Formerly known as Shinshū and often referred to as the 'Roof of Japan', Nagano Prefecture (長野県) is a wonderful place to visit for its regal mountains, rich cultural history, fine architecture and cuisine.
Nagano is a big prefecture, the fourth largest in Japan. Stretching in a north–south direction, yet with no coastline, Nagano is home to a hefty chunk of Chūbu-Sangaku National Park, as well as several quasi-national parks that attract skiers, mountaineers and onsen aficionados.
Nagano city, the prefectural capital and host of the 1998 Winter Olympic Games, is home to Zenkō-ji, a spectacular temple of national significance. Renowned resorts such as Kamikōchi, Hakuba, Nozawa Onsen, Shiga Kōgen and Karuizawa are all within Nagano's prefectural borders, as is Matsumoto, considered the gateway to the northern Japan Alps. The Kiso Valley, the Central Alps and northern parts of the Southern Alps are also in Nagano.
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