Ueda Castle provides a sense of Japan's civil war era. Bessho-onsen Hot Spring features a variety of hot springs.
The city of Ueda is a former castle town in the basin of eastern Nagano, with the Chikuma-gawa River running quietly through it. The castle town was built around Ueda Castle, which was constructed in the 16th century by the military commander Sanada Masayuki. Three turrets and the Higashi-Toraguchi Yagura-mon Gate have been restored in the remains of the castle, and along with the stone walls they provide even today the atmosphere of Japan's civil war era. In spring cherry trees bloom gorgeously, attracting many visitors.
Walls covered with square tiles arranged in a lattice pattern and joined with raised plaster in a style know as 'namako,' and the pure white storehouse walls of the merchant houses give visitors the feeling of having traveled several hundred years back in time. Also, Ueda prospered from the silk industry from the 1910s, producing silkworms and silkworm eggs, and is now known for Ueda Tsumugi, a traditional fabric used to make local specialty products.
In the southeast section of the Ueda Basin is the Bessho-onsen Hot Spring, which is said to have been discovered over 1,000 years ago. It actually consists of several hot springs, each with its own individual charm, which can be enjoyed by anyone no matter where they are staying. They include the Ishi-yu, O-yu, Daishi-yu, and Aisome-no-yu. There are also many historic cultural monuments in the area, such as the three-tiered pagoda in Zenzan-ji Temple, and in the center of town, Kitamuki-kannon and Anraku-ji Temple, which has a three-tiered octagonal pagoda that has been designated a national treasure. The Take-no-Nobori (banners) is a well-known but rather unusual festival held in Bessho that has been designated as intangible national treasure. It is held every summer to pray for sufficient rain.
In the neighboring area are other beautiful sightseeing spots, such as the Sugadaira-kogen Highlands, which are also called "Japan's Davos," and the Utsukushi-ga-hara-kogen Highlands, and there are many other sites to show you Nagano's natural sceneries.
[Rail] 1h 13 min from Tokyo to Ueda Station by JR Hokuriku Shinkansen Line, and 30 min from Ueda to Bessho-onsen Station by Ueda Dentetsu Bessho Line.