Culture / Tour 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.
  • 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.
  • Utsukushi-ga-Hara Open-Air Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Takeshikamihoniri 2085-70
    An outdoor sculpture museum located on the Utsukushigahara Highlands in Ueda City, Nagano Prefecture which displays some 350 modern art sculptures on a meadow 2,000 meters above sea level. Dotted with pieces by such famed domestic and international artists as César Baldaccini, Alexander Liberman, Izumi Ando, and Masuo Ikeda, the museum’s meadow is truly a stunning sight. The museum is also surrounded by magnificent mountains, and lovely mountain plants bloom from spring to fall. The museum is open from late April to mid-November.
  • 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.
  • Nagano Chausuyama Zoo
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Shinonoiutabi 570-1
    A zoo located on Mt. Chausu in Shinonoiutabi, Nagano City. The zoo is home to many animals and is divided into various areas such as a children's zoo where kids can play with rabbits and other small animals; a red panda forest; and an African plains area where visitors can be giraffes, zebras, and other large herbivores. The zoo also has a picnic area with an excellent view of the surrounding highlands.
  • Chihiro Art Museum Azumino
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Kitadumigunmatsukawamura Nishihara 3358-24
    This art museum located inside of the Azumino Chihiro Park in the Matsukawa Village district of Kita-Azumi County, Nagano Prefecture collects and displays works by picture book artists from around the world including Chihiro Iwasaki. In addition to displays about Chihiro’s representative works, related items, and career, the museum also introduces the history of picture books and a collection of original pictures from picture books around the world. The museum is complete with facilities sure to delight children such as a reading room where they can read their choice from approximately 3,000 picture books as well as a play area for small children. There is also a picture book café where visitors can relax while gazing out at Japan’s Northern Alps (Hida Mountains).
  • 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.
  • Nagano City Art Center
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Tsurugamidorichou 1613
    This complex is located in the Tsuruga Midori-cho area of Nagano City. A building complex with a building of the Nagano City Office, it is a distinctive cultural exchange complex. It is a multi-purpose facility including a main hall where concerts and events are held, theater practice rooms, an atelier and band practice rooms.
  • Suzaka Zoo
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Suzakashi Garyu 2-4-8
    A zoo located in Garyu Park in Garyu, Suzaka City. The park cares for 230 animals spanning some 50 species like capybara and Bengal tigers. The museum also displays stuffed examples of its animals that have passed away and a working D51 steam locomotive. The zoo holds a variety of events throughout the year like a nighttime zoo adventure, common animal exhibitions, and a ceremony celebrating the annual handoff from one animal in the Chinese zodiac to another.
  • 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.
  • Iida City Zoo
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Idashi Ougimachi 33
    A zoo situated along Mizunote-dori Street in Ogi-machi, Iida City. Specializing in small animals such as Humboldt penguins, meerkats, beavers, and wallabies, the zoo also keeps birds, including birds of prey; monkeys; and Japanese serow. The zoo also has a petting zoo area with ponies.
  • Tateshina Amusement Aquarium
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Chinoshi Kitayama 4035-2409
    An aquarium located close to Pilatus Tateshina Snow Resort in Kitayama, Chino City. Situated 1,750 meters above sea level, it is the highest aquarium in Japan. Specializing in freshwater fish, visitors can view lake and river fish from around the world, including pirarucu, the largest freshwater fish in the world. The aquarium also allows pets and has a dog park.
  • 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.
  • Shinshu Shinmachi Art Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Shinshushinmachikamijou 88-3
    The Shinshu Shinmachi Museum is a one-minute walk from the Bijutsukan Mae bus stop or a 40-minute drive from the Nagano Interchange. It is next to the Shinshu Shinmachi Fossil Museum and the Arishima Ikuma Museum. Visitors can buy a single ticket that admits them to all three museums. The more than 2600 works in the collection were all received from the artists or as gifts from donors. Among the most prominent works in the museum are watercolors of local scenery by Shin Kurihara and 200 woodblock prints by Kishio Koizumi, some of whose works are also in the Louvre. The exhibits are changed every few months.
  • Kiyoshi Yamashita/Horo Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Chinoshi Chino 2764-3
    "Located a five-minute drive from the Suwa Interchange and eight minutes from Chino Station, the Horo Museum is the first museum in Japan to have a permanent display of the works of Kiyoshi Yamashita, the vagabond artist who was affectionately known as ""the Naked General."" Most of his works were collages, but he also painted designs on ceramics, created pointillist paintings, sketches, and more. The opportunity to see so many kinds of his works is the main attraction of this museum. The texture of his collage is distinctive when viewed up close. Some of his works, like ""Niagara Fireworks and Spectators"", which has a fireworks display over Lake Suwa as its subject, or ""Suwa Shrine: Akimiya"", have deep local connections. The museum shop sells relevant books and folk crafts."
  • Shinshu Shinmachi Fossil Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Nagano-shi Shinshushinmachi Kamijo 88-3
  • Harmo Museum
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Suwa-gun Shimosuwamachi 10616-540
    15-minutes from the Chuo Expressway. This art museum, standing amidst the lush natural beauty on the bank of Lake Suwa, was opened on April 26, 1990 by industrial robot manufacturer Harmo's founder Tomio Hama and director Takako Seki. The museum's standing exhibition consists of works of Naive art which express a free sensitivity from a pure perspective, including nine rare pieces by Henri Rousseau. The museum has gained worldwide recognition for its distinctive concept. The museum also has a cafe where you can take a relaxing break and, on clear days, see all the way to Mt. Fuji.

Nagano Areas

around-area-map

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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