Nagano Travel Guide

Thanks to the Winter Olympics of 1998 this small city enjoyed world wide exposure and interest. With just under 400,000 people Nagano sits snuggly in the Japanese Alps just North East of Takayama.

Nagano is most famous for its brilliant slopes in the winter time, where people come from all over Japan to zip down the mountain skiing or snowboarding. Afterwards visitors go to the open air hot springs to thaw out.

Nagano Restaurants and Food [VIEW ALL]
Experience Local dining


One of the most popular places to get Soba in Nagano; however there is always a long line. But the wait is certainly worth it. Make sure you have the soba gaki and tempura, the wheat used here is grown in the high plateau and therefore has its own particular taste that you can only know by trying.

3229 Togakushi, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 381-4101, Japan

+81 26-254-2219

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Ramen Misoya

Score some good eats for cheap at the Ramen Misoya, conveniently located right outside the JR Nagano station, North Exit 2. The miso ramen here is served up very fast but don’t let that make you think it is on par with fast food! This miso is perfected and does not disappoint, nor does it hurt your wallet!

Suehirochō-1362 Minaminagano, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

+81 26-224-1183

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Nagano Sightseeing & Attractions [VIEW ALL]
Our top picks of things to see and do

Aside from skiing and snow boarding, Nagano has plenty of sight seeing to including temples, shrines, museums, onsens (hot springs) and don’t forget, the monkeys!

Zenkoji Temple

The venerable Zenkoji Temple was built over 1400 years ago and remains the most important temple to the Buddhist religion. In the inner sanctum of the Temple, well hidden away from the public lies the first Buddha statue ever brought to Japan.

The temple starts off with the massive Niomon Gate, which is then followed by a long approach to the main hall and courtyard. Along the approach you can find vendors selling snacks and memorabilia.

To the rear of the main hall there is a four story pagoda which conatins the Zenkoji History Museum.

Motoyoshichō-491 Nagano Nagano-shi, Nagano-ken, Japan

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Togakushi Shrine

Nestled away high in the Japanese Alps in Mount Togakushi is a network of five ancient shrines of which the deities are part of the Creation of Japan Myth. A winding trail over several kilometers through the Togakushi Forest Reserve will take you to said shrines. On the way you’ll have the opportunity for two side trips at the Kids Ninja Village and Togakure Ninpo Museum (Ninja Museum)

To get to the lower shrine where your journey begins it will require an hour trip from Nagano via bus, for a fair of around 1200 yen (one way).

3506 Togakushi Nagano-shi, Nagano-ken, Japan

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Nagano Hotels & Accommodations [VIEW ALL]
Cheapest and best places to stay

Hotel JAL City Nagano

1221 Toigoshomachi, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 380-0834, Japan

The Jal Nagano is centrally located, being just a seven minute walk from JR Nagano station and a 15-minute walk to Zenkoji, National Treasure, and Higashiyama Kaii gallery. Rooms are clean, small and slightly dated, however you can’t complain for the price is very right. Travelers on a budget will find the Jal Nagano more than acceptable.

dining is limited, with a breakfast banquet room, Chinese restaurant and bar. You’re best off checking out the local eateries.

Single Occupant: $70
Double Occupant: $110

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Metropolitan Nagano Hotel

1346 Minamiishidocho, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture 380-0824, Japan (Nagano Station)

We’re not sure what we’re most impressed with, the proximity to the train station, the stunning edifice or the modern, fresh rooms. The Met might as well be attached to JR Nagano station as it hardly feels that you've left the station. The hotel boasts that they are only a mere 1 minute from the station but we think you can do better, perhaps 30 seconds.

Being just a few years old this newly built hotel follows the current trend of modern minimal design with focus on aesthetics. The traveler will be pleased to find that this stunning hotel is not only visual pleasing but is rather affordable.

The breakfast and general dining is also very well done, but it is recommended that you go out into the town for the local experience.

Single Occupant: $100 USD
Double Occupant: $180 USD

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Train from Tokyo

Depart from Tokyo Station for Nagano Station via Shinkansen ASAMA 581
Time: 103 min
Cost: 7,970 yen

Train from Osaka

Step 1

Depart from Osaka Station (Umeda) for Shin-Osaka Station, via JR Kyoto Line Local
Time: 4 min

Step 2
Arrive at Shin-Osaka Station and transfer to the Shinakansen HIKARI 480 bound for Nagoya Station.
Time: 53 min

Step 3
Arrive at Nagoya Station and transfer to the Limited Express (wide view) Shinano 25 bound for Nagano
Time: 179 min

Cost: 11,470 yen