First developed as a town for Zenko-ji Temple, it is famous as the site of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.
Nagano, in the northern part of Nagano Prefecture, is located at the basin of the Chikuma-gawa River that runs through the Zenko-ji-daira Plateau. It developed as a temple town for Zenko-ji Temple, that is said to have been built at the beginning of the 7th century. Chuo-dori Street, which stretches from the Zenko-ji-guchi Square of Nagano Station, is one of the city's main streets. The Omote-Sando area, along the front approach to Zenko-ji Temple, is now home to the largest shopping mall in the city.
The Omote-Sando area was renovated at the time of the Nagano Olympics in 1998, and it is lined with buildings in both Japanese and western architectural styles, all arranged in a modern manner. Along the street you can see mini street-corner museums that are a part of the shops.
Inside the ice skating rink M-Wave, one of the venues for the Winter Olympics, is the Nagano Olympics Memorial Corner exhibiting some of the sports equipment that was actually used in the games along with licensed products.
The Kawanaka-jima War Field, the site of many episodes during the age of civil wars in the 16th century, is maintained as Hachiman-para Historical Park.
A quaint path made of blocks of chestnut wood in the center of Obuse, a town renowned for its chestnut confectionary. The sake warehouses, galleries, and residences along the path have traditional white walls and tiled roofs, with brick chimneys adding to the overall romantic feel of the town. At one end of the path is the Hokusai Museum displaying works of Japan's most highly acclaimed wood block print artist, Katsushika Hokusai.
From Tokyo :
[Rail] 1h 45 min to Nagano Station by JR Hokuriku Shinkansen Line. 30 min from Nagano to Obuse Station by Nagano Dentetsu Line.
From Osaka :
[Rail] ① 50 min from Shin-Osaka to Nagoya Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and 3h from Nagoya to Nagano Station by JR Chuo Line (limited express Shinano). 30 min from Nagano to Obuse Station by Nagano Dentetsu Line.
② 2h 35 min from Shin-Osaka to Kanazawa Station by JR Hokuriku Line (limited express Thunderbird), and 1h 30 min to Nagano Station by JR Hokuriku Shinkansen. 30 min from Nagano to Obuse Station by Nagano Dentetsu Line.