Nagano is Honshu’s beautiful heartland. Occupied by forest-shrouded mountains and intact examples of historic architecture, it’s a prefecture that showcases the best of Japan’s cultural offerings. Urbanites can visit Nagano, its titular capital, and explore sites like the Zenkō-ji Temple; alternatively, ski resort Hakuba, Mount Yari and the Kiso Mountains are perfect for those wanting a taste of alpine adventure. A lazy tropical getaway Nagano is not – it’s destination for explorers, wanderers and cultural enthusiasts. If you want hot sun and white sand, look somewhere else. If you want one of the best holiday destinations in Japan, it’s time to book Nagano.
Famous for its castles and temples, the prefecture is home to some of Japan’s most well-preserved historic sites. Matsumoto Castle, for example, is a 1500s fortress whose black walls and deep moat have become a Nagano icon; visitors can explore the intact building, and look at displays of medieval weapons. The Buddhist Zenkō-ji Temple is even older, with a past that stretches back to the 7th century. Nearby Tsumago-juku is a restored, Edo-era town, while, far to the south, Togakushi Shrine is an ancient Shinto site huddled in the heart of a cedar forest.
The prefecture’s family-friendly attractions are also definitely worth exploring. The Kids’ Ninja Village and the Togakushi Ninja Museum celebrate Japan’s mystical, black-clad assassins, while Jōyama Zoo and Chausuyama Zoo are home to exotic animals like tigers and monkeys. For a taste of Nagano culture, visit the Kawanakajima Battleground park, or explore the labyrinthine Matsushiro Imperial Headquarters.
Nagano is justly famed as one of Japan’s premiere mountaineering regions, and, even if you’re not the biggest fan of heights, checking out at least one alpine site is definitely recommended. Mount Yari is one of the most famous. Rising 3,180 metres (10,433 feet), this rugged mountain is hugely popular with climbers; its spear-shaped peak has led to the nickname ‘the Matterhorn of Japan’. Norikuradake is a less formidable option, pairing beautiful scenery with nearby hot springs.
Are you ready to explore Japan’s adventure capital? Book today with Club Wyndham.
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