Things to do in
Nagano Prefecture

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Our most recommended things to do in Nagano Prefecture

Nagano: Snow Monkeys, Zenkoji Temple & Sake Day Trip

1. Nagano: Snow Monkeys, Zenkoji Temple & Sake Day Trip

A great tour for all seasons, this is a 1-day guided tour of the most famous attractions of Nagano City and Jigokudani or “Hell’s Valley”, home of the Snow Monkeys. Take a scenic route to see the cutest monkeys in the world, then experience the tranquility of Zenkoji Temple and lively Nakamise shopping street. For guests traveling from Hakuba, from December through March, your journey can begin with a shuttle from Hakuba Happo Bus Terminal at 7:55 AM; otherwise, meet your guide at Nagano Station at 9:35 AM (please be at your chosen pickup point in advance of the meetup time as the tour needs to depart on-time). Famous for being the temple to hold the first Buddhist statue in Japan. Zenkoji Temple has a special energy and welcomes people of all faiths and religions. The temple grounds are beautiful and tranquil; there are hidden gems to explore, such as the dark tunnel running under the temple, said to be where you can gain enlightenment by finding the “Key To Paradise”. After lunch, return to Nagano Station again by public transport and take local bus from there to the Snow Monkeys. World-famous for their rare habit of soaking in the hot spring and living in the snow, these amazing macaques will let you get really close to them for some great photo opportunities and an unforgettable experience. After saying goodbye to the snow monkeys, stroll back along the tranquil forest trail to a delicious lunch at the restaurant near the trail exit. After seeing the Snow Monkeys, head to the local Japanese sake brewery to try various types of sake maybe even find a nice souvenir for yourself.

Welcome to Nagano: Private Tour with a Local

2. Welcome to Nagano: Private Tour with a Local

Get an exclusive welcome to Nagano on a private tour with a local guide. Transform your way of traveling to make it as much about the people you meet as the places you see.  Follow your friendly local as they share their passion for the place they live. Learn all the tricks to make the most of the city and get tips on the best things to see. Meet in the neighborhood where you are staying to get familiar with the best places to eat and buy groceries. Hear about the easiest ways to get around, and the top things to do. By the end of the tour, you'll feel more comfortable and confident navigating the city on your own, secure in the knowledge that you have all the information you need to make the most of your stay!

Nagano Guided Day Tour: Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji, Obuse

3. Nagano Guided Day Tour: Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji, Obuse

Explore Nagano City on a full day guided tour. Enjoy scenic views, taste local food, and marvel at the snow monkeys bathing in the Shibu Onsen hot springs. Discover local art and drink Sake in Obuse Town, and find fortune at the clandestine and sacred Zenko-ji Temple. Get picked up by the guide at your hotel or local train station and marvel at the beautiful landscape and scenic views of the Chikuma River while driving to the Kigokudani Snow Monkey Park. Taste the culture by learning to eat miso soup the way the locals do, then find your inner center while leisurely walking through the forest before sipping tea and experiencing the Snow Monkeys. Enjoy exploring Obuse Town, home of Japan's most famous artist and creator of "Great Wave," Hokusai Katsushika. Eat lunch in the area before walking around to explore the shops and try sake tasting. Discover the famous Zenkoji Temple that houses the first Buddha statue ever brought to Japan. Forbidden from any soul's view, soak in the sacred knowledge and learn to pray for good fortune. Do as the Snow Monkeys do and soak in a natural Japanese hot spring at the end of an enriching day.

Osaka: Japan Pocket WiFi Router Kansai Airport Pickup

4. Osaka: Japan Pocket WiFi Router Kansai Airport Pickup

Access 4G LTE WiFi across Japan with this pocket router that connects to the Softbank Network. Never get lost in Japan again, with Unlimited WiFi data, which enables you to use Map Apps, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, watch Youtube videos and even Netflix. Pick-up the WiFi router at the Kansai International Airport, located in Osaka. Just visit the Kansai International Airport arrival lobby 1F between 7:00 AM and 10:00 PM to pick up your device and start using the internet. The devices can be returned at most major airports in Japan, or via delivery from any hotel, Family Mart, or Lawson convenience stores.

Nozawa: Full-Day Fire Festival & Snow Monkey Tour on Jan 15

5. Nozawa: Full-Day Fire Festival & Snow Monkey Tour on Jan 15

Your tour begins with pickup from one of two locations: Hakuba’s Happo Bus Terminal at 11:45 AM or JR Nagano Station at 1 PM. After meeting your guide, you’ll hit the road and head towards Yamanouchi, home to the only hot spring-bathing monkeys in the world, Japanese snow monkeys.  After arriving near the monkey park area at 2 PM, your guide will lead you along a snow-covered forest trail to the park itself. Found deep inside Jigokudani, or “Hell’s Valley”, your guide will explain the history and importance of the park and give you plenty of time to enjoy the unique experience of observing the snow monkeys in close proximity, followed by an early dinner at a nearby restaurant where you’ll learn all about Nagano’s renowned food culture. Next, you’ll head to Nozawa Onsen, where you’ll witness one of Japan’s three great fire festivals. After arriving at around 6 PM, you’ll have ample time to explore the village before the main event begins. Preparations start at 7 PM with singing, drumming, fireworks and more. Then it’s time for the main event, during which the town will converge on a wooden shrine. Fueled by tradition, bravado, and drinking, the mock battle takes place with an explosion of embers. After the gods have been deemed happy and ready to bless the villagers with good luck, harvest, and happiness, the shrine will be set on fire at 10 PM.  At 10:45 PM you’ll regroup with your guide at the designated meeting point and be transported back to your original pickup point.

Nagano: 1-Day Snow Monkey and O-Fune Festival Tour

6. Nagano: 1-Day Snow Monkey and O-Fune Festival Tour

Your tour will begin at JR Nagano Station at 8:45AM, where your guide will greet you before you make your way out of Nagano and towards the Jigokudani Monkey Park. Arriving nearby the park, your guide will take you along a forest trail which leads you to the Jigokudani Valley, which translates rather dramatically to "Hell's Valley". Home to the only troop of monkeys in the entire world known to bathe in hot springs, there will be no barriers separating you from the wild monkeys, making this a unique and memorable experience. From there, it will be time to head to lunch at a nearby restaurant. As one of Japan’s largest food-producing regions, Nagano’s food culture is renowned, and your guide will always be happy to talk all things food as you sit down to an enjoyable autumn lunch. Well-filled by lunch, you will then board your tour bus and make your way toward Azumino. It is said that Azumino takes it names from the "Azumi" people, a clan of skilled navigators who traveled from the distant south to settle away from the coast. The voyage is said to have taken place during the 7th century, and to this day is celebrated annually in the much-loved "Azumino O-Fune Matsuri". Taking place over 2 days, the highlight of the festival occurs on the second day, when local residents pull large and colorfully-decorated floats resembling the fabled ships that once sailed from the south, toward a boisterous and well-intended battle in front of the Hotaka Shrine. Arriving at around 2:15PM, your guide will take you around the beautiful shrine before having you in your reserved seat to witness the battle of the boats between 3:00PM and 4:00PM. With one ship considered male and the other female, the collision of the two is symbolic of a wish for fertility and the successful continuation of the Azumino community. Local, loud, and a whole lot of fun, this festival is a great way to experience Japanese culture at its most enjoyable. Once the festivities have drawn to a close, your guide will have you back onboard the tour bus and headed back to JR Nagano Station, where the tour is scheduled to conclude by approximately 5:30PM.

Narita Airport pickup: Japan Pocket WiFi Router 4G LTE

7. Narita Airport pickup: Japan Pocket WiFi Router 4G LTE

Make your experience in Japan much more convenient with WiFi on the go. Access 4G LTE WiFi across Japan with this pocket router that connects to the Softbank Network. Get a plan that suits you, with flexibility from 3 to 30 days. Never get lost in Japan again with unlimited WiFi data, which enables you to use Map Apps, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, watch Youtube videos and even Netflix. Pick up the WiFi router at the Narita Airport Terminal 1 or 2 at the QL Liner counter and you will be able to start using the internet as soon as you have landed. The devices can be returned at most major airports in Japan, or via delivery from any hotel, Family Mart, or Lawson convenience stores.

Shinjuku Pickup: Japan Pocket WiFi Router 4G LTE Unlimited

8. Shinjuku Pickup: Japan Pocket WiFi Router 4G LTE Unlimited

Access 4G LTE WiFi across Japan with this pocket router that connects to the Softbank Network. Never get lost in Japan again, with Unlimited WiFi data, which enables you to use Map Apps, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, watch Youtube videos and even Netflix. Pick-up the WiFi router at the Shinjuku Counter, which is located a 2 min walk away from the Higashi Shinjuku station. Same day pick-up available. The business hours at 10:00 AM until 6:00 PM, on weekdays only. When you are finished, the devices can be returned at most major airports in Japan, or via delivery from any hotel, Family Mart, or Lawson convenience stores.

November 23: Ebisu-ko Fireworks & Snow Monkey Tour

9. November 23: Ebisu-ko Fireworks & Snow Monkey Tour

See the famous snow monkeys of Jigokudani lounging in or around their hot spring. After seeing the monkeys, enjoy lunch at a nearby restaurant and sample sake, before heading back to Nagano City for the main event. The last part of this tour is the highlight for this specific one day limited tour — the festival of Ebisuko, at which you'll have reserved seating. Over 15,000 fireworks are fired in one evening. This festival is hailed as the grandest autumn fireworks show in Japan, with 430,000 people from all over the country coming to Nagano to see the spectacle. You'll have a chance to buy some festival food, before returning to JR Nagano Station where the tour concludes.

Frequently asked questions about Nagano Prefecture

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What people are saying about Nagano Prefecture

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 130 reviews

Could not be happier! The tour was perfectly paced, the things included were terrific, the food was wonderful, the guides were exceptional, friendly and professional and the monkeys were AMAZING! So happy! Thanks!

Most amazing guide, Mai. Excellent tour. lunch was amazing. I recommend the beef. Sake tasting was excellent for beginners

Perfect way to stay connected. Very easy and conveniant. If the could deliver to the hotel it would be perfect!

It Was 1 of the Most Important things We Did to make Our Trip the Best Ever!!!

Recommended, you can have Internet to guide you where you want to go.