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Fall in Nagano Is Wonderfully Appealing!
—Shinshu Destination Campaign Now Underway

Photo: Apple Picking in Nagano

Nagano Prefecture , located roughly in the center of Japan’s main island of Honshu, was formerly known as Shinshu and has long been a favorite travel destination.

Nagano’s rich natural environment is the perfect stage for outdoor activities, with highland resorts such as Karuizawa or Tateshina, the best mountainous areas in the country, hiking enlivened by seasonal panoramas, and former Olympic ski slopes offering some of the best powder snow around.

For the history-minded, there are the villages of Tsumago and Magome, which still convey the flavor of the Edo period (1603–1868), when they flourished as post towns on a road linking the capital with outlying areas; Matsumoto Castle, built in the 16th century and designated a National Treasure; and countless temples and shrines with their traditional vistas for visitors’ enjoyment.

Nagano is also known for its numerous onsen (hot springs), each with its own distinctive atmosphere. One of them, Jigokudani Onsen, is famous for its so-called “snow monkeys,” Japanese macaques that fight the winter cold by soaking in its hot springs baths.

This is also the place to go for good things to eat—Shinshu soba (buckwheat noodles), apples, mushrooms of all kinds, chestnuts and so on. There’s all manner of fun things to see and do in Nagano Prefecture, which has the added attraction of being around an hour away from Tokyo on the Nagano Shinkansen bullet train.

Nagano Prefecture is currently holding a “Shinshu Destination Campaign” until December 31 that includes walking or dining “stamp rallies,” lucky draws offering gift certificates for lodging or free agricultural products, and many special events and activities. In one of the highlights of the campaign, train rides will be offered daily until December 26 between Nagano and Matsumoto on the Shinonoi Line and between Matsumoto and Minami-Otari on the Oito Line aboard the latest-model hybrid train, which is powered by an electric motor and a diesel engine.

Visitors to the area can enjoy the view of the Northern Alps from the trains running on the Oito Line, and miko (shrine maidens) will pose for photographs at stations along the way and on the trains.

Nagano looks forward to your visit this autumn!