Nagano is most famous internationally as a skiing destination, having hosted the 1992 winter Olympics in Hakuba. There are hundreds of ski resorts in this area of Japan with fabulous skiing, natural hot springs and almost always guaranteed snow through the season.
Japanese affectionally call the area Shinshu and come here to enjoy the natural scenery throughout the year. Spring brings cherry blossom soon followed by the chorus of frogs living in the paddy fields. In the summer you can enjoy all manner of outdoor activities with much cooler temperatures than other parts of Japan. In autumn the mountain foliage turns fiery red as warm sunny afternoons are followed by cool crisp evenings.
The fertile soil provides a perfect setting for some of Japan’s best food. As well as huge healthy vegetables, it is known for Japan’s best apples, and also wins awards for the best sake, a tribute to the quality of their rice.
Nagano has become increasingly accessible in recent years as the bullet train was extended north and now Tokyo is within 2 hours of much of the prefecture. Tourists can also continue north on the bullet train to Kanazawa and on to Kyoto.