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Nagano Japan

Nagano is a modern Japanese city and a popular gateway to a variety of sightseeing activities, with Nagano skiing being a major attraction during the winter months. Nagano Japan is also well known for the 1998 Winter Olympics with some of the Nagano ski resorts playing host to many of the events.

Where is Nagano?

Nagano city is located about 233km northwest of Tokyo in the northern part of the Nagano Prefecture, near the Alps and some of the highest mountains in Japan.

Toyko to Nagano

The bullet train is the easiest way to travel from Tokyo to Nagano. The Nagano Shinkansen Asama (the Nagano bullet train) takes about 90 minutes from Tokyo to Nagano. Train departures are frequent (you can check schedules on Hyperdia) and you can check out the Japan rail page for information on the JR East Pass.

Nagano Ski Resort Access

Nagano city is the gateway to various ski resorts, most within the Nagano Prefecture. Here are a handful of the Nagano ski resorts.

Hakuba is a group of ski resorts that are popular with locals and westerners alike. The Hakuba ski areas provide a large expanse of terrain, a degree of nightlife, and a very family friendly approach. Hakuba is located 44km west of Nagano and can be accessed via bus (one hour).

Shiga Kogen is another large Nagano ski resort which is renowned for the long groomed runs, and good snow quality considering the high elevation. Shiga Kogen is 50km northeast of Nagano city and accessed via a 70 minute bus trip.

Nozawa Onsen ski resort sits above the town of Nozawa Onsen, which provides lots of Japanese historic charm and an abundance of hot springs. Nozawa Onsen is 46km northeast of Nagano city, a 1:20 hour bus ride from Nagano train station.

Myoko Kogen is a group of 10 ski resorts that provide delightful opportunities for powderhounds, whilst the little ski town of Akakura Onsen provides some Japanese culture. Myoko Kogen is located one hour north of Nagano city in the Niigata prefecture.

Madarao Mountain Resort has low skier traffic and is located between Nozawa Onsen and Myoko Kogen.

Nagano Hotels

Whether you’re just staying for one night in Nagano or doing a stop-over for a few days to take in the Nagano attractions, there are plenty of Nagano hotels and accommodation options to choose from. Here are a few hotels we have chosen due to their proximity to the Nagano train station and positive public ratings. 

Smile Hotel Nagano | Nagano Hotels Smile Hotel Nagano
2-star hotel located 10 mins walk from JR Nagano station. Twin, double & single western style rooms with LCD TVs, ensuites & free wired internet. 3 restaurants, massage services & onsite parking..
Hotel Route-Inn Shinanoi | Nagano Cheap Hotels Hotel Route-Inn Shinonoi
3-star hotel located 8 mins walk from JR station. Single & twin rooms with flat screen TV & ensuite. Laundry facilities, PC's for guest use, free wired internet & vending machines ..
Toyoko Inn Nagano | Nagano Cheap Hotels Toyoko Inn Nagano
2-star hotel only 300m from JR station. Single & twin rooms with LCD TV & ensuites. Free wifi, laundry facilities, vending machines, hotel PC and luggage storage ..
Hotel New Nagano | Nagano Budget Hotel Hotel New Nagano
3-star hotel a short walk to JR station & Nagano town. Single & twin rooms (smoking or non-smoking) with TV and ensuite. Laundry, restaurant, and car parking available ..
See all Nagano Hotels here >>

Nagano Activities

Nagano is well-known for the Zenko-ji Temple, a 7th century Buddhist temple that’s located about 1 mile from the Nagano Station. The temple contains a very old Buddha statue, but don’t get too excited about seeing it, because its powers are so strong that it has to be kept hidden away! The main temple has a huge hinoki thatched roof and it looks very “Japanese”, so you’re likely to want to have the camera ready. The streets surrounding the temple are really cute and also depict traditional Japanese architecture and decor.

Matsushiro is located in the southern part of the city of Nagano. The former castle town has various historic assets, including temples, samurai residences, amazing gardens, and the remnants of the Matsushiro Kaizu castle.

The nearby town of Matsumoto features the Matsumoto Castle, a five storey black and white donjon that looks rather striking against the background of the Japan Alps.

A visit to the Japanese snow monkeys at the Jigokudani Monkey Park is another popular tourist activity. The park has numerous monkeys that frolic about in hot springs to keep warm during the snowy winter.

Why Ski Nagano?

Nagano is easily accessible from Tokyo, and with the Nagano ski resorts, it doesn’t just need to be all about the skiing and snowboarding. A ski Japan holiday can also provide cultural immersion and an opportunity to partake in some great sightseeing activities around Nagano. Nagano skiing also has the distinct advantage that there are lots of high quality ski resorts within close proximity of each other, so it’s possible to sample multiple Japan ski resorts in the one holiday.