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Nagano City is a temple town whose development was centered on Zenkouji, the grand 1,400 year-old NATIONAL TREASURE that continues to draw millions of people to visit its many ancient religious structures and artifacts.
Nagano is more known worldwide as the site of the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.
You can still visit the Big Hat ice arena, which continues to host hockey games, the White Ring, the figure skating site, and M-Wave, where the speed skating competition took place and the local Olympic Museum now resides..
Nagano has relatively fewer attractions than some of the more famous Japanese tourist places; however there are a few worthwhile visiting...
"Here are a few famous places to visit..."
1.-Zenkouji is still, by far, the top attraction of the region and the heart of the city. The city was previously known as Shinano before the arrival of the Ikkou Sanzon Amida Nyorai, the Amida Golden Triad, believed to be the first image of the Buddha in Japan.
The sacred image inspired the construction of the temple during the seventh century
2.- MATSUSHIRO district in the southern part of the city. Matsushiro has many samurai residences and Buddhist temples to visit.
3.-Of more recent historical interest are the World War II tunnels dug into the base of the local mountains, the result of a last desparate plan to protect the imperial family, government, and military headquarters from what seemed to be an inevitable invasion of the country at the end of that turbulent period.
4.-Nagano's natural environment also draws skiers to the nearby mountains and nature lovers to the region's many parks and forests.
5.-Deep within the JOSHIN-ETSU NATIONAL PARK is also a famous small valley called Jigokudani which, during the winter, visitors can walk amongst hundreds of wild Japanese Macaques who come down from the mountains to warm themselves in an onsen by the Yokoyu River.
"HOW TO GET THERE..."
Nagano is located over 200 kilometers northwest of Tokyo and 260 kilometers northeast of Nagoya.
From Nagoya: By train, it takes three hours via the JR Chuo Honsen Line Limited Express to reach Nagano.
From Tokyo: It takes about 100 minutes via the Nagano Shikansen