Destinations & Attractions Nearby Togakushi
Located just outside of Nagano City, it’s easy to combine your visit to Togakushi with other nearby destinations and there’s no better place to start than Nagnao, near-1400 year old Zenko-ji Temple. Said to house the first known Buddhist statue ever to be brought to Japan from Korea, Zenko-ji can lay claim to being the most important cultural and spiritual site in the region.
The story of the temple is fundamental to the history of Nagano and to this day, retains its importance for the daily lives of Nagano’s residents.
From Nagano Station, it’s easy to head to Matsumoto and its famous castle. One of the few remaining original castles in Japan and boasting a lively arts and food scene, a visit to Matsumoto makes for an enjoyable day-trip from Nagano.
The Jigokudani Monkey Park is also within easy reach – by bus or train – from Nagano Station. Home to the region’s famous hot spring-bathing monkeys, a visit to the park is pretty much a necessity for any visitor to Nagano.
The monkeys come to the park all year round. While most popular in winter, the monkeys are just are reliable in summer when visitor numbers are much lower. Each season provides its own special reason to visit so rest assured, it’s always a good time to visit the world’s most famous monkeys!
As host of the 1998 Winter Olympics, Nagano’s winter credentials are well-known and visitors in winter are spoiled for choice when it comes to skiing and snowboarding. Located only 30 minutes drive from the monkey park and accessible by public bus, Shiga Kogen is Japan’s largest and highest ski resort, known for its long season and reliability of its snow.
Made-up of 18 different ski areas, the resort offers 79 ski runs serviced by more than 50 chairlifts and gondolas covered by an all-mountain pass. Shiga Kogen is our recommendation when combing a visit to the monkeys with your ski adventure in Nagano.
Shiga is just as enticing outside of winter, offering visitors outstanding hiking and nature photography. Sitting in the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park, the mountain peaks and forested valleys that make-up this sprawling alpine landscape are home to important species of flora and fauna. Recognised as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve in 1981, the months of spring to autumn offer the chance to explore this special realm – an enticing destination for nature photographers and enthusiasts!
Just down the hill from the park, the traditional hot spring towns of Yudanaka Onsen and Shibu Onsen boast numerous accommodation options, most with their own natural onsen. Shibu Onsen in particular is a historically important town dating back approximately 1300 years which retains much of its traditional character through its narrow lane ways and many ‘ryokan’ (traditional guesthouses).
Visitors coming to the park by train might like to stop at Obuse, another historically important town midway between Yudanaka and Nagano Stations. An important Edo Period merchant town, Obuse is now famous for its chestnut confectionaries, sake breweries, and the Hokusai Museum – dedicated to Japan’s most important and famous artist, Katsushika Hokusai.
The small and enjoyable museum showcases his life and work, with regularly rotating exhibitions to justify multiple visits through the year. Nearby Gansho-in Temple is adorned with Hokusai’s last – and largest remaining – masterpiece on its ceiling. A huge painted phoenix whose gaze follows you as you move around the temple – a breath-taking and internationally important artwork.
Want to visit any of these destinations on a private tour or charter? Feel free to contact us at email@example.com and let’s get planning together!