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Nature Spots in Nagano Area

  • Lake Suwa
    Travel / Tourism
    Suwa City, Nagano Prefecture
    Lake Suwa, the largest lake in Shinshu, has a circumference of about 16 kilometers. Here you can enjoy lengthy walks and jogging as well as pleasure cruises and boat trips on the lake. From autumn through to winter keen anglers can fish for wakasagi (a variety of smelt). The Lake Suwa Fireworks Festival, one of Japan’s largest firework displays, is held at the lake in summer with an incredible 40,000 fireworks lighting up the night sky. The huge fireworks display unsurprisingly attracts huge numbers of people each year.
  • Shiraito Falls
    Travel / Tourism
    Karuizawa-cho, Kitasaku-gun, Nagano Prefecture
    The result of underground water welling out of bare rock, Shiraito Falls has a thin stream of water almost like a strand of silk with beautiful lines of water and white spray falling down. The refreshing sight is one of Karuizawa’s representative sightseeing spots. In the winter, icicles are artificially created using water gushing forth from the waterfall, producing a fantastical atmosphere.
  • Lake Shirakaba
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Chinoshi Kitayama Shirakabako
    Lake Shirakaba, with a circumference of four kilometers, was originally a pond created as a reservoir for farm use. You’ll find an amusement park, golf course, ski resort, hotels, and other facilities around this area, making it one of Shinshu’s top resort spots. Throngs of people visit every year.
  • Shiga Highlands
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    Travel / Tourism
    Shiga Kogen in Shimokitai-gun Nagano-machi, Nagano Prefecture
    Located at an altitude of over 1,000 meters, the Shiga Highlands occupy the bulk of the central area of Joshin’etsu-kogen National Park. This resort area features lakes, marshes, and bogs of all sizes, and you can enjoy physical activities such as trekking in summer and skiing in winter. The rich natural scenery is intimately intertwined with people’s lives, and in fact, this area has been designated a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.

    If you go to Japan before November and would like to see autumn leaves, this is the place. Great lake, great water fall, great mountain. Easy access by bus. Easy access from Shibu onsen where we...

  • Takabocchi Highlands
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Shiojirishi Kataoka
    A highland situated along the Takabocchi Skyline road in Kataoka, Shiojiri City. Sprawling at the foot of 1,665-meter-tall Mt. Takabocchi, the highland is a renowned picturesque destination and offers a 360 panoramic view of the area, including Lake Suwa, Yatsugatake, Mt. Fuji, and the Akaishi Mountains.
  • Kamikochi
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Matsumotoshi Adumi
    Kamikochi is an approximately 1,500 meter high gorge in the Chubu Sangaku National Park. Known as one of the top mountain scenic spots in the country it is designated as a special place of scenic beauty and natural monument. It is a gateway to the Northern Alps (Hida Mountains) and many tourists, mainly climbers and photographers visit each year. To help protect the environment the use of cars is restricted so it is recommended to use a shuttle bus service or taxi.
  • Shibu Pass
    Travel / Tourism
    Yamanouchi cho, Shimokitai-gun, Nagano Prefecture
    The Shibu Pass, spanning between Nagano and Gunma Prefectures boasts a stone marker indicating the highest peak over which a national highway travels; National Route 292 running between Mt. Yokote and Mt. Shirane. The view from the peak can take your breath away. It overlooks the extensive Yoshigadaira Marshlands in which the luscious green of the trees and the wetlands intermingle. At dawn, the sea of clouds, softly glowing from the rays of the sun is a glorious sight to see.
  • Bungui Pass
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Shimoinagunoshikamura Kashio
    "A pass situated along the Akiha Kaido road in Haseichinose, Ina City. Located directly over the Median Tectonic Line, a large fault zone, the area is said to be a strong mystical ""power spot"" with a zero magnetic field. On weekends and holidays, the area sees many visitors, and accordingly traffic is restricted on nearby roads, requiring visitors to make use of a shuttlebus to reach it."
  • Mt. Arafune
    Travel / Tourism
    Gunma Prefecture Takara-gun Shimanita-cho, Nagano Prefecture Saku City
    This is a famous mountain located in the Myogi-Arafune-Saku Kogen Quasi-National Park in the southwestern part of Gumma Prefecture. The mountain has an altitude of 1,423 meters is one of 200 hundred famous mountains in Japan. The mountain became a table-shaped plateau after many years of erosion. It is said that it was named because the flat top and the steep cliffs looks like a ship breaking through rough waves. The cliffs are an overwhelming 200 meters high. Many climbers visit throughout the year and as there are several climbing courses, you can choose the route best suited to your skills.
  • Nogaike Pond
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Kaminagunmiyadamura
    This pond on Mt. Kisokoma is a tarn that was carved out by glacial activity along with the surrounding landscape. The scenery reflects beautifully in the surface of the water. To reach Nogaike Pond, you take the Komagatake Ropeway to Senjojiki Station. From there it's a long hike on a mountain trail. Most of it is rugged and there are places where you need to use the attached ropes to climb over bare rock.
  • Mt. Ontake
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Kisogunoutakimura Kiso Town
    Mt. Ontake, which is located on the boundary of Nagano Prefecture and Gifu Prefecture, is the second highest volcano in Japan after Mt. Fuji, rising to a height of 3,067 meters. Since ancient times, Mt. Ontake was renowned as a sacred mountain, and attracted practitioners of Shugendo (a form of mountain asceticism that combines elements of Shintoism and Buddhism); it is still an object of veneration to this day. Visitors can travel up to the Seventh Station via the Ontake Ropeway; from there, it takes around one hour to walk to the Eighth Station, which is a marvelous place for viewing the autumn foliage (the autumn foliage is at its best from late September through to early October). In summer, from late June through into July, there are many beautiful alpine plants to be seen on the mountain slopes. The restrictions on entering areas near the summit of the volcano are gradually being relaxed, and safety measures have been strengthened, with the establishment of new shelters, etc.
  • Amekawa Dam
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Sakushi Taguchi
    This check dam is on the Amekawa River, which has its source in the vicinity of Taguchi Pass. While it was built to stop avalanches, it is also used to supply water for agriculture and household use. As such, it holds a high volume of water, and it is unusual for a check dam. The emerald green water creates some unique scenery. Following the road from the reservoir into the forest far enough will bring you to the point farthest from the coast in Japan.
  • Karasawa Falls
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Sugadairakougen 1223
    Located a five-minute walk away from the Haneo or Besso Iriguchi bus stops or a 25-minute drive from the Ueda Sugadaira Interchange, Karasawa Falls is at the entrance to the Sugadaira Highland, which stretches for 1300 square kilometers in the foothills of Mount Nekodake and Mount Azumaya. The falls are 15 meters high and 10 meters wide, and after a heavy rainfall or other times when the volume of water is high, the falls look like a white curtain. It is attractive for the varying beauty that it exhibits in all seasons: lush greenery in early summer, colorful leaves in the fall. Nearby is Iwakage Iseki, an archeological site from the prehistoric Jomon period.
  • Sanseiji
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Higashichikumagunikusakamura Higashihirotsu
    Sanseiro is a gorge located about a 20-minute drive from the Omi Interchange or 25 minutes from Akashina Station. A village bus runs to the gorge from Akashina Station on weekdays. It has long had a reputation for scenic beauty, and it has been designated one of the best 100 Scenic Site in the Shinshu region. Azaleas and wisteria flourish there in the spring, and in the fall, colored leaves adorn the rocks, and they can be enjoyed along with the Saigawa River. Within the park are one of the famous 100 statues of the goddess Kannon and the bodhisattva Jizo along with Sanseiro Bridge. The Ikusaka Village Museum is also there, and its grounds can be used as a parking lot for sightseers. Boat tours down the river are available from July 1st to late September.
  • Sashikiri Gorge
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Higashichikumagunchikuhokumura Sakakita
    Located 15 minutes by bus from Chikuhoku Station or a 15-minute drive from the Omi Interchange, Sashikiri Ravine was created by the Omigawa River flowing through layers of conglomerate and sandstone. It was designated a Prefectural Nature Park in 1965. Easy access has been one of its attractions, due to the New Sashikiri Road. It has been chosen as one of Nagano Prefecture's 100 best attractions. Not only does it feature rock formations, caves, and waterfalls but it is also a recommended site for viewing autumn leaves from late October to early November. The Dragon King Festival, based on the legend of the eight-headed dragon Orochi, is held on the first Sunday in August.
  • Lake Miwa
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Inashi Hasemizokuchi
    This artificial lake is located about a forty-minute drive from Ina Interchange. Notable for its long and slender shape, the lake stretches from north to south. The area around the lake has a variety of facilities such as soccer pitches and athletic fields. It was created when the Mibu River was dammed for the purposes of flood control, irrigation, and hydroelectric power. The concrete gravity dam holds back a volume of water equivalent to about 24 Tokyo Domes. One of the area’s appeals is the different seasonal scenery of its many photogenic spots, whether it is views of cherry blossoms from the Miwa Dam parking lot in spring, fields of rice and vegetables in the summer, or frozen landscapes in the winter.
  • Arafune Lake
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Sakushi Uchiyama
    This lake is located inside of the Uchiyama Farm Camping Ground along the Myogi-Arafune forest road in Uchiyama, Saku City. A promenade has been built on the side of the lake and visitors can view the Asamafuro, a near-threatened species of geranium, that grow in mass on the lakeshore from July to August. The lake also has a fishing pond (anglers must bring their own fishing equipment).
  • Lake Inako / Lake Choko
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Minamisakugunkoumimachi Toyosato 4253-1
    These lakes are located along Prefectural Route 480 in Toyosato, Koumi Town, Minamisaku County. Of all the nearby lakes often collectively referred to as Matsubara Lake, Lake Inako and Lake Choko are especially popular as Japanese crucian carp fishing spots. From April to October, anglers can enjoy fishing on a more than 1,000-meter-high plateau. In the winter, it is possible to go ice fishing for Japanese pond smelt. Visitors can also commune with nature by strolling the lakeside promenade.
  • Matsubarako Highland
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Minamisakugunkoumimachi Toyosato 5918-2
    This plateau is located in Toyosato, Koumi Town, Minamisaku County near Lake Inako, Lake Choko, and Lake Otsuki, which are collectively referred to as Lake Matsubara. It features a variety of facilities including hot springs and camp grounds as well as sporting facilities such as a skating center and tennis courts. Visitors can also enjoy activities such as boating and strolling along the lakeshore. Anglers can fish for Japanese crucian carp on the lake and even go ice fishing for Japanese pond smelt in the winter.
  • Saigawa Hakucho Lake
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Azumino Toyoshina
    A lake in Toyoshina, Azumino City. A dammed portion of the Saigawa River, it has been known for its swans since 1984 when tundra swans first arrived. There are observation shelters and feeding houses on the lakeside where you can watch the swans, typically from between October and March.

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.

Nagano Photo Album

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