak in the hot spring in order to survive the severe winter weather. The best charm of Jigokudani Yaen-koen is not taking pictures of monkeys, however, but enjoying the ecology of wild monkeys to be able to observe nearby through a year and the rich nature itself of the animals, insects, plants, and so on. Please listen carefully on the walking trail to Jigokudani and you will experience the natural ecology of the area through your five senses! Itinerary・Stroll Yumichi walking trail.・Visit Shibu no Jigokudani funsen.・Visit Jigokudani Yaen-koen & rest.・Taste local sake and beer freshly delivered from the brewery・Description of the nature by the guide
2-Day Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Shirakawago and Hida-Takayama Bus Tour from Nagoya
Once you meet your tour operator at the designated meeting point, you will be traveling by coach bus and transferred to Hida-Takayama. In the quaint old streets of the small town that is also as known as “Little Kyoto,” you can take your time walking around for about 2 hours.Afterwards, your coach bus will pick you up and head to Shirakawago, the World Heritage renowned village that is famous for the farmhouses representative of the traditional Japanese architectural history. The construction method for the farmhouse so called “Gassho-zukuri” which refers to the shape of the roofing that looks like a person's hands put together for praying. You can walk around to take some pictures for approximately 90 minutes before heading to your accommodation at the Toyama prefecture. The next day, after your breakfast at your hotel, the coach bus will pick you up to take you to visit to the main destination, located in the Nagano prefecture. Once you reach Murodo, where the snow wall corridor is located, you can take your time to feel the cold, brisk air and walk around for about 80 minutes. Your last stop before heading back to Nagoya will be a 20 minute rest stop in Tateyama to do some shopping and relaxing.
2-Day Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Shirakawago and Hida-Takayama Bus Tour from Osaka
Once you meet at your designated meeting point in Osaka, you will be travelling by coach bus and transferred to Gifu prefecture. Once reach the Akakabu in Nyukawa, you can rest and go shopping for about 20 minutes before heading to Hida-Takayama, a quaint town also as known as “Little Kyoto.” There, you can relax by taking time to walk around for approximately 60 minutes.Optional lunch boxes are available on Day 1, which will be served on the bus. Please order these at the time of your booking. The payment is not included in the tour cost unless you specify.Afterwards, you will head towards Shirakawago, the World Heritage village that is famous for the farmhouses representative of the traditional Japanese architectural history. The construction method for the farmhouse so called “Gassho-zukuri” which refers to the shape of the roofing that looks like a person's hands put together for praying. You can walk around to take some pictures for approximately 60 minutes before heading to your accommodation at the Toyama prefecture. The next day, after your breakfast at the hotel, you will visit the main destination, located in Nagano prefecture, where you can experience the snow even during the spring in Japan. Firstly, you will proceed to Tateyama to start the journey by cable car which will take about 7-minutes. Once you arrive at Bijodaira, you will ride on another highland exclusive bus for around 60 minutes to head to Murodo, where the Snow Wall Otani is located. After that, you will ride on the Tateyama Kogen Bus to return back to Bijodaira. When you get back to Bijodaira, you will take the cable car again to head to Tateyama and take some time to do some shopping at Tateyama Alpen Village before heading back to Osaka.
Full Day Togakushi Nature Hike and Ninja Tour
The tour starts with a hike through a beautiful forest and past several lakes. Discover various types of wild plants and flowers as you walk along the hiking trail to Kagami-ike Lake with its stunning view of Mt. Togakushi. On days with no wind, you can see Mt. Togakushi reflected on the water's surface. You will also pass by a panoramic spot where you can enjoy a view of the Japanese Alps.After a 2 hour hike, it is time for a lunch of Soba, or buckwheat noodles in English. It is a traditional dish for people in Nagano, and Togakushi especially is known for the distinctive taste of their soba made with region's clean mountain water. The dish comes with shrimp and seasonal vegetables tempura.After lunch, take the bus to the entrance of pilgrimage path to the Togakushi Okusha Shrine. While the entire Togakushi area is regarded as sacred to followers of Shintoism, Togakushi Okusha Shrine is the most important place within the region and the very end of the regional pilgrimage. Approximately 300 Cryptomeria trees are lined beautifully along the pilgrimage path. It is more than impressive enough to make visitors ponder the sacredness of Japanese Shintoism.After walking back from the Okusha Shrine, it is time for some recreation and learning at the Ninja Folklore Museum. At the museum, you will not only learn about the history and techniques used by the Togakushi ninja, you can also give escaping a ninja house filled with hidden doors and tricks a go. Tour itinerary:9amMeet at Nagano station directly in front of the Shinkansen exit at the information board towards the East Exit. - Take the bus towards Togakushi. - Start the hike through the forest trail with several ponds and mountain views.12:45pm Eat lunch at a local soba restaurant - Take the bus to Togakushi Shrine and walk past the Japanese cedars. - Go to the Ninja House that also holds a Ninja Folklore Museum.5pmGo back by bus to Nagano Station.6:30pmArrive back at Nagano Station.
2-Day Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, Shirakawago and Hida Takayama Express Train Tour from Tokyo
Once you meet your guide at the designated meeting point, you will be traveling on the Limited Express Train ”Azusa” and taken to the Matsumoto Station. Once you arrive there, you will be picked up by a coach bus and visit the main destination which located in Nagano prefecture where you can experience a Japanese snowy wonderland even during the spring. Before reaching the destination, a lunchbox meal will be provided.First, you will proceed to Ogizawa and once you arrive, the trolley bus will head to the Kurobe Dam. Keep your eyes peeled as the greatness of the electric supplier’s water flows beneath you. You can simultaneously enjoy being surrounded by the Kurobe Gorge as well. Afterward, you will visit Lake Kurobe, famous for its emerald water, by foot and ride on a cable car to head to Kurobedaira where you can get a beautiful view of the surrounding natural ecosystem. Then you will continue to head to Daikanbo by taking the ropeway from Kurobedaira for approximately 7 minutes before an exclusive coach bus will take you to the main destination, Murodo, where the snow wall corridor is located. You can take your time there to walk around and take some photos. Then you will be taken by the exclusive coach bus to Bijodaira and to ride on another cable car to Tateyama where you will be picked up by a coach bus to head to your accommodation at Tonami in the Toyama prefecture where you can enjoy the dinner at the hotel as well. The next day, after breakfast at the hotel, you will be picked up by a coach bus to visit, Shirakawago, the World Heritage village where that is famous for farmhouses representative of traditional Japanese architectural history. The construction method for the farmhouse is called “Gassho-zukuri” which refers to the shape of the roofing that looks like a person's hands put together for praying. You can walk around to take some pictures for approximately an hour before heading to Hida Furukawa to walk around an old castle. Afterward, you will head to Hida Takayama, a quaint old town, as known as “Little Kyoto,” where you can take your time to walk around and try some Hida Beef (Local Beef) cuisine which will be provided. The last but not least, you will have a quick rest stop in Hirayu for resting and shopping before heading to Matsumoto Station to take the Limited Express Train ”Azusa” back to Shinjuku.