Leisure / Outdoors Spots in Nagano Area

  • Jigokudani Yaen-koen
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Shimotakaigunyamanouchimachi Hirao 6845
    This is a park where you can watch bathing monkeys in a hot spring and it is also popular with foreign tourists as a place to see “snow monkeys”. All the monkeys in the park are wild and enter the hot spring in order to be able to endure the cold temperatures of the severe winters which can reach minus 10°C. The park is located in the valley of Yokoyu River which brims with rustic beauty, and is located 30 minutes by foot from the free parking lot at Kanbayashi hot spring.
  • Karuizawa Prince Shopping Plaza
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Kitasakugunkaruizawamachi Karuizawa
    A gigantic shopping mall and virtual landmark in Karuizawa. With a total of seven parking areas, shoppers visiting by car are encouraged to look up which stores they are most interested in before choosing where to park. In addition to fashion brands, the mall also contains a shop selling Karuizawa sweets and jams, making it the perfect place to pick up a few souvenirs as well. Children can play to their hearts’ content in the spacious outdoor kids park.
  • Daio Wasabi Farm
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Aduminoshi Hotaka 3640
    This vast wasabi farm in Azumino spans a space equal to 11 Tokyo Domes. Entry is free and the farm is open every day year-round. In addition to wasabi fields and a processing plant, visitors can enjoy the tranquil waterside scenery, including a water mill used in a Kurosawa’s film. The farm’s shop sells unique products found nowhere else such as wasabi soft serve ice cream and wasabi-don rice bowls. If traveling by train, a 10-minute taxi ride from Hotaka Station on the JR Oito Line.
  • Harunire Terrace
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Kitasakugunkaruizawamachi Nagakura 2148
    Located in a commercial facility that serves as the entrance to the Hoshino Area in Karuizawa Town, Kitasaku County, Nagano Prefecture, the concept of this store is “everyday Karuizawa.” Taking on the role as the hot spring town for Hoshino Onsen Tombo-no-Yu, it features 15 stores that include restaurants and shops. Inside the facility which features a wood deck construction and nine buildings is a space full of abundant scenery that incorporates a grove of more than 100 Japanese elm trees which had been growing there naturally. There are also book cafes and unique miscellaneous good shops, and visitors can experience the vacation home life that is typical of Karuizawa.
  • Komoro Castle Otemon Gate
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Komoroshi Ote 1-150
    Famous as an example of large gate architecture representative of eastern Japan, this castle gate is inside Otemon Park located in Komoro City, Nagano Prefecture. Inside the turret, there are limited time special exhibitions that are free to view. In addition, it has been selected as a nationally-designated Important Cultural Property, making it visited by many tourists.
  • Postal Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Kisogunnagisomachi Aduma 2197-5
    This historical museum is located in Nagiso Town, Kiso County, Nagano Prefecture, and adjoins the Tsumago Post Office, which is still in use today. Tsumago Post Office was featured in Toson Shimazaki’s “Before the Dawn,” and was restored under the guidance of the current Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications in fiscal year 1978. It has Japan’s only black mail box modeled after that in use when the post office first opened. Inside you can find Japan’s first stamp, the actual marks used before the current postal mark, correspondence from Toson Shimazaki’s older brother and niece, and other items for a total of approximately 270 articles being stored and exhibited.
  • Tateishi Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Suwashi Kamisuwa
    Tateishi Park offers great views of the urban landscape, Lake Suwa, Okaya, Shimosuwa Town, and even the Northern Alps (Hida Mountains) during fair weather. The panoramic sunset view has earned widespread acclaim, and it is ranked among the 100 best sunset spots in Shinshu, the “New Japan Top Three Night Views,” and the “Top 100 Night Views.” It is also known as a natural habitat of Japan’s national butterfly, the giant purple butterfly. It is about 30 minutes by car from the Suwa Interchange on the Chuo Expressway.
  • Matsumoto City Museum of Art
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Matsumotoshi Chuou 4-2-22
    This is a private art museum in the center of Matsumoto City. The museum houses a collection of pieces by artists connected to Matsumoto City such as world-famous avant-garde artist Yayoi Kusama, calligrapher Shinzan Kamijo, and lifelong Shinshu (Nagano) natural vista painter Kazuo Tamura. Special exhibitions and exhibitions of works submitted by the general public are held at the museum several times each year. A 12-minute walk from JR Matsumoto Station.
  • Hiroshi Senju Museum Karuizawa
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Kitasakugunkaruizawamachi Nagakura 815
    Located in Karuizawa Town, Kitasaku County, Nagano Prefecture, this private art museum exhibits the works it owns created by artist Hiroshi Senju, a modern Japanese painter who is active around the world. The building was designed by architect Ryue Nishizawa and has large glass windows that give it a bright and spacious atmosphere. It also has a beautiful garden with various trees and plants, and is a creative space that achieves harmony with nature. The museum holds exhibitions that introduce Senju’s works as well as special exhibitions according to different themes. There are also a bakery café and shop, and guests can relax and enjoy art and nature.
  • Japan Ukiyo-e Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Matsumotoshi Shimadachi New cut 2206-1
    The Sakai collection, as it is called, started with the woodblock prints of sixth-generation Yoshiaki Heisuke Sakai. It was the10th-generation Fujiyoshi Sakai who took the works spanning a period of 200 years and established the Japan Ukiyo-e Museum in 1982 in order to share the precious collection, which includes handwritten works and woodblock-printed books, with the rest of the world. It is the largest collection of 19th-century woodblock prints in the world. It’s a minute by car from the Matsumoto Interchange on the Nagano Expressway.
  • Chubusangaku National Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Toyama prefecture, Nagano prefecture, Gifu prefecture, Niigata prefecture
    It is a national park that was established as one of Japan’s earliest and consists of mountains of the Northern Alps such as the Ushiro-Tateyama Mountain Range, Tateyama Mountain Range and Hotaka Mountain Range. It is home to various organisms that are renowned in Kamikochi such as the Japanese black pine butterfly and the Japanese rock ptarmigan. There are many scenic spots such as Tsugaike Nature Park and Kamikochi and is gaining popularity mainly by climbers. In the area there are many visitor centers, information centers, and museums, making it a base for sight-seeing and climbing. At Sawatari National Park Gate, multilingual brochures are available.
  • Usui Pass Observatory
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Kitasakugunkaruizawamachi Tougemachi
    An observatory park located in Toge-machi, Karuizawa Town. Situated 1,200 meters above sea level on the border between Nagano Prefecture and Gunma Prefecture, visitors can enjoy a view of the surrounding scenery, including Mt. Asama, Yatsugatake, and the Myogi Mountain Range. The park also has a walking path which can be used as a hiking course.
  • Lala Matsumoto
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Matsumotoshi Shimauchi 7412
    A sports facility located in Shimauchi, Matsumoto City. The facility has an indoor wave pool, flowing pool, and waterslides. There are also tennis courts and other indoor sports courts, a baseball diamond and other outdoor sports fields, bathing rooms, and a rest area. The facility makes use of the heat and electricity generated by the adjoining Matsumoto Clean Center garbage incineration plant.
  • Matsumoto Alps Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Matsumotoshi Arigasaki 2455-11
    A park located in Arigasaki, Matsumoto City. The park has a zoo and hosts the Matsumotoshi Yama to Natural Museum, which offers a sweeping view of the Hida Mountains (Northern Alps). There's also a 630 meter long coaster slide and variety of other playground equipment. From adults to children, the whole family can enjoy an entire day here.
  • The Home of Ninja Kids’ Ninja Village
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Togakushi 3193
    Located in “Togakureryu Ninja Town” Togakushi, Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture, this experience-based amusement park is based on ninjas and ninjutsu. With trick houses, ninja manors and other buildings, there’s also field athletics that constitute ninja training, like “water-spider technique.” There’s enough for kids and adults to have a fun time. The resource museum is also popular, with its comprehensive collection of ninja goods, historical materials, as well as manga and movies that cover ninjas. You can even rent fun ninja costumes.
  • Matsumoto Timepiece Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Matsumotoshi Chuou 1-21-15
    This museum displays a wide range of timepieces centering on a collection donated by antique timepiece researcher Chikazo Honda. The museum has a policy of displaying each timepiece in its collection (which contains more than 1,000 items) in working condition whenever possible. The museum also exhibits a number of phonographs, which have a deep connection to the history of timepieces. The museum is notable for the massive pendulum clock, one of Japan's largest, which is built into the front of the building. The museum is a 10-minute walk from JR Matsumoto Station.
  • Rokuzan Art Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Aduminoshi Hotaka 5095-1
    This facility was opened in 1958 with the goal of preserving the works of Rokuzan Ogiwara, nicknamed the “Rodin of the East.” In addition to his masterpiece carvings such as “Woman” and “Despair,” the museum also displays the works of Kotaro Takamura, who was deeply connected to Rokuzan. The impressive building, covered in ivy and church-like in appearance, is beloved as a symbol of the Azumino region. A 10-minute walk from JR Hotaka Station.
  • Japanese Light Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Kamitakaigunobusemachi Obuse 973
    This museum, focusing on Japanese lights and lighting, is located in the center of Obuse Town. Centering around the Kitashinano and Surrounding Area Lamp—Masami Kanebako Lamp Collection, a nationally designated Important Cultural Property, the museum displays a variety of works and crafts connected with lamps, lights, and lighting. The museum also offers a candle-making workshop (advance reservation required).
  • The Museum of Contemporary Art, Karuizawa
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Kitasakugunkaruizawamachi Nagakura 2052-2
    This art museum collects and exhibits works with a theme of ''artists who crossed the oceans.'' Its primary collection features works by artists including Yayoi Kusama, Yoshitomo Nara, Shusaku Arakawa, Atsuko Tanaka, and Ayako Rokkaku. The museum also features a gallery where visitors can purchase artwork. Admission includes a complementary cup of tea and a snack, allowing visitors to soak up impressions of the artwork at a relaxed pace. The museum closes over the winter from late November to mid-April. It is a five-minute drive from JR Karuizawa Station.
  • Joshin’etsukogen National Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano prefecture, Niigata prefecture, Gunma prefecture
    It is a national park that consists of a plateau, Mt. Kusatsu-Shirane, Mt. Asama, and other mountain ranges with famous mountains ranked in Japan’s top 100 famous mountains. There are many highlights in the area such as Mt. Tanigawa which is known as a rock climbing mecca and one of Japan’s three major rock walls, and Mt. Naeba which boasts of having the most snowfall in Japan. Yunoaru Plateau is also a famous place for azaleas, and there are hot spring resorts including Kusatsu Onsen. You can enjoy winter sports especially in the winter season, and also watch wild Japanese snow monkeys enter hot springs and many tourists both domestic and international visit.

Nagano Areas

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Nagano prefecture is an exciting mix of mountains, hot spring monkeys, and preserved Edo history. At the heart of the Japanese Alps, Nagano is one of the country's most popular destinations, whether in winter for its snow sports and the much-loved Jigokudani Monkey Park or in the warmer months for discovering the undulating hills on foot. For fantastic Edo architecture, head to the Kiso Valley for a 60-kilometer stretch of quaint wooden buildings that marked the Nakasendo route 200 years ago.

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