Long Stay Vacation in Nagano : Top 10 Nearby Day Trips
Make Kamesei Ryokan your base for exploring Nagano Prefecture.
Here are the top 10 day-trips most popular with our guests.

Zenkoji Temple, Nagano City

TRAIN : 25 min. + 5 min. bus or 25 min. on foot / CAR : 50 min. (27km)
  • Must Visit
Our onsen town, Togura-Kamiyamada, has traditionally been considered the resort visitors to Zenkoji stay at after making their pilgrimage. The venerable temple houses the “Amida Triad Sharing One Halo” image. It is the oldest Buddhist image in Japan, having crossed over from the Korean Peninsula in 552. Once every 7 years it is put on display during the renowned Gokaicho ceremony. Visitors to the temple usually enter the Main Hall, and take the stairs down into a pitch-black corridor, feeling along the wall in the hopes of finding the ‘key’ that is located directly under said image. After transmitting prayers through the image, visitors ascend the stairs to once again be in the light, a sensation similar to being born again.

Karuizawa

TRAIN : 60 min. (or 45 min. w/ Shinkansen) / CAR : 75 min. (55km)
  • Couples
Nagano Prefecture’s premier resort town, Karuizawa boasts a large number of high caliber art museums and galleries, fantastic boutique shops, quaint chapels, and a smorgasbord of gourmet restaurants, all in a lush, natural setting. And that’s not to mention the outlet shopping center. Plus there are the elegant Mikasa and Manpei Hotels and the fancy summer homes, giving the town an opulent atmosphere.

Togakushi

TRAIN : 25 min. + 60 min. bus / CAR : 75 min. (46km)
  • Family

The name “Togakushi” refers to a tale related to Japan’s creation myth, appropriate for the area’s mystical atmosphere. Perhaps the place best suited for feeling the spiritual power is the trail to Okusha, the Inner Shrine. It is lined by ancient cedar trees that give a distinct vibe of the power of nature. Togakushi is also famous for soba noodles, and there is something extra-special about the noodles prepared with the highland’s clear water and clean mountain air. Togakushi hides one other secret: the eponymous Togakure-ryu ninjas. Many of our guests have come back from the Togakushi Ninja Village gushing that it was more fun than USJ!

Matsumoto

TRAIN : 45 min. from Obasute Station / CAR : 50 min. (49km)
  • History Lovers
Known as the Crow Castle, the formidable Matsumoto-jo is designated a National Treasure. It has been recently joined as such by Matsumoto’s old Kaichi School building. Another popular destination is the Municipal Art Museum, with a selection of works by the world-renowned ‘polka-dot lady’, Yayoi Kusama. The Nawate-dori and Nakamachi shopping streets round out the must-see spots in central Matsumoto City.

Obuse

TRAIN : 70 min. / CAR : 45 min. (37km)
  • Friends
Famous for chestnut sweets and the ukiyo-e artist Hokusai, Obuse is particularly popular with two types of visitors: Japanese and other Asians for the chestnut mont blanc, and Westerners for the Hokusai Museum and ceiling painting of a phoenix at Gansho-in Temple. Personally, our favorite aspect is the quaint townscape, especially Chestnut Lane and all the Open Gardens.

 The Roof of Japan – Kamikochi, Utsukushigahara and a variety of Ropeways and Gondolas

  • Senior

One of Nagano’s biggest draws are its many mountains. The Prefecture is not only home to all three of the Japanese Alps ranges (Northern, Central and Southern), but has Shiga Kogen and the “5 Northern Nagano Peaks”. Everywhere you go in Nagano you will see mountains! Many of our guests visit Nagano, taking a ropeway or gondola car to the top of the mountains, then come down to relax at our inn.

 Mountain Climbing and Trekking

  • Active
Lots of guests show up wearing hiking boots after traipsing around Nagano’s mountains and forests. We are actually fans of mountain climbing, too, and have explored most of the trails around our onsen town Togura-Kamiyamada and several throughout the Prefecture.  We would be happy to give suggestions based on current conditions and your activity level, so feel free to ask us.

 Shinshu Wine Valley

  • Gourmand

Nagano's wineries have been gaining attention on the global stage lately, and we are fortunate to have several "Wine Valleys" in our vicinity.

The eastern section of the Chikuma River Wine Valley is perhaps most famous for the collection of wineries in Tomi City, while Chateau Mercian's new Mariko Winery in the hills above Ueda City has already made the global Top 50 list.

The northern reaches of the Chikuma River Wine Valley includes the highly-acclaimed Kusunoki Winery in Suzaka (the chardonnay is a life-changer!) and the picturesque St. Cousair Winery in Iizuna town

Apricot Village and Fruit Picking

TRAIN : 6 min. + 5 min. taxi / CAR : 20 min. (11km)
  • Photographers
  • Nature Lovers
The nearby Mori district is nicknamed "Anzu no Sato" (Apricot Village), as our city is Japan's #1 producer of apricots.  In early April the entire valley is covered in the delicate pink blossoms.  It is said you can see 100,000 apricot trees at one time from the viewpoint at the top of the valley.  The apricot harvest season is late June / early July which kicks off our parade of local fruit picking: cherries in July, peaches in August, grapes in September, apples in October / November, and strawberries through the winter and early spring.

 Fabled Moon-Reflecting Obasute Rice Terraces  *Japan Heritage Site*

TRAIN : 10 min. / CAR : 10 min. (6km)
  • Poets

The Obasute Rice Terraces are a quick 10 minutes by car from Kamesei Ryokan. They are located on a slope at the base of the 1252-meter tall Mt. Kamuriki which towers over our city.  The mountain is nicknamed “Obasute Mountain”, refering to the ancient legend about abandoning elderly people on the mountaintop. From ancient times, the area at the foot of the mountain has been renowned for its stunning views of the moon, especially a phenomenon known as “Tagoto no Tsuki” where the moon reflects in the individual rice paddies.  In October 2020, Obasute was designated a Japan Heritage site for the moon-viewing story.

Bonus: The Snow Monkeys at Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park

TRAIN : 25 min. + 45 min. bus + 30 min. on foot / CAR : 60 min. (53km) + 30 min. on foot
  • Nature Lovers
  • Photographers
No visit to Nagano would be complete without seeing the world-famous Snow Monkeys at the Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park.  They draw photographers from across the globe to capture their blissful expression as they luxuriate in the hot spring water.  While many people go see the monkeys during winter, the babies born in the springtime are little fur-balls running all over the place making the Monkey Park a treat to visit year-round.