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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
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. 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
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours 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
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders 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
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life 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

Nature

Lake Suwa 諏訪湖

Adventures around Nagano's largest lake

Sitting right at the center of Japan's main island, in the basin reaching from the Yatsugatake Mountains, Lake Suwa and its neighboring community has enough nature and culture to keep you exploring for days.

Don't Miss

  • Biking the path around the lake and further afield
  • Watching the sunset while relaxing at Kami-Suwa'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 Kami-Suwa, Shimo-Suwa, and Okaya, it’s easily accessible by public transport and Kami-Suwa Station is the closest major station.

From Tokyo’s take the JR Azusa Chuo Line-Limited Express direct from Shinjuku to Kami-Suwa Station.

From Shin-Osaka station take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen to Nagoya, and switch to the JR Shinano for Shiojiri Station, then make one final transfer to the Chou Line for Kami-Suwa 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, 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 Kami-Suwa, grilled eel in Okaya, and Okinawan cuisine on the southern side of the lake.

Lighting up the night

Kami-Suwa 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.

The 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, they also host a repeat event a month later to show off their newer firework models.

Craft fairs to craft beers

Sample some sake at the breweries down the street from Kami Suwa Station, along with craft beer at the Reijin Brewery.

The town also has occasional craft fairs, concerts, and other events pop up lakeside throughout the warmer months. Check with Suwa's tourist information centers for details.

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 Kami-Suwa 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 with awesome views over the lake out to the Yatsugatake Mountains.