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We suggest local excursions for an even more meaningful and memorable convention in Nagano.
Zenkoji Temple --- Enjoy the stores along the street as you approach the gate.
Hondo(the main Hall)
Zenkoji Temple, a name well-known from an old legend “To be led to worship by an ox at Zenkoji”. In one of our national treasures, the main hall (Hondo), experience the “Kaidan-meguri,” a tour through a pitch-black corridor underneath the altars, which allows visitors to touch the “Key to Paradise”.
An important cultural property, the main temple gate (Sanmon), completed its renovations in 2007 by restoring the original horse chestnut thatched roof it had when it was first constructed 260 years ago.
Front Approach
A historic townscape inspiring an ancient atmosphere envelops you as you gradually move toward Zenkoji Temple. Stroll along the avenue from JR Nagano Station to Zenkoji visiting the temples and shrines of the “Seven Dieties of Good Fortune” marking the downtown area while collecting the red seals licensed by the shogunate.
A Brush with the History of a Castle Town, Matsushiro
Matsushiro Castle Ruins Site
Located in the southern section of Nagano City, Matsushiro is renowned for its picturesque backdrop of the Kawanakajima Battlefield. As a historic town, it also contains several designated historic cultural assets in the form of historic locations, archives and ancient temples. Enjoy the sensation of historical culture surrounding you while leisurely making your way among the ruins of Matsushiro Castle as well as nearby, where the Sanada clan’s feudal lord’s residence is located and the location where the clan collected its one-hundred thousand “koku” of rice stipend from the local inhabitants of their time.
Sanada Residence
Ecole de Matsushiro
This volunteer organization promotes activities to maintain and protect cultural assets in Matsushiro while utilizing them as materials for lifelong studies and viewing pleasure. The activities of this group have recently attracted considerable attention from both inside and outside of the prefecture.
Sacred Grounds of Gods and Goddesses, “Togakushi”
Many Soba restaurants stand side-by-side awaiting you in Togakushi
Togakushi, a mountain celebrated in ancient tales such as the Iwato Legend of Amaterasu Omikami (the ancient Japanese Goddess of the sun) and the Momiji Legend of Kijo Momiji, among others, retains many related historic sites. The truly famous Togakushi Soba (buckwheat noodles) exhibits local culture as a long-established traditional food as a holy man’s “ready-to-eat meal” as well as a treat for worshippers of the Togakushi Shrine.
Okusha – the innermost shrine
Togakushi Shrine
Known as the reputed “Sanzenbo Sanzan” along with Mt. Hiei and Mt. Kohya as a training location of holy men, Togakushi consists of five shrines: Okusha, Chusha, Hokosha, Kuzuryusha and Hinomikosha. An avenue lined with cedar trees leads to Okusha creating a mysterious atmosphere for the first-time visitor. This particular location and its shrines have been recorded in history for more than 2,000 years, since the original construction.
Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park --- Snow monkeys and Onsen experience
Introduced by the New York Times during the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics and subsequently a popular tourist location for hand feeding wild monkeys while they lounge and bathe in their local hot spring. The enjoyment of the monkey’s social grooming and the washing of fruit prior to eating are just two of the many pleasurable experiences at the park. In fact, another noted spot near the monkey park is the natural treasure of the Jigokudani “mega-geyser” that shoots boiling water up in the sky, roaring to a height of 10 meters from the riverbed.
Yudanaka – Shibu Onsen –
A homeland of natural hot springs nestled in nature’s embrace.
Nine onsen resorts with an abundance of hot springs are calmly situated along the three local waterways: the Yokoyu River, the Kakuma River and the Yomase River all located at the foot of the Shiga Highlands. The area, enveloped in a rural atmosphere with the air of a time long past with its many historic onsen inns and hotels, is also known for its association with the famous haiku poet Kobayashi Issa. Come take a walk in a comfortable yukata (a light cotton kimono-style bathrobe) accompanied by the clattering of geta (wooden clogs). The scent of the hot spring water along with the peaceful atmosphere will leave you with a heartwarming smile and lasting memories.