Lying around 40-minutes drive outside of central Nagano City, the forests of Togakushi are home to some of Japan’s most important Shinto shrines. In association with those shrines, the region is also home to many ‘shukubo’ (temple lodgings) and ‘ryokan’ (traditional guesthouses) offering guests the chance to enjoy a uniquely Japanese accommodation experience. Most guesthouses offer both dinner and breakfast service, traditional rooms with on-floor ‘futon’ bedding with some also have in-house hot springs.
Most guesthouses are concentrated around the ‘Hokosha’ (Lower Shrine) and the lower area of Togakushi village with a second concentration nearby the ‘Chusha’ (Middle Shrine). Togakushi Ski Resort is located another 5-minutes drive past the village and offers several small ski lodges and family-run guesthouses. The resort is small and popular with locals meaning that there no large hotels in the area and most won’t speak English. But don’t let that put you off. Expect a warm welcome as you will be one of the few international visitors that make it there in winter.