Tour of Nagano to be energized!
Leave by car!!
From Tokyo to Zenkoji Temple
3 hours and 15 minutes by car
This temple has as its main deity the Ikkosanzon Amida Nyorai, which is said to be the oldest Buddhist statue in Japan. Designated as a national treasure in 1953, the temple has a history of over 1,400 years. Located about a 10-minute drive from Nagano Station, the temple is a very rare example of a temple in Buddhist history that is not affiliated with any sect, yet is known for its many benefits and has been widely supported and worshipped throughout Japan since the Heian period. The temple has been widely supported and worshipped throughout Japan since the Heian period (794-1185), and it is said that if you visit the temple just once in your lifetime, you will be able to attain the ultimate happiness. Like Zenkoji Temple, the Nakamise Street in the precincts of the temple has a very long history, and it is said that street merchants and street vendors have been doing business there since the medieval times. Why don't you stop by after your visit?
Address：491 Nagano Motoyoshicho, Nagano, Nagano 380-0851
From Zenkoji to Togakushi Shrine
35 min. by car
Known as a sacred place since the age of mythology, Togakushi Shrine is one of the most famous power spots in Nagano Prefecture, attracting worshippers from all over the country. The shrine has a history of more than 2,000 years since it was built, and there are many related shrines over a wide area, so there is not enough time in a day to visit the shrine and the surrounding area. A line of cedar trees over 400 years old has been designated as a natural monument. Togakushi soba is considered one of the three best soba in Japan, along with wanko soba in Iwate Prefecture and Izumo soba in Shimane Prefecture. You have to try it!
Address：3690 Togakushi Chusha, Nagano, Nagano 381-4101
From Togakushi Shrine to Togakushi Soba
1 min. walk
Soba, one of the typical local foods of Nagano, has been cultivated as an agricultural product suitable for highland areas where rice and wheat are difficult to grow. Thanks to the large difference in temperature between day and night, the starch is firm and matured, resulting in delicious soba. There are more than 20 soba restaurants near Togakushi Shrine. The soba is served in small portions on a "Nemagari bamboo work", a traditional Togakushi craft. For condiments, a traditional Shinshu vegetable called "Togakushi Daikon" (spicy radish) is used.
Address：3690 Togakushi Chusha, Nagano, Nagano 381-4101
From Togakushi Soba to Kagamiike
10 min. by car
As the name suggests, the pond reflects the mountains of Togakushi like a mirror. The pond is a 30-minute hike from the approach to Togakushi Shrine and is well known during the fresh green season and the autumn foliage season. The trail goes around the pond and connects to the forest botanical garden, which is full of wild birds, so you may see some rare birds! It is recommended to go early in the morning to avoid the crowds. In October, Kagami-ike is closed to private cars on Saturdays, Sundays, and national holidays, and shuttle buses are available.
Address：Togakushi, Nagno, Nagano 381-4101
From Kagamiike to Oyaki village
1 hour and 10 min. by car
When you travel around Nagano Prefecture, you will see the word "おやき(Oyaki)" everywhere. Oyaki, also called "grilled rice cake," is one of Nagano's representative local dishes, and is a flat, manju-like food with a variety of fillings, from vegetables to sweet bean paste. It has a long history, and depending on the region, there are many different types, such as steamed and baked. You can enjoy the traditional taste of the region wherever you go. Nowadays, you can even find them in convenience stores. It is also characterized by the use of seasonal vegetables, so why not try the eggplant oyaki, which is in season in summer?
Address：6937 Takafu, Ogawamura, Kami minochi-gun, Nagano 381-3302
From Oyaki village to Matsumoto Castle
1 hour and 25 min. by car
Matsumoto Castle, a national treasure, is the oldest castle in Japan with a five-story, six-floor keep that still looks as it did when it was built in the Warring States period. Also known as the "Crow Castle," the black castle is surrounded by water dug into the ground, and on a clear day, the beautiful castle tower is reflected in the water, making for very attractive photos. The moon watchtower in the castle tower is a unique feature of Matsumoto Castle, so I highly recommend visiting it! When the sliding doors on the north, east, and south sides are removed, there is an atrium on three sides, and unlike the castle tower, which was built in preparation for battle, there are no weapons installed. The only way to view the castle tower is by stairs. Please note that the stairs are narrow and steep.
Address：4-1 Marunouchi, Matsumoto, Nagano 390-0873
From Matsumoto Castle to Tateishi Park
1 hour by car
Tateishi Park has been selected as one of the 100 best sunset spots in Shinshu, one of the three best night views in Japan, and a hill from which you can see Shinshu's hometown. From the observatory plaza, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the majestic Suwa Lake and the beautiful Alps mountain range. In particular, many tourists come here at dusk to watch the sun set over Suwa Lake. The night view is also very beautiful, so don't miss it! Another reason why this place is so famous and popular is that it is said to have been used as a model for the anime movie "Your Name", and it has become a pilgrimage site for fans to see the beautiful scenery. It is also known as a habitat for the very rare national butterfly, the Oriental Purple, and the city is making efforts to protect nature.
Address：Tateishi Park, 10399, Kamisuwa, Oaza, Suwa, Nagano 392-0003
From Tateishi Park to Kamisuwa Onsen
10 min. by car
Kamisuwa onsen Hotel Beniya
A hot spring ryokan built on the shore of Lake Suwa. On the top floor of the hotel, 45 meters above ground, there is a hot spring bath with a spectacular view of Lake Suwa and the Northern Alps. In addition to the open-air bath, large bath, and mist sauna, nine types of baths, including bedrock baths and a radon bath room, can be enjoyed at the "Rare-stone healing" bath facility. It is a 10-minute walk from Kamisuwa Station, and a 15-minute drive from the Suwa IC on the Chuo Expressway.
Data：Kamisuwa onsen Hotel Beniya
Address：2-7-21 Kogandori, Suwa, Nagno 392-0027
Enjoy a snack & a nature drive！
Departure from the hotel
Head to Venus Line
40 min. by car
The Venus Line is a free driving route that runs through one of the most spectacular highland scenery in Japan. It's about 76 kilometers long and offers a spectacular drive! The Venus Line is a sightseeing mountain road that connects the city of Chino in Nagano to the Utsukushi-ga-hara Highlands, where you can see about 200 kinds of alpine plants. The high season is around July, when the Nikkoukisuge flowers are in full bloom, but the fresh greenery, autumn leaves, and snowy scenery are also beautiful. The area around Lake Shirakaba is lined with cafes and restaurants. Along the shores of Lake Tateshina, there are many spots where you can appreciate art, such as the Marie Laurencin Museum and the Tateshina Kogen Art Forest and Sculpture Park, so you can enjoy a resort atmosphere. There is also a ropeway to the summit of Kita-Yatsugatake (Altitude 2237m), where you can enjoy a view of the three major Japanese Alps. Local dishes such as gohei mochi, buckwheat pancakes, and soft ice cream made with milk from Shirakaba Kogen will make your drive even more enjoyable.
Address：Chino city, Nagano
Gohei Mochi is a local dish that has long been loved by the locals in the Kiso and Ina regions of southern Shinshu. It is often seen at celebrations or as a snack, and its shape and seasoning vary from region to region. Generally, the rice cakes are flattened into ovals, skewered, seasoned with soy sauce or miso, and baked, with various toppings such as walnuts, sesame, peanuts, eggs, and honey. They are also sold at service areas and roadside stations, so it is interesting to compare the tastes. If you are not sure about the flavor, I recommend "walnut miso" made from ground walnuts, a specialty of Shinshu!
From Venus line to Shirakaba Lake
25 min. by car
Lake Shirakaba is located in the Yatsugatake Chushin Kogen National Park. The elevation is about 1,400 meters and the circumference of the lake is about 4 kilometers. In Tateshina, there is a resort area centered on Lake Shirakaba. Originally, it was a man-made reservoir created to secure water for agriculture. In addition to the Shirakaba-ko Family Land, Shirakaba-ko Club View Hotel, Ikenodaira Hotel, and Ikenodaira Hot Springs, there are golf courses and ski resorts in the surrounding area.
Address：3419-3 Shirakabako, Kitayama, Chino, Nagano 391-0301
From Shirakaba Lake to Nagato Farm
20 min. by car
Shinsyu shirakaba kougen Nagato farm
After passing through the Venus Line and heading north, you will find the vast Nagato Farm in the Shinshu Shirakaba Plateau. Why don't you spend a relaxing time eating the ranch's most popular soft-serve ice cream while looking at the cows being raised in the great outdoors and the Northern Alps? If you're lucky, you might even see a herd of deer! The pizzas and cheese fondue available at the restaurant are made with fresh milk from cows that have been raised on grass, so they are always fresh! With activities such as tractor rides around the barn, cheese making, and horseback riding, you're sure to have a wonderful experience interacting with the animals!
Data：Shinsyu shirakaba kougen Nagato farm
Address：3539-2 Daimon, Nagawamachi, Chiisagata-gun, Nagano 386-0601
From the farm to Ueda Castle
55 min. by car
The Ueda Castle was built in the Azuchi-Momoyama period at the end of the 16th century, and is famous for its experience in actual battles and for having defeated large armies. It has been the focus of attention in movies such as Summer Wars and the historical drama Sanadamaru. Cherry blossoms have been planted to decorate the ruins of Ueda Castle Park and the gate, so you can enjoy the cherry blossoms in spring. The park is also lit up at night, so you can enjoy the cherry blossoms until night. The Cherry Blossom Festival is held in April, and the Autumn Foliage Festival in November, so it is recommended that you visit in conjunction with these events!
Address：2 Ninomaru, Ueda, Nagano 386-0026
From Ueda Castle to Ueda Hokkoku Kaido Yanagimachi
2 min. by car
Ueda hokkoku kaido yanagimachi
Yanagimachi on the old Hokkoku Highway has a history as the castle town of Ueda Castle in Shinshu. Born in the Warring States period, the place was lined with inns and merchant houses in the Edo period, and still retains a trace of them today. It has changed its shape with the passage of time and is now lined with stores selling local sake, wine, Shinshu soba noodles, bakery with natural yeast, sweets, and other attractive specialties and products of Ueda, Shinshu. It's getting a lot of attention as a hot gourmet spot!
Data：Ueda hokkoku kaido yanagimachi
Address：8 Chuo, Ueda, Nagano 386-0012
Head to Hokusaikan!
50 min. by car
In 1999, the American magazine Life ranked Hokusai as one of the 100 most important people in the world for the last 1000 years. Even today, Katsushika Hokusai continues to influence artists, craftsmen and musicians around the world. This museum was reopened in 2015. The Hokusai Museum is located in the town of Obuse, Shinshu, where Hokusai spent four years in his later years.
Address：485 Obuse, Obusemachi, Kamitakai-gun, Nagano 381-0201
From Hokusaikan to Obuse
2 min. by car
Obuse, Shinshu, where the Hokusai Museum is located, is also very famous as a town of chestnuts. Obuse has a long history of chestnuts, and due to their great taste, they became so well known during the Edo period that they were offered to the shogun as a gift. There are also stores where you can enjoy Shinshu soba noodles along with chestnut rice. There is also a wide variety of Japanese sweets and confections made with chestnuts, so why not explore the streets of Obuse while looking for souvenirs? Also, don't miss the famous Obuse eggplant oyaki!
Address：Obuse, Obusemachi, Kamitakai-gun, Nagano 381-0201