Located in the Koshinetsu region, Nagano is a prefecture blessed with nature that hosted the 1998 Winter Olympics. It is a popular sightseeing spot among many people, including Japanese people, as there are many spots overflowing with history and plenty of townscapes that have retained the look of the past. You can enjoy many outdoor activities there, such as trekking or hiking through Kamikochi or the Japanese Alps. You can also participate in winter sports at Hakuba Happo-One or NOZAWA ONSEN Snow Resort, which is near a hot spring village! Why not go cycling in the beautiful rural landscape of Azumino while gazing at the nearby Northern Alps? If you want to bask in Japan’s atmosphere, it is recommended to visit the beautiful Zenkoji Temple (National Treasure), Matsumoto Castle that’s home to Japan’s oldest 5-layer, 6-floor castle tower, and Togakushi Jinja that you have to pass through an almost spiritual row of cedar trees to reach. A producer of chestnuts, Obuse is home to the Hokusai Museum, which exhibits several of Hokusai Katsushika’s creations, including original drawings. Nagano is also an area lush with fruits like apples and grapes, so you can also enjoy picking fruit! For food, you have first got to try Nagano’s soba! There’s a soba restaurant everywhere you go, and each of them has their own unique version of the dish, so try searching for your favorite. Miso – one of Japan’s traditional fermented foods – is a specialty product of Nagano, so you should try to eat dishes that use it or purchase it as a souvenir. There are a ton of other specialty products, such as Pickled Nozawana and Oyaki (sweet bean paste made from vegetables or mountain plants that’s wrapped in kneaded wheat flour and broiled). At Daio Wasabi Farm, you can try their special wasabi in soft-serve ice cream, croquettes, curry, and other dishes. What’s great about Nagano Prefecture is that it’s home to tons of onsen, like Asama Hot Springs, Shirahone-Onsen, Shibu Onsen, and Goshiki Onsen. You will actually be able to see monkeys making use of Jigokudani Onsen to stave off the winter cold! Spring and summer brings about greenery and blooming flowers, autumn foliage spreads throughout the area in the fall, and the prefecture becomes a snowy wonderland in winter. The scenery changes with the seasons, ensuring that you’ll be satisfied whenever you visit!
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