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Introduction

  • Zenko-ji Temple: A 1400-year-old Buddhist temple, one of Japan's most important, located in the heart of Nagano City.

  • Jigokudani Monkey Park: Famous for its hot spring-bathing snow monkeys, located in the Yamanouchi area.

  • Togakushi Shrine: A series of five Shinto shrines located in the forested mountains northwest of Nagano City.

  • Matsumoto Castle: One of Japan's most beautiful original castles, located in Matsumoto City.

  • Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum: Exhibits art related to Nagano Prefecture.

  • Togakushi Ninpo Museum: A museum dedicated to the local ninja history, including a Kids Ninja Village.

  • Shibu Onsen: A historic hot spring town near the Jigokudani Monkey Park.

  • Nozawa Onsen: A traditional hot spring and ski resort town.

Historical Sites [1]

  • Zenko-ji Temple: Founded in 642, it houses the oldest known Buddhist statue in Japan.

  • Matsumoto Castle: Known as 'Crow Castle' due to its black exterior, it is one of Japan's most complete and beautiful original castles.

  • Matsushiro: A samurai town with attractions like Matsushiro Castle Park and the Sanada Residence.

  • Zozan War Tunnels: An extensive network of tunnels built during WWII, located in Matsushiro.

Natural Attractions [1]

  • Jigokudani Monkey Park: Famous for its hot spring-bathing snow monkeys.

  • Togakushi Shrine: A series of five shrines located in a forested area, known for its giant cedar trees.

  • Myoko-Togakushi Renzan National Park: A national park with mountains, forests, and ski resorts.

  • Karuizawa: An upmarket mountain resort town known for its natural beauty.

Cultural Experiences [1]

  • Zenko-ji Temple: Offers Buddhist experiences like goma prayer, shakyo (calligraphy), and zazen (seated meditation).

  • Togakushi Ninpo Museum: Showcases the local Togakure school of ninja, with exhibits and interactive experiences.

  • Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum: Exhibits art related to Nagano Prefecture.

  • Shibu Onsen: A historic hot spring town with traditional inns and public baths.

Winter Activities [1]

  • Skiing and Snowboarding: Nagano is home to around eighty ski resorts, including Shiga Kogen and Hakuba Valley.

  • Snow Monkey Tours: Visit the Jigokudani Monkey Park to see snow monkeys bathing in hot springs.

  • Snow Fun in Shiga Kogen: Activities like sledding, snow-tubing, and snowman building.

  • Nozawa Onsen: A popular ski resort with great powder and a lively village.

Accommodation [2]

  • Shioriya: Budget-friendly accommodation located 11 km from Zenkoji Temple.

  • 1166 Backpackers: Budget-friendly hostel located in the city centre, close to Zenko-ji Temple.

  • Oshi Ryokan: Traditional lodging near Togakushi Shrine, offering homemade meals.

  • Hotel Metropolitan Nagano: Luxury hotel located next to JR Nagano Train Station.

Food and Dining [1]

  • Soba Noodles: Togakushi is famous for its soba (buckwheat noodles).

  • Kaiseki Dining: Traditional multi-course meals showcasing local produce, available at many ryokan.

  • Chestnut Dishes: Obuse is known for its chestnut-based sweets and dishes.

  • Local Sake: Nagano is known for its high-quality sake, with many breweries offering tastings.

Transportation [1]

  • Nagano Station: A major transport hub with connections to Tokyo via the Hokuriku Shinkansen.

  • Local Buses: Services run from Nagano Station to regional destinations like Togakushi and the monkey park.

  • Rental Cars: Available for exploring more remote areas like Togakushi and Myoko-Togakushi Renzan National Park.

  • Shuttle Buses: Free shuttle buses run around ski resorts like Shiga Kogen.

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