As most coming to this area will know, Nagano City was the host city for the 1998 Winter Olympics. With its tall mountains, long snow season, and proximity to Tokyo, Nagano was thought to be the perfect scene for the 18th Winter Olympic Games. We will tell you all about the places important to the Winter Olympics here:
- Headquarters for the International Olympic Committee: The secretariat for the Olympic Committee was Nagano City’s Kokusai 21 Hotel. This hotel was chosen because of its central location in the city, the service quality of the staff, and its seven restaurants. There is Italian, French, Japanese, Chinese, Teppanyaki, bistro style and some more. Its worldwide food selection and international atmosphere were perfect for making the hotel home to the International Committee for the duration of the Olympics. Kokusai 21 is located close to Zenko-ji Temple, one of Nagano City’s main attractions, and Uruoikan, Nagano’s one and only hot spring facility, both within short walking distance.
- Nagano Olympic Stadium (also called Minami Nagano Sports Park): This venue was the site for the opening/closing ceremonies of the Olympics. It is also the finish for the annual Nagano Marathon. The full name for the marathon is the Nagano Olympic Commemorative Marathon and is, as the name suggests, in honor of the Olympics. The route goes past 4 of the official Olympic venues.
- Aqua Wing Arena: This arena has a whole array of water sport facilities in the building. Twenty years ago though, the venue was used for the ice hockey games.
- Big Hat: The Big Hat was used as the scene for the ice hockey finales for men and women. Even now it’s still used for ice hockey tournaments like the Nagano Cup, an annually held game to commemorate the Nagano Olympics. Short track speed skating events are also one of the things done in the venue.
- M-Wave: The M-Wave might be the most recognizable venue of the 1998 Olympics. The speed skating competition was held here in 1998. Its shape is exatly as the name indicates, M-shaped. It is an oval shaped skating rink that can be transformed into a concert hall or football field through its movable stands.
- White Ring arena: The White Ring area was the place for figure skating and short track speed skating. The venue is still use as an ice skating rink and sometimes as an event venue as well.
How to get to these Olympic venues?
The Olympic sport venues are a little bit difficult to access and might require you to go there by taxi if you want to see them. To get to either venue on foot can take anywhere between 30 to 90 minutes so employing a taxi or asking your hotel for a lift would probably work best!
Kokusai 21, the Olympic HQ, however, is easily reachable because of its central position. If you stay overnight there, they also make sure to pick you and your luggage up from the station so it’s even more convenient.