Discover Traditional Crafts in Nagano
Follow parts of the Nakasendo trail to discover Nagano’s traditional crafts, rooted in the creativity of generations of farmers
Hokuriku Shinetsu District Transport Bureau
The historic Nakasendo trail in Nagano Prefecture is also known as the Hime Kaido. Tucked away in settlements along this route, you can discover the region’s traditional crafts.
In the Ina area, which is nestled between Nagano’s Southern and Central Alps, the land was not suitable for growing rice, so instead farmers turned to sericulture. While the high-quality cocoons were sent to the big cities, women in Ina would take the defective cocoons and painstakingly weave the silk by hand to create cloth, known as Ina tsumugi. You can see this precious silk being made at Kubota Textiles, which has been in business since 1910.
The lushly forested Kiso region in the southwestern part of Nagano Prefecture has long been a producer of cypress trees, with local farmers carving wooden objects during the winter. The orokugushi combs are particularly prized and still handcrafted by craftsmen today. Visit the workshop of one of the artisans to see the meticulous detail of their crafts.
The Tenryu River flows through the Minami Shinshu area, the southernmost part of Nagano. This led to it becoming a major washi paper-making region. Learn about the art of creating this natural paper, or try your hand at making mizuhiki, elaborate decorative knots created using paper cords, which are considered auspicious.
How to get there
From Tokyo Station, take the JR Chuo Line to Shinjuku Station (about 15 minutes), then board the highway bus bound for Komagane at the Shinjuku Expressway Bus Terminal （about 4 hours）.
From Tokyo Station, take the JR Chuo Line train to Shinjuku Station (about 15 minutes). Board the Limited Express Azusa train bound for Matsumoto, and get off at Shiojiri Station (about 2 hours and 25 minutes), then transfer to the train bound for Yabuhara Station （about 30 minutes）.
Minami Shinshu Area：
From Nagoya Station, walk to the Meitetsu Bus Center (about 3 minutes) and board the highway bus bound for Iida Station （about 2 hours by bus）.