Due to the abundance of ancient Buddhist temples, Nagano has remained one of the major religious centers in Japan for many centuries. One of the most famous religious and tourist sites is Zenkoji Temple, which keeps a unique Buddhist relic - a Buddha image created in the 6th century. This Buddhist treasure is publicly displayed once every six years, and for the rest of the time, its copy is installed in the temple instead. The ancient temple itself is of great historical value too. The exact date of its construction is unknown, while the very first mention of the temple dates back to the 6th century. Experts believe that it could be built much earlier. It is noteworthy that the temple does not belong to any particular religion since the foundation - absolutely everyone can visit it freely. About 6 million people visit it in the year when the ancient Buddha statue is put on public display here.
Nagano has been known as a winter sports center since the Olympics. The prefecture is also famous for its variety of natural attractions. Jigokudani Park located at an altitude of 850 meters … Open
Togakushi-Jinja Tusa is located in the picturesque foothills. The first written mention of this temple dates back to the 1st century AD. There were no large buildings in this place at that time so townspeople came here just to meditate in a relaxed atmosphere. After several hundred years, it was decided to build the first wooden temple here, and later it was rebuilt several times. Today, besides the temple itself, the religious complex includes five sanctuaries, each of which is dedicated to a particular deity.
The temple complex occupies a vast territory so you will need several hours to explore all its structures and attractions. The entrance to the temple is now accessible to absolutely everyone. Tourists can perform a lot of interesting rituals and ask for blessings from local gods. Apart from the old buildings and sculptures, you can see many beautiful plants and mighty trees in the park. The oldest tree is about 700 years old. It looks really impressive, tourists take several hundred pictures against the backdrop of this giant every day. Copyright www.orangesmile.com
1. Most tourists visit Nagano in winter, as well as during major religious holidays. Hotel rooms should be booked in advance for such periods. 2. The best option for active tourists would … Open
When it comes to outstanding historical sights in Nagano, it is worth mentioning Matsushiro Castle. It was built in the 16th century, and a new town began forming around it after some time. The most important buildings were located outside the walls of the castle. Unfortunately, only a few of them have survived to this day. The defensive wall that surrounded the fortress is in the best condition. Visitors can also see an ancient bridge and several gates. Some elements of the building were restored, all of them were rebuilt in accordance with historical traditions. Experienced tourists are advised to visit the fortress in spring when sakura blossoms - more than a hundred trees are planted around the castle.
Nagano has many interesting museums and cultural centers, including the Nojiri-ko Nauman located on the lakeshore. The collection of its exhibits is very diverse. Of particular interest are archaeological artifacts discovered in the region. Here you can see ancient religious paraphernalia, as well as petrified fragments of ancient plants and animals.
One of the exhibitions is dedicated to the first settlers of the region. There are several important archaeological areas in the vicinity of the museum. From what researches know, millions of years ago, there was a large lake in the area where the museum is currently located. It served as a natural source of water for many prehistoric animals, the petrified remains of which were found in this area. One of the museum's thematic expositions is devoted to a unique elephant species that inhabited these lands in the past.
An interesting historical site is the Old Battlefield of Kawanakajima. Since the early Middle Ages, the largest military battles in the history of Japan took place on this field. Many beautiful plants are grown and symbolic monuments are erected in the park that was formed in this place. Strolling through the park, you can find out which important historical events took place in Nagano during different periods.
Nagano's main shopping street is Naka-mise. Its name can be literally translated as "shops inside the temple." On this historic street, you can find shops of various profiles, many of which … Open
During a walk around Nagano, tourists can visit interesting museums and art galleries. Tours of the Wasabi Farm located in the vicinity of the city are popular among fans of non-standard excursions. Here they can learn about how and which components are used to produce the famous "Japanese mustard", which has become one of the main symbols of local gastronomy. At the historic farm, the production conditions have not changed much over the past hundreds of years. Locally made wasabi is delivered to many traditional restaurants.
In the section below, you can get one of our excursion, activities or city discovery tours over Nagano and surroundings. Our website offers 10-30% lower ticket prices, when compared to the offline purchase on the spot.
City tours, excursions and tickets in Nagano and surroundings
Nagano - guide chapters