Lake Suwa 諏訪湖
Adventures abound around Nagano's largest lake
Sitting at the center of Japan's main island in the basin reaching from the Yatsugatake Mountains , Lake Suwa and its neighboring community has something for everyone, from nature enthusiasts to culture fanatics.
- Biking the path around the lake and further afield
- Watching the sunset while relaxing at Kamisuwa's foot onsen
- Evening fireworks at Lakeside Park throughout the summer
How to Get There
The Lake Suwa is easily accessible by train.
Lake Suwa is bordered by the cities of Kamisuwa, Shimosuwa and Okaya. Kamisuwa Station is the closest major station.
From Tokyo, take the JR Azusa Limited Express direct from Shinjuku to Kamisuwa Station.
From Shin-Osaka station take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen to Nagoya, then switch to the JR Shinano for Shiojiri Station. Finally transfer to the Chuo Line for Kamisuwa Station.
Suwa is just a 20-minute train ride from Matsumoto .
Get on a bike and explore
Lake Suwa occupies the center of the Suwa region and there is plenty do along its shores. A cycling and jogging path runs 16 kilometers around the lake, and bike rentals are available outside Suwa area stations and lakeside near Hotel Beniya.
Soak up Suwa
Suwa is an onsen hot spot, so you may want to stop off for a soak. Katakurakan is a good option with its pool-sized common bath. The free lakeside foot onsen beside the Lake Suwa Geyser Center is especially nice for viewing summer sunsets.
Taste the local specialties
There are plenty of dining options near the water to fuel your ride. Seek out soba noodles in Kamisuwa or grilled eel in Okaya.
Lighting up the night
Kamisuwa holds a firework display almost every evening from mid-July until September at its Lakeside Park. Get there early to watch guests from the inns strolling in their yukata robes during sunset.
One of Japan's most lavish firework displays
Almost a half-million people pour into Suwa for the mammoth Lake Suwa Fireworks in August. It's among Japan's most lavish displays. In September they hold another large display to choose the new fireworks to include in the following year's August show.
Stop by the sake distilleries lining the road in Kamisuwa and sample some local favorites. Masumi Sake is the originator of a strain of koji, or rice yeast, that's now the most widely used koji in the world.
Visit the historic sites
Suwa-taisha Shrine is one of Japan's oldest shrines and host to the famous Onbashira pillar riding festival which runs once every six years. The shrine has four locations on opposite sides of the lake.
Takashima Castle in Kamisuwa Onsen was known as the "floating castle" back in the 16th century when the lake came right up to the ramparts. These days it's known as one of Suwa's best springtime cherry blossom viewing spots.
Stroll down Japan's past
The historic Kamakura Road that connected the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Kamakura 800 years ago runs the length of the hills to the southwest of Lake Suwa. You'll pass old shrines and temples along the way, biking along awesome views over the lake and out to the Yatsugatake Mountains.