The mountains, great outdoor leisure opportunities
Transportation to Yudanaka and the Monkey Park is infrequent, and the track up to see them was a little straining
Mountains, monkeys, soba, and snowboards.
Without a doubt, one of the coolest spectacles in all of Japan is to watch the wild snow monkeys of the Japanese Alps sit out a snowy winter day soaking in the hot waters of a naturally-heated onsen. At Jigokudani Yaenkoen monkey park, just above Nagano, you can see these migratory macaques, the world's most northerly primates (besides man) forage...more
The main hall is typical Buddhist architecture from the mid Edo Period. The principle image is enshrined inside the altar in the innermost temple. Admission to the inner temple is 500 Yen, and visitors can walk around the kaidan ordination (the dark corridors under the main hall - it is said that if you manage to touch the key below the principle...more
Nagano Prefecture has the second largest number of spas in Japan, and there are many hot spring resorts here - Yudanaka-Shibu Onsen, Hakuba Onsen, Omachi Onsen, Shirahone Onsen etc. We went to the Yudanaka-Shibu Onsen Resort and stayed in a ryokan (with its own bath). This town has 9 different hot springs, and the 1300-year-old Shibu Onsen has 9...more
This is a very traditional ryokan. The whole place is so Japanese. It's taken care by 2 elderly...more
2-15-8 Minamichitose, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, 380-0823, Japan
Good for: Couples
528-1 Agata-machi, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, 380-0838, Japan
Good for: Solo
Nagano Prefecture is actually the birthplace of soba, and so the soba dishes in this region are quite well known. There are quite a number of soba restaurants lining the Zenkoji Omotesando street. We took our lunch at one of the restaurants (it is located opposite Suyakame, the shop famous for its miso products. Refer to my previous tip on Miso ice...more
The "Oyaki" is a round, flat dumpling made of wheat flour, with different types of fillings - seasonal and wild vegetables, pork etc. It is either steamed or baked, and costs 180 Yen. It is best eaten as a snack. Various shops on the omotesando of the Zenkoji Shrine sells these. Savoury snack.more
There are different flavours of soft-serve ice cream with ingredients from Nagano, e.g. chestnut bean jam, blueberries, wasabi (!), buckwheat (soba) etc.We tried the miso-flavoured soft-serve ice cream in Zenkoji, Nagano City. The name of this shop is "Suyakame" and it is touted as the original shop which created this flavour (the shop is known for...more
The best place to play darts and drink in Nagano. Fair-priced drinks, and good atmosphere with a wall of windows overlooking the street below (from 2bd floor). Looks like a typical urban Western pool/dart bar. Hip Hop nights get packed and the occasional Tattoo Festival is also held here. The little house dog Gina can often be found running around...more
THE Gaijin hangout in Nagano. It moved to a new location just as I was leaving so don't trust that pre-2004 Lonely Planet your friend's sister lent you. The "Master" (Proprietor) Shigeru (Shiggy) cooks a wicked burger - which are usually sold out by 8pm.A good place to ask people for Nagano tips or if you're geeling homesick. Not the best place to...more
It has taken me exactly 7 months living in this city to find out about this place!! I love to dance and went to check it out. Unfortunately for me the music is trance which I don't particularly like... oh well. There is a cover charge of around 2000-3000 yen. You get one free drink ticket with that. Anything goes.more
To travel from Nagano City to Yudanaka Onsen town, we had to take the Nagano Dentetsu Line (private-run train line). There are 2 types of fares - local train costs 1130 Yen (one way, from Nagano to Yudanaka) while the limited express costs 100 Yen more (it is slightly faster than the local trains, since it makes fewer stops). The train schedule is...more
Using our JR pass, we reserved tickets on the Nagano Shinkansen to and from Tokyo to Nagano. From Tokyo to Nagano, we used the Asama 509 train that departs at 0840h and reaches Nagano City at 1022h.From Nagano back to Tokyo, we used Asama 532, leaving at 1458h and arriving at Tokyo at 1632h.The one-way journey is about 1 hour 30 minutes, and I...more
going to Hakuba, Nagano, Japan Thanks for sharing your experienceI took your advice and went ahead for the Chuo-taxifrom Narita to Hakuba, Nagano, ~ 5 hrs, with 4x 10-15min breaks whereas my friends took the train ~ almost 5hrs, but had to change trains, buses, and need to 'hurry' / buy tickets/ carry lugguage, to catch the connecting train/bus ......more
Nagano can be considered a fruits paradise, and various fruits can be enjoyed during different times of the year:Tsugaru Apples - Aug-SepSensyu Apples - OctFuji Apples - Nov-DecKyohou Grapes - Sep-OctShinano-purple Grapes - SepKawanakajima-hakutou Peaches - Aug-SepNashi Kousui Pears - Aug-SepNashi Nansui Pears - Oct(strawberry picking is...more
This shop has been selling this condiment outside the Zenkoji Gate for 270 years. Besides this shop, you can also buy it from other shops located on the Zenkoji Omotesando. Shichimi Togarashi is a special type of Japanese condiment. Translated into English, it means "seven-flavour chili pepper", and it is actually a mixture of 7 types of spices...more
The currency in Japan is the Yen. The note pictured is the 1000 Yen bill which is the smallest. The other notes are 5000 and 10000 yen. Just recently a 2000 Yen note was introduced in Japan. The coins come in 500,100,50,10,5 and 1 yen denominations.When travelling to Japan the best thing to do is to change your money into Yen cash (or if you are...more
When you come to Nagano you will notice many Soba Restaurants. That is because Soba is a Nagano specialty. You can buy the raw product in omiyage gift stores or in supermarkets. If you are interested in seeing how Soba is made then I suggest you take a trip out of town to Togakushi. This picture is of a traditional Soba Mill at the Ninja Museum...more
Nagano is located in a part of Japan that gets heavy snowfall in winter. If driving the roads can get very slippery from the ice. Chains are not always necessary but if planning a trip to a nearby skifield I recommend taking chains with you.
As many of you know, Nagano played host to the 1998 Winter Olympics. I have placed a map of the venues in a travelogue with a good link to information on these places should anyone wish to know about it. The last Winter Olympic games were held in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2002.The next ones will be in Torino, Italy from February 11 - 26 2006.Please...more
17 Reviews and Opinions
Ok, so it is FREEZING on the mountain! Make sure you bring warm clothes to wear as well as ski pants and ski jacket!! Bring warm, thick socks and a woollen hat and scarf too! I was silly enough to forget my scarf on my first day skiing, and my face and neck froze. It snows quite hard onto your face when you are skiing so also bring goggles. BUT,...more
Use a good backpack because it is easier to carry on and off trains. The trains do not stop very long at the station so you need to be able to carry everything you bring quickly. Nagano in winter is pretty damn cold! Warm jumpers and a good jacket will be necessary. In summer it is pretty hot like most of Japan and also humid. It rains a fair bit...more
If you like monkeys AT ALL, you must visit the Jigokudani Monkey Park in your trip to Japan. This is a sanctuary for the Japanese Snow Monkey, and the place you can watch them play and soak in the natural hot springs. It's in the middle of nowhere, really, a jaunt from the nearest major city and 45 minute hike from the nearest road, but seeing...more
I have already mentioned the great Fireworks display held at Lake Suwa in summer. This place is a gorgeous place to visit at any time though. It is the largest lake in Nagano and offers views to Mt Fuji on a clear day. You should take a train to KamiSuwa (local from Matsumoto).This picture was taken by a friend of a friend in April 2003.more
Hakuba 47 was the best ski area located around Hakuba. The runs were long and the lifts faster than at Happo-One.
Equipment: Women should bring your own ski boots if your foot is a 9 or larger.
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...more
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: BY TRAIN Take the Nagano Dentetsu train to Yudanaka...more
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 Centremore
In 1998, the Winter Olympic Games took place in Nagano, Japan, much further south than prior Japanese Winter host, Sapporo. While the majority of events took place near Hakuba Village in the Matsumoto Northern Alps area, other Olympic sites are scattered around the prefecture. In addition to winter sports, there are some great architectural sights in the area: the Zenkoji Temple, a 1,400 year old temple that has long served as the Japan's primary center of Buddhist faith, is located in Northern Nagono. The temple is such an important part of Japanese Buddhist culture that it sees approximately 7 million visitors annually. Another national treasure in the area is the Matsumoto Castle, whose five layer, six story castle tower is the oldest castle tower in Japan.