Top Choice Buddhist Temple in Nagano


Founded in the 7th century, National Treasure Zenkō-ji is home to the revered statue Ikkō-Sanzon, said to be the first Buddhist image to arrive in Japan (AD 552). Not even 37 generations of emperors have seen the im…
Shinto Shrine in Togakushi


Comprising three sub-shrines – Togakushi-Hōkōsha, Togakushi-Chūsha and Togakushi-Okusha – each a few kilometres apart, Togakushi-jinja honours the 1911m-high Mt Togakushi. According to legend, the mountain is where …
Park in Karuizawa

Mt Asama Magma Stone Park

Here's your chance to get up close and personal with Mt Asama – so close, you could almost touch it. Formed in 1783 by Asama's last violent eruption, this 'Hurled by Demons' park has a surreal landscape of jagged, h…
Viewpoint in Karuizawa

Usui Pass Lookout

On the border of Gunma and Nagano Prefectures, about 4km northeast of Old Karuizawa, you'll find this observation platform with stunning views of Mt Asama and surrounding mountains. There's no public transport – for…
Gallery in Obuse

Hokusai Museum

Japan's most famous ukiyo-e (woodblock) artist, Hokusai, spent his final years in Obuse. Over 30 of his works are exhibited in this gallery, which recently reopened after extensive renovations. It's a 10-minute well…
Gallery in Karuizawa

'Umi' Museum of Contemporary Art

This light-filled gallery showcases an impressive collection of contemporary works by Japanese artists who have found fame abroad. It's in a lovely forested spot.
Buddhist Temple in Bessho Onsen

Kitamuki Kannon

The grounds of this Tendai temple have some impressive ancient trees and sweeping valley views. Once an awe-inspiring vista, there's no longer anything particularly contemplative about the valley development below. …
Shinto Shrine in Togakushi


From Okusha bus stop it's 2km (40 minutes' walk) to Okusha (meaning Upper Shrine) – the innermost of Togakushi-jinja's three sub-shrines – via a magnificent 500m-long cedar-lined path (­杉並木; suginamiki) planted in 1…
Museum in Togakushi

Togakushi Folk Museum & Ninja House

Above the Okusha bus stop you'll find this museum housing artefacts from a time when local yamabushi (mountain monks) practised what became known as ninpo (the art of stealth). The Ninja House is the most fun, cleve…
Museum in Karuizawa

Former Mikasa Hotel

This property, one of the first Western hotels in Japan, welcomed guests from 1906 to 1970. An exceptional example of elaborate Meiji-era architecture, it's now a museum for you to explore, showcasing the building's…