Nagano City lies in a valley, surrounded by mountains from all sides. If you know the right vantage point, you can see all over the plains of Zenko-ji and surrounding areas like Obuse and even up to the Snow Monkey area. Here you can find our recommendations for the best view over Nagano:
Kokusai 21 (International 21 in English) is one of Nagano City’s finest hotels. It has amazing service, spacious rooms, and a wide range of different restaurants that specialize in the Japanese, Chinese, Italian, and French kitchen. This French restaurant is the one you need to go to if you’re looking for the best view over Nagano City. The restaurant is called Boulanger and is found on the 16th floor. Take a seat at one of the many tables of the hotel’s sky lounge for lunch or dinner and enjoy the fine cuisine while taking in the scenery of the city, river, and mountains.
If you’re in the middle of the city center and are hungry and thirsty, we recommend taking a seat at on of Bikura’s tables. Bikura is a restaurant on the 10th floor of the the high-rise building right across from the Zenko-ji exit of Nagano Station. This restaurant opens in the late afternoon, so you can see the orange and reds of sunset and the electric lights lighting up the city in the later hours. Grab yourself a nice drink and local dish and enjoy the hustle and bustle of life around the city center and serene views of the far away mountains.
Unjoden (translaten into Hall beyond the Clouds) is one of the 37 temples of the Zenko-ji Temple complex. While most temples are close to the main hall, the beating heart of the complex, Unjoden is 1 km away, built on top of one the surrounding mountains of the Zenko-ji Plains. It is the ash repository of Zenko-ji, and absolutely stunning in autumn when the trees change to red and orange colors, and spring when the 650 cherry blossom trees start blooming. Besides the temple grounds being attractive, the scenery of the Plains that can be seen from the temple might be even more memorable.