Nagano Prefecture | Travel Guide
Nagano Prefecture is known all over the world because of the 1998 Winter Olympics that were held here. Nagano boasts prime winter sports locations because of the abundance of mountain ranges and cold winter temperatures. Needless to say, the prefecture is one of Japan’s most popular destinations for skiing and other winter sports. This travel guide will help you decide what to see in Nagano!
The snow monkeys are another highlight here because the sight of Japanese macaques enjoying the hot springs never fails to impress. Hiking is another popular activity in Nagano, and during off-season many head to the prefecture to enjoy lower temperatures and abundant nature. It may not be a coincidence that Japan’s highest life expectancies are in Nagano with such a healthy climate.
Hakuba, located in the Northern Alps of Nagano Prefecture, is one of Japan's most popular ski areas, offering good snow and several large ski resorts to choose from. The magnificent view of the Northern Japan Alps and other beautiful mountains
Matsumoto is centrally located in Nagano prefecture and is surrounded by Japan Alps mountains. The city is especially famous for Matsumoto Castle, which is one of Japan's original historic castles. The castle is also known as the 'Crow Castle' due to its black exterior and it was the seat of the Matsumoto domain.
Kamikochi is a remote mountainous highland in the northern part of the Japan Alps, which has been preserved in its natural state.
Karuizawa has thrived as a very popular international summer resort in Japan since the late 19th century because of its cool summer climate and breezy environment with many larches and birch trees. Yagasaki Park, with an area of 46,000 square meters, is located in front of Karuizawa Station.
Suwa is located centrally in Nagano, and is famous for its hot springs that originate below the lake. There are many Japanese-style inns and guesthouses in the area that cater to Japanese as well as foreign tourists. People mainly stay in Suwa for the many outdoor activities on the water and in the mountains, plus it is a great base for taking day trips in the wider Nagano area.
The city of Nagano is located in the northern part of Nagano Prefecture. It is a good place to stay as a base for making day trips in the area being centrally located for many sights with good bus and train connections.
The Shiga Kogen Highlands area is in the northeastern part of Nagano. Formed by volcanic activity, it has a mountainous landscape. It stands as one of the world's largest winter resorts and was home to many of the events of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.
Yudanaka Snow Monkeys
Yudanaka, rich in natural hot springs, is located deep in the mountains of the Yamanouchi area in Nagano. Some 200 monkeys live in this area, and photographs of snow-covered monkeys bathing in open-air-thermal pools have made Yudanaka Onsen famous worldwide.