Shrine Spots in Nagano Area

  • Togakushi-jinja Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Togakushi
    Togakushi-jinja Shrine is located at the foot of Mt. Togakushi, Nagano City and consists of five shrines each named Okusha, Chusha, Hokosha, Kuzuryusha and Hinomikosha. It is said that the temple’s origins lie in the Iwato legend of mythology, and has been worshiped by many people as a sacred place since ancient times. The avenue of 400-year-old cedar tree which cover the approach road to Okusha have a powerful lure and this area was also used as a shooting location by commercials. There are also points on the road between the shrines with steep drops, so it is recommended to wear clothes which are easy to walk in if you plan to walk around by foot.
  • Suwa Taisha (Suwa Grand Shrine) Kamisha Honmiya
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Suwashi Nakasu 1
    Suwa Taisha (Suwa Grand Shrine) Kamisha Honmiya, one of the oldest shrines in the country and the head shrine of over 10,000 Suwa shrines throughout Japan, has no main building, but only a “heihaiden” and a “katahaiden,” a unique style known as the Suwa style. Many precious buildings remain, and six of them are registered as Important Cultural Properties. In olden times, people worshiped at Suwa Myojin to pray to the guardian deities of wind, water, and the harvest, as well as brave men. Nowadays, it is believed to house the deity that guards life and livelihood. It’s about five minutes from the Suwa Interchange on the Chuo Expressway.
  • Togakushi Shrine Okusha (Main Shrine)
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Togakushi Okusha
    Togakushi Shrine is the general name given to five shrines scattered around the foot of the sacred Mt. Togakushi in Nagano City, Nagano Prefecture: Okusha, Chusha, Hokosha, Kuzuryusha, and Hinomikosha. The Okusha is in a spot located around a two-kilometer walk along a 2.5-kilometer roadway from Chusha. The enshrined deity is Amanotajikarao-no-Mikoto. Passing under the Zuishinmon gate along the shrine road, one will come upon a line of Japanese cedar trees 400 years old which makes for a mystical backdrop as you proceed down the road. It is the main shrine of Togakushi Shrine, and a spot where a great many people come to pray for better fortune, fulfillment of their heart’s desires, good harvests and sports victories.
  • Togakushi Shrine Chusha
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Togakushi 3506
    The enshrined deity is Ame no Yagokoro Omoikane no Mikoto, the originator of Iwato Kagura (sacred dance). Kagura is a collective term given to the theatrical dances that are dedicated to the God of the shrine at festival time. In Japanese mythology there is a story about Ama-no-Iwato (literally “The cave of the sun goddess”) where Ame no Yagokoro Omoikane no Mikoto created the chance for Amaterasu (the Sun Goddess), who was hiding in the cave, to open the door and come out. The divine virtues of this shrine are good luck, warding off evil, prosperous business, peace and prosperity in the household and academic achievement. The dragon painting on the ceiling of the main shrine was painted by Kawanabe Kyosai of the Kano School and was restored in 2003. In the grounds of the shrine is a sacred tree over 700 years old.
  • Suwa Grand Shrine Shimosha Akimiya
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Suwagunshimosuwamachi 5828
    A Shinto shrine located in Shimosuwa Town, Suwa County, Nagano Prefecture. The Akimiya is one of six shrines which comprise Suwa Grand Shrine, the head shrine of some 25 thousand Suwa shrines located across the country. Worshipped for providing abundant harvests and granting bravery since ancient times, in recent times the shrine has also come to be worshipped for protecting life and livelihood. The Kagura-den hall, with an eye-catching giant rope hanging in front, and the two-storied Heihai-den (worship and offering hall) are designated Important Cultural Properties. Other shrine highlights include the Neiri no Sugi, an 800-year old Japanese cedar tree. The shrine is famous for the Ombashira Festival held every seven years, as well as the Boat Festival (Ofune Matsuri) held on August 1.
  • Suwa Taisha (Suwa Grand Shrine) Shimosha Harumiya
    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.
  • Suwa Grand Shrine Kamisha Maemiya
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Chinoshi Miyagawa 2030
    One of the shrine buildings on the grounds of Suwa Grand Shrine standing along National Route 152 in Miyagawa, Chino City. Suwa Grand Shrine is the head shrine of all Suwa Shrines in the country. The area where this shrine building is located is believed to be the location where the god worshipped by these shrines, Suwa Daimyojin, first took up residence, and as such can be considered the origin point of the Suwa faith.
  • Hotaka-jinja Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Aduminoshi Hotaka 6079
    This shrine in Nagano Prefecture’s Azumino City is frequented by believers who pray to the deity of land and sea transportation and industry. It is actually comprised of three places, the Hongu main shrine located close to JR Hotaka Station, the Okumiya rear shrine in Kamikochi and a small shrine atop the summit of Mt. Okuhotaka, and is famous as the sochinju (local Shinto deity) of the Japan Alps. Within the premises of the Hongu are the main shrine in Midono-style, a kagura hall, Wakamiya shrine, and two Japanese zelkova trees which have been designated as Azamino City Designated Natural Monuments. The Ofune Matsuri or “Boat Festival” in which boat-shaped floats adorned with Hotaka ningyo dolls are collided together takes place every year on September 27, and the event is attended by many worshippers.
  • Kumano Kotai-jinja Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Kitasakugunkaruizawamachi Tougemachi 2
    Located at the top of Usui Pass, at an elevation of 1200 meters, is an historical old shrine that is said to have built by Yamato Takerunomikoto who appears in the legend of the Kojiki · Nihon Shoki. The shrine was built on the border between Nagano Prefecture and Gunma Prefecture, and is unique, unparalleled nationally in that it is one shrine servicing two religious corporations.
  • Togakushi-jinja Shrine Hokosha
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Togakushi Treasure Co.
    Togakushi-jinja Shrine is a longstanding shrine located on the sacred Mt. Togakushi that consists of the rear shrine, central shrine, Hoko shrine (Hokosha), Kuzuryu shrine, and Hinomiko shrine. The deity Uwaharu is enshrined in the Hokosha, and is said to be the deity of academic discovery, the arts, needlework, safe birth, women and children. It’s about 30 minutes from the Shinanomachi Interchange on the Joshin-Etsu Expressway.
  • Sanada-jinja Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Ninomaru Ueda castle ruins park
    Sanada-jinja Shrine has the lords of Ueda Castle—Sanada, Sengoku, and Matsudaira—as its primary enshrined deities. After the Meiji Restoration, it was reclaimed by the government, sold to a private owner, and built on remains of Ueda Castle. You can see the large Sanada well and a big helmet decorated with a Cervus horn said to have been worn by Yukimura Sanada himself. It’s a 15-minute walk from JR Ueda Station, or about 15 minutes from the Ueda Sugadaira Interchange on the Nagano Expressway.
  • Yohashira-jinja Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Matsumotoshi Ote 3-3-20
    This shrine located in the Ote district of Nagano Prefecture’s Matsumoto City mainly enshrines four deities: Ame-no-Minakanushi-no-Kami, Takamimusubi-no-Kami, Kamimusubi-no-Kami, and Amaterasu Omikami. It attracts fervent believers as the deity who connects wishes and makes all requests come true and is also popular as a “power spot” (a location thought to be flowing with mystical energy). Among the locals it is affectionately called Shinto-san. The Shinto Festival is a procession that is held every year from October 1st–3rd, and is a representative festival of Matsumoto bustling with yatai food stalls, exhibitions of butai-hoei floats and an offering of fireworks.
  • Ikushima Tarushima-jinja Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Shimonogou Naka Pond 701
    A Shinto shrine standing along Prefectural Route 65 in Shimonogo, Ueda City. Dedicated to the gods Ikushima no Kami and Tarushima no Kami, just when the shrine was founded is not clear. The shrine is, however, ancient and pedigreed, having been worshipped at by successive generations of emperors and numerous samurai. The shrine possesses many valuable ancient texts designated National Important Cultural Property, including a written request of victory by Takeda Shingen and a document recognizing the shrine's ownership of the land.
  • 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.
  • Togakushi Shrine Kuzuryusha
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Togakushi Okusha
    Sitting to the left of the main shrine of Okusha, Kuzuryusha, of the Togakushi Shrine, is dedicated to the Kuzuryu (nine-headed dragon) ‘land-master’ deity. One theory states that the Kuzuryu was a demon with nine heads and a dragon’s tail. This demon then changed into the deity of water. It is also worshiped as the god of bad teeth. People with bad teeth offer a pear to the god, said to be the food liked by Kuzuryu, the people then no longer eat pears and pray for good health. By doing so, it was said that the decayed tooth will heal. Kuzuryu is also revered as a rainmaking and matchmaking god.
  • Fukashi-jinja Shrine
    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.
  • Tsukama Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Matsumoto-shi Tsukama 2-6-1
    A Shinto shrine which can be reached by leaving from Agatanomori Park, traveling south along Prefectural Route 63, and crossing the Chikuma Bridge. The shrine is also known as the Kofu Hachimangu. The current main shrine building is believed to have been rebuilt in 1439 by Ogasawara Masayasu, then governor of the region; the building is quite large in comparison with other shrines, and due to its Muromachi period-style architecture, it has been designated a National Important Cultural Property. Other highlights include a front shrine building designated a Prefectural Treasure, and a shrine belfry designated an Important Cultural Property by the city. Dedicated to Emperor Oujin and Empress Jingu, the shrine's Ofune Shinji boat festival, held on August 10th and 11th, attracts large numbers of visitors.
  • Shiono Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Ueda-shi Maeyama
    "A Shinto shrine situated at the foot of the northern peak of Mt. Tokko. The history of this shrine stretches back so far, it is even mentioned in the ""Nihon Sandai Jitsuroku,"" a history text compiled in 901. Although the shrine is believed to be dedicated to Susanoo-no-Mikoto, it has long been venerated as the site of a water god by local residents. It is also said that the might Takeda Shingen once shuinjo red seal license to the shrine to pray for his continued good fortunes in battle. The main shrine building is believed to have been built in the Edo period; extremely unusual for a Shinto shrine in the prefecture, the front shrine is a two story structure and a valuable architectural example. A sacred bridge on the shrine grounds is known as ""taiko bridge"" due to its elegant arch resembling a taiko drum."
  • Okotto Suwa Shrine Upper Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Suwa-gun Fujimimachi Okkoto 5410
    A Shinto shrine located in Nagano Prefecture. One of the auxiliary shrines of Suwa Taisha Shrine, the shrine holds its own Onbashira Festival in line with Suwa Taisha Shrine's Onbashira Festival held once every seven years. The Shaden main shrine building was once the Heihaiden worship hall of the what later became Suwa Taisha Shrine which was later moved here, but this burned down in 1948; the current building is a reconstruction and thus only its original Heihaiden is designated an Important Cultural Property. Visitors can only view the Heihaiden and Honden front shrine beyond a fence, but the stunning original carvings on the buildings can be seen.
  • Nyakuichioji Shrine
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Omachi-shi Omachi Tawaramachi 2097
    This Shinto shrine is famous for its large scale children's traditional yabusame horseback archery event and is ranked alongside the Tsurugaoka Hachimangu in Kamakura and Kyoto's Kamo Shrine as one of Japan's three greatest Shinto horseback archery shrines. Records state the shrine was founded in 849. The Honden front shrine reflects late Muromachi period regional tastes and is a single bay shrine with a pillar at each of its four corners built in the sumigi-iri Kasuga-zukuri style. The shrine has been designated an Important Cultural Property.

Nagano Areas


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.

Nagano Photo Album

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