Spots in Nagano / Togakushi / Ueda / Bessho Area

  • Zenkoji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Naganomotoyoshichou 491-b
    "Located in Nagano City, this temple does not belong to any sect. Any sect is free to worship here, which has received veneration for having Japan's oldest Ikko Sanson Amida Nyorai as the main deity. During the Edo period, it was said that ""once in your life, visit Zenkoji Temple,"" The ""oasaji"" is performed every day during the sunrise. If you purchase a ticket for the inner sanctum, you can worship up close. The ""zenritsu honzon"" is performed once every seven years. About 15 minutes by bus from JR Nagano Station."
  • 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.
  • Ueda Castle Park
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Ninomaru 6263 - a
    Ueda Castle was built by Sanada Yukimura’s father, Sanada Masayuki. By repelling the Tokugawa Army twice before, the castle became known as the impregnable castle. Today it is maintained as the Ueda Castle Park and it is famous as a cherry blossom viewing spot during the spring every year at the Ueda Castle Thousand Cherry Blossom Festival.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Michinoeki Utsukushi-ga-Hara Open-Air
    Transportation
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Takeshikamihoniri Mikahara Plateau
    With an elevation of 2,000 meters it is said to be the highest roadside station in Japan. From here you can see the Northern Alps (Hida Mountains), Mt. Asama and Sakudaira. In the popular Observatory Terrace, you can enjoy coffee and soft ice-cream while looking out over superb views. There is also a restaurant and a shopping area. The place has become well-known among tourists as a roadside station where visitors can take a relaxing break. The Utsukushi-Gahara Open-Air Museum next door (entrance fee 1,000 yen) has up to 350 outstanding sculptures on display outside covering a wide area. It is well worth a visit especially in summer when the alpine flowers are at their best.
  • Matsushiro Castle Ruins
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Matsushiromachi Matsushiro 44
    These castle ruins are located in Nagano City. The castle was constructed as the base for the Takeda side during the Battles of Kawanakajima between Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin. It is a natural fortress that uses the Chikuma River as a moat. In addition, Sanada became the ruler in the Edo period (1603-1868), and it developed into the castle town of Sanada Jumangoku. Destroyed in the Meiji period (1868-1912), only the stone walls of the buildings remained, but now the gate and earthworks are maintained.
  • Anzu no Sato Agri Park
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Chikumashi Yashiro 515-1
    This tourist farm is located in Chikuma City, Nagano Prefecture. You can enjoy all-you-can-eat strawberry picking from December to June and mikan orange picking from October without a time limit. In the food park, you can eat ramen, udon noodles and sweets, as well as freshly-baked bread from the popular Ichigo Bakery. In addition, with an available children's room, the park attracts many families mainly on weekends.
  • Marusei
    Gourmet / Alcohol
    Nagano prefecture Nagano-shi Motomachi 486
    This is a restaurant in the center of the path leading to the Zenkoji Temple. The restaurant’s sauce katsudon, topped with fried pork cutlets smothered in a homemade sauce and fried eggs, are made according to the same recipe as when Marusei opened after the end of the Second World War, providing Zenkoji Temple worshippers with a familiar flavor. Marusei also offers a set including its famous katsudon with stone ground soba (buckwheat) noodles.
  • Monzensaryo Yayoiza
    Gourmet / Alcohol
    Nagano prefecture Nagano-shi Daimon cho 503
    This restaurant is housed inside a tatami wholesaler's built in the Edo period. Here diners can enjoy carefully prepared local cuisine which incorporates Shinshu (Nagano) and seasonal ingredients. Popular menu items include the steamed Shinshu beef and country-style usuyaki crepes made with 100% buckwheat flour and dressed with sweet miso and green onions. Located right next to the entrance to the road leading to the Zenkoji Temple.
  • Fujikian
    Gourmet / Alcohol
    Omodo cho Nagano-shi Nagano prefecture 67
    This soba (buckwheat noodle) restaurant located in the center of the road leading to the Zenkoji Temple was founded in 1827. Fujikian uses renown Shinshu Kurohime kirishita buckwheat and grinds its flour in house with a stone mill. The shop’s juwari soba, made with 100% buckwheat flour and no fillers, is only available in limited quantities and sells out quickly. The restaurant also offers easy-to-eat nihachi soba (made with 80% buckwheat to 20% wheat flour).
  • Nagano City Tourist Information Center
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Kurita Kitagawara 1038-4JR Nagano Station East-West free passage
    This tourist information center is located inside JR Nagano Station right next to the ticket gates. The center is filled with pamphlets on Nagano City and the surrounding cities, towns, and villages, many of which are offered in multiple languages. A staff member is always on duty during business hours who can provide basic tourism information and assistance with round trip planning. The center is also equipped with a money-changing machine that can convert foreign currencies into yen.
  • Anrakuji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Besshonsen 2361
    This Soto school Buddhist temple is located in Bessho Onsen in Ueda City. The oldest temple in Nagano Prefecture, it is also famous for its octagonal three-storied pagoda, a National Treasure. The pagoda is said to have been built in the Kamakura period and is the only original octagonal pagoda still standing in Japan. An entrance fee is required to view the pagoda interior. A 14-minute walk from Bessho-Onsen Station.
  • Kitamuki-kannon Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Besshonsen 1656
    This Buddhist temple was established in 825 by Ennin, the head priest of the Enryaku-ji Temple. The temple was frequently witness to fires and the current temple was rebuilt in 1721. Unusually for a temple in Japan, the main hall was built facing to the north, and it said that by worshipping here and at the south-facing Zenkoji Temple, one can achieve happiness both in this life and after one’s passing. The grounds contain a sacred katsura tree (Aizen Katsura) that is 1,200 years old and which is revered for the luck which brings in finding marriage. A 12-minute walk from Bessho-Onsen Station.
  • Myoko-Togakushi renzan National Park
    Leisure / Hobbies
    Niigata Prefecture, Nagano Prefecture
    Located at the border of Niigata Prefecture and Nagano Prefecture, it is the 32nd national park in Japan. There are many sights in the area with numerous famous mountains including Mt. Amakazari, Mt. Myoko, and Mt. Hiuchi, which are ranked in Japan’s top 100 famous mountains. There are also highlights such as Otari hot spring, a health resort with a history of more than 450 years, and Togakushi Shrine, famous for the Heavenly Iwato legend. Rare birds such as the blue-and-white flycatcher, one of Japan’s top three singing birds, and the Japanese rock ptarmigan which is designated by the national government as a Special Natural Monument inhabit the area. Myoko-Togakushi renzan National Park area is also one of Japan’s heavy snowfall areas, and there are also many ski resorts.
  • Matsushiro Tourist Information Center
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Naganoshi Matsushiromachi Matsushiro 4-1 Sanada Treasure Hall north neighbor
    A tourist information center located just to the north of the Sanada Treasures Museum in Matsushiro-machi Matsushiro, Nagano City. Surprisingly open and airy on the inside despite its modest-looking exterior, center staff can provide you with tourism information primarily concerning Nagano City’s Matsushiro-machi neighborhood; you can also find free tourism pamphlets on Nagano City and the surrounding area.
  • Ichijozan Daiho-ji Temple
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Chisagatagunaokimura Tougou 2052
    "Located around 25 minutes' drive from the Ueda-Sugadaira Interchange on the Joshin-Etsu Expressway, Ichijozan Daiho-ji Temple is a Buddhist temple belonging to the Tendai sect that was built in the Nara period (710-794), and which is one of the oldest temples in the Shinshu region. The temple's three-story pagoda, which was constructed in 1333, came to be known as the ""Looking Back Pagoda,"" because it is so beautiful that people leaving the temple after a visit can't help turning around to have a last look at the pagoda. There are many designated Important Cultural Properties in the temple, including the Zushi (miniature shrine), which is decorated with what are believed to be Japan's oldest Shachihoko (mythical animals with the head of a tiger and body of a carp, used as ornamentation on roofs). The temple's appearance changes with the seasons, with visitors being able to see plum blossom and cherry blossom in spring, azaleas in early summer, and autumn foliage in autumn. In summer, it is sometimes also possible to see Great Purple Emperor, which is the national butterfly of 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.
  • Suzuka City Historic Building Park
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Suzakashi Nobe 1386-8 in Suzaka Art Park
    "Suzaka Historical Building Garden lies inside Suzaka Art Park in the city of Suzaka. A number of buildings of major historical value have been moved here or restored. At the Nagayamon entrance gate is part of the townhouse of the craftsman Koshi Jusaburo, popularly known as ""the king of yarn making,"" built in 1897, moved to the park, and restored. It has been designated a Suzaka City Tangible Cultural Property. In addition, visitors can see Machiya-style houses from the Edo period and a temple school from 1865. During the annual Hinamatsuri doll festival, 1,500 dolls representing ancient courtiers are displayed here."
  • Old Missionary House
    Travel / Tourism
    Nagano Pref. Uedashi Shimonogou 812-8
    The Old Missionary House is about a 25-minute drive from the Ueda-Sugadaira Interchange, next to Inishie no Oka Park. Built in 1904 and later moved to its present location, the building housed women who were Methodist missionaries from Canada, affiliated with Shinzancho Church. Originally it was next to the large Baika Kindergarten, and a training school for nannies was established there, so that it became a regional center for training daycare workers. Built in an early American colonial style, it is a highly valued building.

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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