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History / Culture / Tour Spots in Nagano Area

  • Takahashi Setsuro Art Museum of Azumino
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Aduminoshi Hotakakitahotaka 408-1
    This lacquer art museum is located along Prefectural Route 307 in Hotakakitahotaka, Azumino City. You’ll find everything from traditional lacquerware to art made using new techniques pioneered by Setsuro Takahashi, a native of Hotaka. You’ll also find Takahashi’s parents’ home, which is a Registered Tangible Cultural Property and can give you an idea about what life in Azumino was like at the time.
  • Honjin Iwanami House
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Suwagunshimosuwamachi Yokomachi 3492
    The Honjin Iwanami House is a historical building that served as the official residence of a feudal lord and was located in the post town of Shimosuwa-shuku, where two of the “Five Highways,” the Nakasendo and the Koshu Road, intersected. It is said that many notable people, including great lords traveling due to the “alternate attendance” system, Imperial Princess Kazunomiya, Emperor Meiji, and others lodged here. The main areas preserve many of the articles from that time and are open to the public. There is also a gorgeous landscape stone garden that is said to have been the most beautiful garden along the Nakasendo.
  • Motozenkoji Temple
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    4.0
    78 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Idashi Zakouji 2638
    This temple is in Zakoji, Iida City. It is said to have been established in Yoshimitsu Honda’s hometown when he encountered Amida Buddha on his way to the capital in the 10th year of Empress Suiko’s reign (602). Afterwards, the Amida Buddha was transferred to Nagano City, where it is currently, and became established as Zenkoji Temple, which was named after Yoshimitsu. Visiting only Zenkoji Temple or Motozenkoji Temple is considered “unbalanced worship,” so many worshipers visit both.

    This is a must to visit site in the region. A very historical temple that comes in compact size that make it easy to see around. This temple is the original temple of the famous Zenkoji temple in...

  • North Alps Viewing Museum of Art (Ikeda Public Museum of Art)
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Kitadumigunikedamachi Aisome 7782
    You’ll find this art museum in “Azumino Ikeda Craft Park” located in Aisome, Ikeda Town. Daigoro Yamashita, Ikutaro Okuda, Takako Kojima, and Giichi Shinoda, all artists with deep connection to Azumino, have permanent exhibits here, and there are also special exhibitions from time to time. You can enjoy the view of the Northern Alps in the background as well.
  • Yatsugatake Museum of Art (Hara Village Historical Folk customs archives)
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    3.0
    3 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Suwagunharamura 17217-1611
    This village art museum is located along Prefectural Route 484 in Hara Village, Suwa County. You’ll find works by sculptor Takashi Shimizu and author Kakusen Tsugane, both Hara Village natives, as well as exhibits featuring Jomon-era earthenware and stoneware excavated after the village’s transfer. There are also special exhibits featuring Yatsugatake authors’ works. You’ll find a walking path around the museum, allowing you to survey outdoor sculptures and the natural scenery at the base of Mt. Yatsugatake.

    全国で初の村営の美術館です。原村出身の彫刻家・清水多嘉示の作品の常設展示に加えて、八ヶ岳周辺の縄文文化の出土品も展示されています。この美術館の一番良い点は、周りの緑に溶け込んでいる、建築家・村野藤吾の設計による大変ユニークな建物です。連続ドーム型で大変ユニークなデザインです。外から見てもおもしろいのですが、内部に入るととても気持ちの良い空間が広がり、周りの緑も見ながらゆっくり展示を見て回ることがで...

  • Shibu Takayakushi
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Prefecture Shimotakai gun Yamanouchi cho Shigubashi Onsen
    You’ll find this temple in Shibu Onsen, Yamanouchi Town. This is the last stop for visitors traveling to all nine public baths in Shibu Onsen. Bathing in all the springs and ascending the 78 stone steps from the ninth spring, “Shiba Oyu,” is said to ward off danger, promote safe and healthy childbirth, and grant long life and youth, among other benefits.
  • Shoujuan
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Iyamashi Iyama 1871
    This Zen monastery is located in Oaza Iiyama Kamikura, Iiyama City. Dokyo Etan, the son of Yukimura Sanada’s older brother, Nobuyuki Sanada, became a monk when he was young and traveled to many temples in Tohoku and elsewhere. After training, he returned and founded this monastery. His disciple, Hakuin Ekaku, is said to have achieved nirvana here.
  • Hakuba Saegusa Art Museum
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    3.0
    2 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Kitadumigunhakubamura Hokujou Misorano 2935
    You’ll find this art museum in Hokujo, Hakuba Village. The collection includes works by over 80 painters, including mountain artists Kazuo Tamura, Shinichiro Adachi and Daigoro Yamashita as well as Kiyoshi Yamashita, Yayoi Kusama, and others. The exhibits feature over 100 different works showcasing various perspectives of Hakuba and the Northern Alps (Hida Mountains). After enjoying the works, relax in the tea room while gazing at the over 300 types of flowers in the garden.

    ゆかりのある画家たちの作品が たくさん 収蔵しており 館長さんの 説明に感心したり驚いたり 感激しました。今となっては 貴重な絵がたくさんありました。来て良かったです。

  • Fukashi-jinja Shrine
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    4.0
    59 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Matsumotoshi Fukashi 3-7-43
    This shrine is located in 3 Fukashi, Matsumoto City. Miyamura Daimyojin, deified by Ogasawara Sadamune in 1339, and Tenmangu, deified by Ogasawara Sadatada in 1402, are also referred to as “Miyamura Ryosha” and “Miyamura Tenmangu” and were both worshipped by the lord of Matsumoto Castle. The final name of Fukashi-jinja Shrine was decided in 1841, and many in Matsumoto, the surrounding castle town, often worship there.

    not difficult to find, if you have already seen a number of shrines in Japan, don't expect anything new. if you are really into temples, no harm to quickly drop by.

  • Matsushiro Zozan Chikago
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    4.0
    83 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Matsushiromachi Nishijou 479-11
    Near the end of World War II, this underground vault was secretly built as the final base for the decisive battle on the mainland. It was dug under three locations: Mt. Maizuru, Mt. Minakami, and Mt. Zozan, like a square on a checkerboard. Extensions brought the total length to about 10 kilometers. From the start of the Heisei period, a sightseeing course in the zone managed by Nagano City about 500 meters large was created to display the war site.

    まず「この地下壕、使われなくて良かった。」もし、完成して運営されていたらと思うと“ぞっとします。”という感想に尽きます。松代大本営地下壕は、舞鶴山を中心に皆神山、象山に碁盤の目のように掘り抜かれた総延長約10キロメートル余りに及 んでいます。第二次世界大戦末期の本土決戦の最後の拠点となる極秘のうちに大本営、政府各省等を移設する計画として昭和十九年十一月十一日から翌昭和二十年八月十五日の終戦日までの...

  • Suzaka City Fureaikan Mayugura
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    3.0
    1 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Suzakashi Suzaka 387-2
    Suzaka flourished as a center of silk production, and this historic three-story building is a precious part of that legacy. It was used to store cocoons from which raw silk was obtained, and was eventually transferred to its present location due to city planning. The first floor and stair landing feature an exhibition space and rest area. It’s an eight-minute walk from Suzaka Station on the Nagano Line.

    蔵の町須坂にある無料の観光スポットです。明治時代の繭蔵を曳家移転したもので、当時の道具などが展示されています。休憩スペースもあり、お茶や漬物のもてなしもあります。

  • Kozenji Temple
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    4.5
    14 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Kisogunkisomachi Fukushima 5659
    Kozenji Temple, which contains Minamoto no Yoshinaka’s tomb and the biggest rock garden in the East, is one of Kiso’s three famous temples. There’s a well-known second-generation Shigure-zakura cherry tree planted by Minamoto no Yoshinaka himself, and it is illuminated every year from mid- to late April, giving it an almost ethereal appearance. This temple is about 25 minutes on foot from JR Kiso-Fukushima Station or five minutes by car.

    The temple grounds are free and open to the public. In the autumn the colorful leaves should make this a popular destination and we were surprised to be the only visitors there on a beautiful sunny...

  • Suwa city museum of ART
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    3.5
    12 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Suwashi Kogandori 4-1-14
    The Suwa city museum of ART is in a space converted from what used to be a “Memorial Hall” for Katakura Industries, which was built in 1943. It is Nagano Prefecture’s first public art museum. The museum opened in 1956 and is registered as a Tangible Cultural Property. It has a collection of nearly 1,400 items mainly focused on modern art, including works by artists both local and celebrated nationwide. It’s about a seven-minute walk from the west exit of JR Kami-Suwa Station.

    上諏訪の観光地公共温泉の片倉館の隣になります。 かつては教育施設として建設されて利用されてましたが今は改装されて美術館に成っています。 このビル自体が歴史的建造物です。 館内は長野出身の画家の作品が多数展示してありました。

  • Suwa Taisha (Suwa Grand Shrine) Shimosha Harumiya
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    4.0
    68 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Suwagunshimosuwamachi 193
    Suwa Taisha, one of the highest-ranked Ichinomiya shrines of the old Shinano Province, is said to be one of the oldest shrines in Japan and is the main shrine of the various Suwa shrines throughout the country. The granite torii gates at the entrance are said to have been built in 1659, evidence of its long history. The lower shrine holds various ceremonies, including “Senzasai” ceremonies which are said to have an influence on the Years of the Tiger and Monkey as well as biannual “Harumiya” and “Akimiya” ceremonies. It’s about 15 minutes from the Okaya Interchange on the Nagano Expressway.

    諏訪大社には上社と下社があるが社格に序列はないそうです。日本最古の神社の1つといわれるほど古くから存在し、上社前宮以外は本殿を持たず山や木を御神体とする古代信仰が息づく神社です。 なぜ上社と下社に合計四つ宮がある理由は不明で他にも謎が多い神社のようです。 諏訪大社下社春宮は同じ下社の秋宮とはご近所にあり、祭神は2月-7月までは春宮におり、8月-1月までは秋宮にいるといわれています。 建物は秋宮...

  • 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.
  • Usuda Star Dome
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    4.0
    4 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Sakushi Usuda 3113-1
    The Usuda Star Dome lets visitors enjoy a genuine stargazing experience, with a reflecting telescope featuring a 60-centimeter aperture being the main attraction. The “eyelid dome” and “sliding roof” where the telescopes are set up are bigger than normal domes and display countless stars in the night sky between observation sessions. When the weather isn’t good for stargazing, you can enjoy a star slideshow. It’s about a 20-minute drive from the Sakuminami Interchange on the Chubu-Odan Expressway.

    運動公園を通り過ぎた山頂付近にあるこじんまりとした天文台。夏は観測会を開催しているので調べてから行くべし。駐車場脇にキャンプできるスペースもあるし周辺の森も散策にオススメ。

  • Zensanji Temple
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    4.0
    43 Reviews
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Maeyama 300
    Zensanji Temple is said to have been initially opened in 812 as a sacred place where the monk Kukai is said to have honed his Homa ritual. The three-story “incomplete complete tower,” whose exact date of construction is not clear but is said to have been the beginning of the Muromachi period, is quite famous. You must try the temple’s famous homemade walnut bean cakes available in the temple kitchen reception room every year from the vernal equinox until around the end of November. It’s about a 30-minute drive from the Ueda Sugadaira Interchange on the Joshin-Etsu Expressway.

    上田市にあるとても静かな古刹です。薬医門をくぐると三重塔、本堂があり、とても静かな境内です。三重塔は未完成の完成といわれる美しい塔で、本堂はかやぶきで、とても趣のある建物です。

  • “Mugonkan” Memorial Art Museum for Fallen Art Students
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    4.5
    12 Reviews
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Koaso 3462
    Mugonkan was born when Seiichiro Kuboshima acquired half the Shinshu Dessan Building in 1997 to exhibit works left behind by art students who fell in battle. You can see exhibitions of fallen students’ art pieces and easels. It’s about 30 minutes by car from the Sakaki Interchange on the Joshin-Etsu Expressway.

    無言館に続いて見てきた。戦争に動員されて亡くなった画学生の書いた絵・手紙・写真の展示です。もう二度とこのような悲惨なことはしないで下さい。

  • Togakushi Shrine Hinomikosha
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Togakushi
    Togakushi Shrine contains a number of legends and myths. The Hinomikosha building onsite was built in 1098, and Amanouzume, who is said to have danced in front of the rock door, is the main deity worshipped here along with three others. She is revered as the deity of dance and performance, marriage, and fire protection, and many worshipers come to pay their respects. On the shrine grounds, there is a tree over 500 years old that is called the “Cedar of Bonds,” and it serves as a popular “power spot.” This shrine is about 30 minutes from the Shinanomachi Interchange on the Joshin-Etsu Expressway.
  • Koumi-machi Kougen Museum of Art
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Nagano Pref. Minamisakugunkoumimachi Toyosato 5918-2
    The Koumi-machi Kougen Museum of Art opened in 1997 and primarily showcases collections of works from the late Kesao Kuribayashi, a painter and former member of the “Kokugakai” society as well as a Koumi-machi local, and the late Tatsuzo Shimaoka, a potter who was a designated a Living National Treasure. Located at the foot of Mt. Yatsugatake, this art museum is at harmony with the surrounding environment and is famous for its unique exhibits on local artists, modern art, architecture, design, and more. It’s about one hour by car from the Sutama Interchange on the Chuo Expressway.

Nagano Main 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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