This is the ONLY time I will reccoment JTB travel (Excet that you can fly anywhere on your birthday for 10,000yen). Go to JTB and ask for the most inexpensive trip to Nagano available. We went for a package that inluded the night bus up and back, 2 days of snowboarding, lift pass, equipment rental, one night at the Ryokan and 2 meals and it came to onle 16,000yen eac. (Less than $130USD).
This, of course, was from Kyoto. We had about 10 people in 3 rooms but that wasn't really too bad. Fun actually. And we were on one of the least crowded mountains!! it was beautiful and quiet and the ONSEN was only 350 yen.
At JTB= "Nagano Ikitai. Ichiban yasui pakage onagaishimasu!!"
It is just bad japanese but it get's the meaning accross.
This park is world famous and often referred to as The Monkey Park . It has Japanese Macaques (the most northern most monkey's in the world) bathing in a hot-spring in winter to keep warm. The monkey's seem oblivious to the photographers and tourists that flock to see them.
HOW TO GET THERE:
Take the Nagano Dentetsu train to Yudanaka Station in Yamanouchi (40 mins express train). Then take the Kambayashi bus (220 Yen) and get off at Kambayashi Snow Park. You can then walk for about 20 mins (good walking shoes essential) through a small forest. Admission to the park is 500 Yen.
Take the expressway and get off at Shinshu-Nakano IC. Follow Route 29, turn left at the McDonalds/LAOX intersection and follow Route 292 to Yamanouchi Town. Follow signs that lead to Shiga Heights. Kambayashi Ski and Snowboard Park (this place has a cool half pipe!!) is at the foot of Shiga Heights. Park at the top of the ski hill and walk 20 mins.
For more pics check out the Monkey Park Travelogue
This center is located about 30 mins walking from the Nagano Station Higashi Guchi (East Exit). It is a free internet center. I have found it very useful since I don't have a computer at home. Click the link to find out more about the service and for a map to get there.
Nagano FullNet Centre
There is such beautiful scenery in Hakuba.
This picture was taken from a chairlift at Goryu Ski Field.
The snowfall this year (2001) has been near record for Nagano and the ski season was a great one! 2002 winter was mild but the 2003 season was once again very snowy!!
The skifields around Nagano are world class. The 1998 Winter Olympics proved that!
The places that I have been in Nagano are Nozawa Onsen, Shiga Kogen, Suginohara (Myoko Kogen), Goryu, Tsugaike. To go to Okushiga Kogen, Kumanoyu - Suzuri kawa, Kitashiga Kogen, Nozawa Onsen and Madarao Kogen take a bus from the East Exit of Nagano Station. To get to Tsugaike, Hakuba 21 and Goryu take the bus from the Zenkoji Exit.
Here is a pic of me having a go at snowboarding at Goryu Field in Hakuba.
The view from my room in Nagano.
This is Ojoji Daira near Zenkoji Temple . Here, in winter, it was covered with snow but now it is summer and you can see the apple orchard across the road and flowers in the garden! Quite different to this scene!
Fondest memory: Nagano is probably as famous for its apples as much as its beautiful mountain scenery and hiking opportunities. The apple flowers blossom in early May usually and the fruit is picked in the late autumn. My students often gave me tons of apples so I was kept busy making apple pies to thank them!
Fondest memory: Hiking, tramping, bush walking.... whatever you'd like to call it! Nagano is a great place to do it. In winter it is pretty cool to walk or cross-country ski in places like Shiga Kogen or Togakushi. In summer just about any place will do! Take your pick!
Fondest memory: Cherry Blossom season in Japan is in Spring during the month of April generally (although it varies across the country). This picture was taken 15 April 2001 during a Cherry Blossom Party (called Hanami party in Japanese) in Ojoji, Nagano.
Fondest memory: I find Japanese Architecture quite interesting. This building caught my eye on the pedestrian road leading up to Zenkoji Temple. It is an old building made in the traditional style.