Nagano Prefecture

Nagano Prefecture

Updated

Nagano | Statistics




Region: Chubu
Capital: Nagano
Population (approx.): 2.146 million (2012)
Area: 5,245 sq miles
Area Rank: 4

Nagano | Major Cities

Nagano

Nagano

Developed temple town that retains historical significance

Karuizawa

Karuizawa

Most popular summer resort; second home to many wealthy urbanites

Obuse

Obuse

Town filled with art and culture through museums, sake brewery, traditional buildings and more

Tripadvisor Ranking 7
Hakuba

Hakuba

Japan's popular ski area; hosted Winter Olympics events

Nagano | Destinations

Nagano | Destinations

Nagano Prefecture is a mountainous area in the Chubu region and due to its mountainous nature, it does not have that high of a population relative to its land area. Its mountain resorts and hot springs make Nagano a popular tourist destination for those seeking to appreciate nature. The Jigokudani Monkey Park in Yamanouchi is one of the many unique sights that attracts tourists. At Jigokudani (Hell Valley), snow monkeys bathe in the hot springs, a rare sight you cannot witness elsewhere.
Matsumotojo, or Matsumoto Castle, is another highly visited tourist site. The castle's tower, a 5-story, 6-layer tower built in the Bunroku Period (1593-1594) is Japan's oldest existing castle tower and is designated as a national treasure. A popular temple worth visiting in Nagano is Zenkoji Temple. It has much historical significance, being founded in the 7th century, and stores the first Buddha statue brought to Japan. The influence of Zenkoji Temple on the city of Nagano was significant. The city grew from a temple town, and specifically, around Zenkoji. Unfortunately, the original statue is not open to the public but a copy of the statue is shown to the public every six years.

Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park

Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park

Outdoor hot spring made exclusively for snow monkeys

Matsumoto Castle

Matsumoto Castle

Hirajiro castle built on plains rather than a hill

Shiga-Kogen Highlands

Shiga-Kogen Highlands

Hosted events during 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics; one of world's largest ski resorts

Zenkoji Temple

Zenkoji Temple

Stores the first Buddha statue brought into Japan

Tsumago

Tsumago

Popular tourist destination to experience the atmosphere of old Japanese port stations

Yudanaka

Yudanaka

Famous for its snow monkeys that bathe; free foot baths in town

Azumino Wasabi Farm

Azumino Wasabi Farm

Famous for its Japanese horseradish, wasabi

Obuse Hokusai Museum

Obuse Hokusai Museum

Features ukiyoe works by famous painter Katsushika Hokusai

Kamikochi

Kamikochi

Japan's Yosemite; remote mountainous highland

Shibu Onsen

Shibu Onsen

Hot spring resort with 1,300 years of history

Karuizawa Picturebook Forest Museum

Karuizawa Picturebook Forest Museum

Museum displaying 6,000 picture books and original sketches

Kids Ninja Village

Kids Ninja Village

Ninja theme park for children with various obstacles that depict ninja training

Nagano | Local Food and Produce

Nagano | Local Food and Produce

One of Nagano’s most popular local dish is soba, buckwheat noodles. The soba in Nagano is known as Shinano soba or Shinshu soba, which refer to the same kind of soba. Shinshu refers to the Shinano province which was former Nagano prefecture. Soba, especially those from Togakushi, are known to be one of the best kinds of soba in Japan.

Another popular dish in Nagano is “oyaki”. The traditional Nagano dish oyaki is a steamed or broiled vegetable stuffed bun made from fermented buckwheat dough. The stuffing can vary from vegetables, fruit, and red bean paste. A popular kind of oyaki is the nozawana oyaki, buns filled with pickled greens. Oyaki is first roasted on an iron pan, then steamed or broiled.

Nagano | Arts and Crafts

Nagano | Arts and Crafts

Kiso shikki is a type of lacquer ware that has been produced in Nagano for approximately 600 years. Kiso is an area of Nagano and "shikki" refers to lacquer ware. Kiso lacquer ware is found in everyday objects including bowls, trays, lunch boxes, and tables. The finished product features several layers of beautiful lacquer colors and durability.

"Shinshu Nokogiri" is a type of saw that has been produced in Nagano Prefecture for over 200 years, since the Edo Period. Shinshu Nokogiri is used nationwide, favored for its sharp and sturdy blade.

Nagano | Festivals and Events

Nagano | Festivals and Events

Nozawa Fire Festival is among Japan's top three fire festivals. Every January, men of the age 25 and 42 take stage and lead the event. Prior to the event, wood is cut down and a large tower is built, which is called a shaden. The 42 year olds sit at top and protect from above while the 25 year olds stand guard at the base as the spectators, try to break through the guards and light the wooden shrine on fire. In Japan ages 25 and 42 are considered unlucky, so they believe that by participating in this event and winning the battle, they can purify their bad luck for the year. The lively battle can last up to four years and ends with the defense team giving up, due to excessive attack by men of all other ages. As if all the fire, charging, and shouting weren't enough, most of the participants and spectators usually drink a good amount of sake, getting them more excited and pumped up for the battle.

Nagano | Movie

Need Assistance? Call: USA/Canada 1-800-285-2726 Australia (02) 8006 4411 Contact Us Brochure
Convert multiple currencies