Nagano (長野) is the capital of Nagano prefecture, in the Chubu district of Japan. It flourished as a temple city of Zenkō-ji, a famous temple.


Nagano hosted the 1998 Winter Olympic Games. Many of the Olympic facilities remain open - like the M-Wave speedskating arena and the Aqua-Wing arena - making Nagano a popular destination for indoor and outdoor sports enthusiasts. It's also a key launching point for trips to onsen and ski resorts in the nearby mountains, which are often referred to as "the Japanese Alps".

Get in

By train

Nagano is accessible from Tokyo station via the Hokuriku Shinkansen, formerly known as the Nagano Shinkansen. The trip takes anywhere from 80 to 110 minutes depending on the train that is used, but generally the Kagayaki (かがやき) and the Hakutaka (はくたか) services make fewer stops than the Asama (あさま). The fare is ¥8,200 for a reserved seat. Standard and Green Car seats are fully covered by the respective versions of the Japan Rail Pass, but if you want to use the premium GranClass seats - which feature airline-like business class seats and personal attendant service - you will have to pay the limited express and GranClass surcharges (an additional ¥11,910 from Tokyo to Nagano), as any version of the Japan Rail Pass only covers the base fare.

The regional JR East Rail Pass will cover the full trip from Tokyo to Nagano, but the more local JR Kanto Area Pass will only cover the trip to Saku-daira, a few stations short of Nagano; you will have to purchase a regular ticket (¥3,330 for a reserved seat) for the remainder of the journey.

The Wide View Shinano (ワイドビュー しなの) limited express train runs hourly from Nagoya to Nagano (3 hours, ¥7,330). From Kyoto or Osaka there are two ways to get to Nagano: Either take the Tokaido Shinkansen to Nagoya and change to the Shinano (¥12,000 from Osaka), or take the Thunderbird (サンダーバード) service to Kanazawa and then take the Hokuriku Shinkansen from Kanazawa to Nagano (¥14,290 from Osaka). Each of the options take approximately 4 to 4 1/2 hours from Osaka depending on stopping patterns, and both are fully covered by the Japan Rail Pass (except for Nozomi trains on the Tokaido Shinkansen).

By bus

Highway buses from Tokyo depart from the terminal in Shinjuku, and from the Sunshine City Prince Hotel in Ikebukuro. The trip takes around three and a half hours, and the fare is ¥4000 one-way. The ¥7200 round trip fare is about half the cost of the Shinkansen.

Hankyu and Nankai buses also make a few daytime and nighttime runs from Osaka and Kyoto to Nagano. The day runs take about seven hours, and the night runs take nine hours. Expect to pay ¥6200 one-way, ¥10000 round trip from Osaka, and ¥5300 one-way, ¥9500 round-trip from Kyoto.

Get around

There are buses that loop around the city center called the Gururingo (ぐるりん号). If you stay within the main area a ride is only 100yen.


Zenkō-ji Temple



Togakushi soba

Nagano is famous for Togakushi soba. Also be sure to get some Oyaki, a delicious and cheap Japanese dumpling. It comes in many different flavoured fillings, both sweet and savoury.







Go next

Routes through Nagano

Kanazawa Toyama  W  E  Ueda Tokyo
Joetsu Toyota-Iiyama  N  S  Kosyoku S Fujioka

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Sunday, January 24, 2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.