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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan Fearsome festivals, fresh powder snow and vast fruit orchards—the rugged territory of Tohoku offers a new perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife Jump from the neon glow of Tokyo to Gunma's mountain retreats, Kamakura's cultural heritage and the Ogasawara Islands' exotic wildlife
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan Hallmark attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama coexist with major cities and famous heritage in the center of Japan
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara The Kansai region is one of contrasts, from the glittering lights of Osaka and Kobe to the cultural treasures of Kyoto and Nara
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower Welcome to Japan's less-explored western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky The southern island of Kyushu is home to hot springs, rugged geography, undeveloped beaches and volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

HOKURIKU SHINETSU Nagano Adventure on the roof of Japan

Come to Nagano for world-class outdoor sports, and stay for townscapes from the samurai era, vibrant festivals and abundant hot springs

Host of the 1998 Winter Olympics, Nagano is an outdoor sports mecca particularly famous for skiing and snowboarding. Often called the "roof of Japan," it boasts the highest mountain ranges in the country. Enclaves of rural culture continue much as they have for centuries, with the villages of Tsumago and Narai appearing as if they were plucked straight from a samurai film. Raucous festivals and the stately black walls of Matsumoto Castle also survive intact, as do rustic onsen villages with their relaxing mountain ambiance. Karuizawa has a casual cosmopolitan atmosphere, with plenty of quirky pensions.

How to Get There

The Hokuriku Shinkansen from Tokyo is the easiest way to access northern Nagano. Central Nagano, including Matsumoto, is a direct train ride from Shinjuku Station in Tokyo or Nagoya Station. Highway buses run from many other cities around the country.

From Tokyo Station, the Hokuriku Shinkansen runs to Nagano City, with stops at Karuizawa and Ueda along the way. The central Nagano hub of Matsumoto is the gateway to the Northern Alps. Approaching from Nagoya on the Shinano Limited Express will take you through the Kiso Valley, making for easy stops in Tsumago or Narai. Matsumoto is a straight shot on the JR Azusa from Shinjuku, bringing you through Suwa, where you can change trains to access the southern Ina area via local lines. Highway buses also run to many Nagano cities and popular outdoor destinations from urban centers across Honshu. If you have a specific travel goal in mind, say skiing in Hakuba, some direct airport bus services from the airport can be convenient.

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Don't Miss

    Panoramic Northern Alps vistas at Kamikochi
    Tsumago and Narai, Kiso’s beautifully preserved samurai-era villages
    The hot spring-loving snow monkeys near Yudanaka Onsen
    Matsumoto’s splendid 16th-century castle, one of Japan’s finest

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Seasonal Highlights

  • Spring

    Party beneath the cherry blossoms against a backdrop of snow-capped peaks. Partake in lively blossom-viewing events at Matsumoto and Ueda castles or have a tipple at the Nomiaruki sake brewery crawl in Suwa.

  • Summer

    As the green season deepens, enjoy hiking, mountain biking and kayaking in the great outdoors. Take in fireworks on Lake Suwa or feel the beat of the Okaya Taiko festival.

  • Autumn

    Autumn colors engulf the mountains and castle grounds as the leaves turn. Stroll the Kiso Valley Nakasendo trail, cycle around Lake Suwa or hike in the Kamikochi area.

  • Winter

    Skiers and snowboarders descend on Nagano from around Japan and across the globe. After hitting the powder-rich slopes, get warm with onsen soaks and flasks of hot local sake.