Nagano City has a great many hotels, being the capital of Nagano Prefecture and the capital of the 1998 Olympics. One favourite hotel we’d like to introduce is Hotel Kokusai 21, one of the most high-class hotels in Nagano City.
Hotel Kokusai 21 is located about 10 minutes on foot from Zenko-ji Temple, the beating heart and centre of the city. The hotel is also 10 minutes on foot located from Uruoikan, the only 100% natural hot spring facility in the city. The hotel is nicely in the centre of the city with good access to Gondo District which would cover your dinner options outside the hotel.
The hotel has various rooms; singles, doubles, twins, and deluxe and suite rooms. Every room is clean and with more than enough space to be comfortable. The higher your room is, the better your view over the city. If you sleep in the deluxe and suite rooms which are at the top levels, the view stretches all the way to Yamanouchi, where the Snow Monkey Park is located.
The hotel has more to offer besides its location and activities. It has 6 restaurant, all with a different cuisine; French (Boulanger), Italian (Dono Dono), Chinese (Karin), traditional Japanese (Tsukasa), and Teppanyaki (Sakura). Breakfast is a buffet with various options of western and Japanese foods.
The hotel being so close to Zenko-ji Temple, one of Japan’s major pilgrimage destinations, let’s you explore the temple to your heart’s content. One thing we would like to recommend now you’re so close-by anyways, is to wake up before first sunlight, and partake in the morning service. This is quite an experience with the chanting of Buddhist prayers, the ceremonial movements of the head priest, and the walking of the Tunnel to the Key to Paradise. Definitely a must-see.
If you’d like to experience a real Japanese hot spring, Uruoikan is a nice onsen facility located next to Nagano’s main river. The facility is located within 10 minutes walking distance from Hotel Kokusai 21, and is the only hot spring that is 100% natural hot spring and is very popular amongst locals. It has a lovely outdoor bath, indoor bath, and sauna facilities. If you also would like to explore Zenko-ji Temple and Onsen in quick and efficient way, a free rental bicycle service is available for Hotel Kokusai 21’s guests.
There’s two activities that can be done in the hotel if you feel like staying indoors for a bit: You can participate in either tea ceremony or flower arrangement while wearing Kimono. A true master of these arts will teach you the ropes of these traditional Japanese arts.
Furthermore, the hotel is also one of the three locations for pick-up for the Snow Monkey Resorts tours. In the winter season of 2017/2018 tour customers that want to get picked up from Patio Daimon (close to Zenko-ji Temple), and Kokusai 21 will get picked up a little before the tour start. Please see this blog for further details about the pick-up service.
The one thing that is not so nice about this central location is that it is 20 minutes away from JR Nagano Station on foot. The hotel staff has solved this issue by providing scheduled shuttle service, and free pick-up to the hotel and free drop-off to the station on your day of departure.
Come to Nagano and enjoy the first-class hospitality of Hotel Kokusai 21!