1-Day Togakushi Legends Tour: Hands-on Soba Noodles, Ninja Village, and Hidden Shrines

1-Day Togakushi Legends Tour: Hands-on Soba Noodles, Ninja Village, and Hidden Shrines


July to November


09:35 - 17:20

Meeting Place

Nagano Station Information Board


Adult (13+)19,800 JPY
Child (6-12)11,000JPY

1-Day Togakushi Legends Tour: Hands-on Soba Noodles, Ninja Village, and Hidden Shrines

Sitting just outside Nagano City, the forests of Togakushi are home to some of Japan’s most important Shinto shrines, sacred places that are linked to the myths of the creation of Japan itself, and the mountain refuge of the Togakure Ninja. This engaging tour gives insight into the daily lives of the ninja, taking you along short sections of the pilgrimage trails of the ‘Togakushi Kodo,’ and deep into culture, myth, and legend. This tour includes a hands-on soba making experience, visits to two of the most important Shinto shrines, the Togakushi Ninja Museum, and ends with a stroll through the grand avenue of giant cedar trees.


  • Participate first-hand in Togakushi’s renowned ‘soba’ (buckwheat noodles) making tradition at a renowned soba noodle restaurant, and eat your own noodles afterward!
  • Rediscover the legend of the ‘Togakure Ninja,’ traverse the puzzling Ninja Trick House, and have the opportunity to undergo various other ninja activities.
  • Walk sections of the ‘Togakushi Kodo’ pilgrimage trail through Togakushi’s iconic giant cedar avenue toward the hidden Okusha Shrine.

Want to join this tour from Tokyo? It’s easy to do! Scroll to the bottom for our FAQs including train services that can you use to join the tour!

Starting from Nagano Station at 09:35, your guide will greet you and then lead you to your transport for the day to begin your trek into the rural mountains of the Shinshuu Province. Winding through mountain roads that give way to an ever-expanding forest, the change in atmosphere will energize you as you leave the city behind and arrive at our first activity: Hands-on Soba Noodle Making!

Renowned in Japan for its authentic flavor, the soba noodle crafting tradition in Togakushi has a long and rich history that dates back centuries. Soba, otherwise known as ‘buckwheat’, is a staple crop of the area due to its adaptability to the region’s cool climate and mountainous terrain. Combined with Nagano’s pristine supply of natural water, soba flour is kneaded, rolled, and finally cut to be enjoyed either hot or cold after being dipped in sauce suited to the individual’s tastes. Even if you have no experience in cooking, don’t worry! Soba experts will guide you every step of the way until you can enjoy your edible art as your own lunch, truly immersing yourself in part of Nagano’s cultural identity!

Once you have sated your hunger with a cultural noodle lunch of your own design, we depart to delve deeper into the forest toward the Chuusha (Middle Shrine). One of five shrines making-up the Togakushi Shinto complex, your guide will introduce you to the principles of Japan’s native religion. For at least 1,000 years, Togakushi’s sacred nature has drawn Shinto practitioners and mountain pilgrims into its forests. Indeed the story of Togakushi is linked to the creation myths of Japan.

All Japanese people know the story of Amaterasu – the Sun Goddess – who after a violent dispute with her brother – Susanoo, the Storm God – hid in a cave, bringing darkness to the world. Lured out of her hiding place by other gods who created a commotion outside, the boulder across the cave was cast aside and flew through the heavens to earth, where it fell and created Togakushi – meaning the ‘hidden door’.

Before we trek onward toward the most secluded hidden shrine within the giant cedar trees, we take a slight reprieve to explore another staple of Togakushi’s history: that of the shrouded and elusive ninja. Established in the 12th century, the Togakure school of ninja was founded in the mountains of Togakushi – a place known for its inaccessibility and natural defenses. Alternatively called ‘shinobi’, ninja were covert mercenaries, masters of espionage and deception, disappearing as quickly as they appeared.

You’ll be guided around the museum, including entering the ‘Ninja House’ – a historic escape room-esque maze of deception from which you must try to find your way out. It is as much for adults as it is for kids! If you escape quickly enough, you will have some free time to undergo various other ninja activities such as shuriken throwing and obstacle courses, or use the time to appreciate the history of the architecture and artifacts present within the village.

Finally, meeting up with your guide again, you’ll continue your shrine pilgrimage along the iconic giant cedar avenue of Togakushi, with the ultimate goal being the most hidden shrine of Okusha. You will feel as if you have been transported back several hundred years as modern conveniences disappear on this 45-minute trek, and the forest envelopes the world.

Passing through the Zushimon gate and ascending the stone steps toward Okusha will help you feel renewed in spirit, and connected to its immense history A wonderful way to finish your day in one of Japan’s most mysterious landscapes, and one of its most significant shrines. From here, your guide will take you through one final lap of the giant cedar avenue back toward the bus back to Nagano Station, where the tour will end at 17:20.


9:35The main meetup point is inside Nagano Station, in front of the large Information Board and city map directly across from the Shinkansen ticket gates. Guests will be greeted by their guide and they will depart together toward the soba restaurant in Togakushi.
10:20Arrive at the soba restaurant and start your soba making journey from scratch with the help of your guide and the museum's expert soba artisans.
12:00Enjoy the fruits of your labor with a handmade soba lunch inside of the museum's restaurant seating area!
13:00Depart for the Togakushi Ninja Museum, with a short stop at the Togakushi Chusha Shrine along the way. Once arrived at the ninja museum, your guide will accompany you to the ninja trick house to enjoy engaging and authentic puzzle-solving to escape the manor. Time permitting, you will have time to enjoy other aspects of the ninja museum during free time.
14:45Depart the ninja museum and begin your trek in the grand avenue of cedars toward the Zushimon gate and ascend the stone steps to Togakushi's Okusha Shrine. This walk will take approximately 45 minutes. We will have some free time at the shrine to give time for photos and the purchase of charms from the main shrine.
15:45Descend Okusha Shrine on a return 45 minute trip back through the avenue of giant cedars toward our transportation back to Nagano Station.
16:30Arrive at the bus, board, and depart toward Nagano Station.
17:20Tour concludes at Nagano Station


1  /  NAGANO STATION @ 09:35 — MAIN MEETUP POINT — All Year Round

This tour operates to and from Nagano Station. The meetup point is inside the station, in front of the Information Board directly across from the Shinkansen ticket gates. Be sure to look for the guide wearing a SNOW MONKEY RESORTS tour tag and ensure you are there prior to the meetup time as the tour will need to depart by 09:40.



  • Transportation fee from Nagano to Togakushi and between activities/attractions
  • Togakushi Ninja Museum inc. Ninja House entry fee
  • Soba noodle making experience at a renowned soba noodle restaurant
  • Lunch (including your own handmade noodles)
  • Guided tour at Togakushi Ninja Museum, various shrines throughout Togakushi, and guided soba making experience
  • English-speaking guide


  • Additional food, snacks & drinks
  • Optional activity fees within the Togakushi Ninja Museum inc.
  • Shinkansen / ‘Bullet Train’ tickets
  • Accommodation

Other Information

  • There will be a significant amount of walking required (2 km one way, 4 km total) from the Togakushi Ninja Museum inc. to the main Okusha Shrine at Togakushi, along a forest trail with a section of ascending stone steps, so please wear appropriate shoes/boots. Please check the weather forecast before you head to the meetup point and prepare an umbrella or rain coat if necessary.
  • This tour is not wheelchair accessible and may not be suitable for mobility-impaired travelers. Should you have any concerns about your ability to join the tour, please contact us to discuss prior to booking.
  • This tour uses different forms of transport. Tours can be conducted by microbus, larger coach or train depending on the season and size of the group.
  • This tour includes lunch at a renowned soba restaurant. Each party will be asked to make their own soba noodles for their lunch. Each party will be given enough ingredients by the staff to make enough soba for their entire party. Willing party members will switch off creating the soba at various steps in the process. In the case of larger parties, the portions may be split up into multiple groups to conserve time.
  • Infants (0-5) are free of charge. An infant lunch is not included and the order will be made directly to the restaurant according to your needs. We also cannot guarantee that a seat on the tour transport will be available for infants and they may be required to sit in the lap of an adult, especially during winter i.e. from December to March.
  • Booking cut-off time is an hour before the pick up time on the day.


I'd like to join this tour from Tokyo. Which Shinkansen / 'Bullet Train' service should I use to arrive in Nagano on time? What time do services depart for Tokyo after the tour?
The start and finish times of this tour are arranged according to the Shinkansen timetable. You can book the following services on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line when joining this tour at Nagano Station:

Departing Tokyo Station – Arriving Nagano Station
Tokyo: 07:20 – Nagano: 08:42 – Kagayaki – reserved seats only Tokyo: 07:24 – Nagano: 09:13 – Asama Tokyo: 07:52 – Nagano: 09:30 – Hakutaka*

*Nagano Station is a small station and our morning meet-up point is directly opposite the shinkansen/bullet train tickets gates at 09:35. Therefore you can take the 07:52 – 09:30 train service however please ensure you come straight to the meeting point after your train arrives.

Departing Nagano Station – Arriving Tokyo Station

Nagano: 17:56 – Tokyo: 19:20 – Kagayaki – reserved seats only Nagano: 18:23 – Tokyo: 20:00 – Hakutaka*

*In winter, we recommend that you book this service to return to Tokyo. While we expect to this tour to conclude at JR Nagano Station by 17:30 winter weather and roads conditions mean that we cannot guarantee it. To be safe, we recommend booking the 18:22 service.

Also, if you are staying in Myoko Kogen and would like to join the tour, you can take a train from Myoko Kogen Station and get to Nagano Station on time (830 JPY / one way).

Departing Myoko Kogen Station – Arriving Nagano Station

Myoko Kogen: 7:48 – Nagano: 8:32 Myoko Kogen: 8:39 – Nagano: 9:23

Departing Nagano Station – Arriving Myoko Kogen Station

Nagano: 18:14 – Myoko Kogen: 19:00
Can I add accommodation to my tour booking?
Yes. We can add accommodation in Nagano City, Yamanouchi/Snow Monkey area, the Togakushi area, and (in winter) also in the Hakuba village area. To do so, contact us at anytime to discuss options.
I have specific dietary requirements. Can these be catered for?
Yes. This tour typically uses various soba restaurant locations in the Togakushi area. These restaurants typically serve either soba or udon (which are not gluten-free) to vegetarian options. We would appreciate if you can let us know in advance by entering that information in the booking form. Please note that some dietary restrictions may require the restaurant to prepare a different lunch to the typical tour meal.
Is this tour wheelchair accessible or suitable for mobility-impaired guests?
Unfortunately, this tour is not wheelchair accessible and may not be suitable for mobility-impaired guests. The tour requires a significant amount of walking – suitable for anyone of reasonable fitness – including a 2km/1.2-mile forest trail leading to and from the Okusha shrine. The trail is unsealed and in winter will be affected by snow and ice in winter, meaning that a wheelchair cannot move along it. There is also a relatively steep stone staircase at the end of the trail leading to the shrine. Guests who are mobility-impaired may also struggle with the conditions. Should you have any concerns about your ability to join the tour, please contact us prior to booking to discuss options.
What should I wear/bring?
Please wear clothing appropriate to the season in which you are taking the tour, and check the weather forecast ahead of time. Guests may wish to bring rain coats or umbrellas on rainy days, or sunscreen to avoid sunburn during the summer months. In the winter months, the air temperatures will be cold (5 to -5 ℃ on average), and so gloves, winter boots, warm hats, and hand warmers are recommended. Otherwise, please feel free to bring any other items, such as water or a snack, which you would normally carry when walking in the outdoors.

(Travel Agency License No: Nagano 2-562)
Snow Monkey Resorts Tours
Nagano City Kurita 1015-7, NK Copo 202, Nagano, 380-0921 Japan
Tel: (81)26-219-6256
Member of All Nippon Travel Agents Association
Travel Service Supervisor: Tomoko Kasahara