Nagano City is located in the northern area of Nagano Prefecture. It is the site of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics and Paralympics.
The most visited tourist destination in Nagano is perhaps, Zenko-ji Temple. Zenko-ji Temple is said to have been founded approximately 1400 years ago during the Asuka period. The main hall was designated as a National Treasure in 1953 and the high architectural value makes it interesting to see even for visitors who are not particularly interested in shrines and temples. In addition, Togakushi-jinja Shrine Chusha has a cedar tree which is 700 years old, and at Iwamatsu-in Temple, visitors can view the Ho-ou-zu (Phoenix image) painted by Japanese wood block artist Katsushika Hokusai who is representative of the Edo period (1603-1868).
Nagano also offers rich nature such as Nojiri Lake and Kagami-ike (Mirror Pond). The fossils of the now extinct Nauman-zo (Naumanni elephant, Palaeoloxodon naumanni) were discovered at Nojiri Lake and there is a Nojiri-ko Naumann Elephant Museum at the cape of the Lake.
Nagano is surrounded by mountain and is famous for its beautiful waters. Nagano’s specialty gourmet is Soba buckwheat noodles. At “Togakushi-Soba Museum “Tonkururin”, visitors can eat buckwheat noodles as well as try their hand at making the noodles. The exhibit at Togakushi-Soba Museum includes various old tools used to make soba noodles.
The central train station in the area is Nagano Station and can be accessed by Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train from Tokyo (1 hour 20 minutes by express), Kanazawa (1 hour), and Nagoya (2 hours). Nagano Station can also be reached by highway bus which takes approximately 4 hours from Tokyo or Nagoya.