Circled by mountains and deep forests, Nagano prefecture has long tempted visitors with its serene old-world ambience, and the magnificent Zenko-ji shrine. Nagano dabbled with fame in 1998, hosting the Winter Olympics, which alerted the wider world to its extraordinary beauty.

Nagano City itself, a picturesque little temple town, is the perfect starting point this quintessentially Japanese region. Nestled in the mountains northwest is the legendary Togakure Ninja School. While in a nearby national park, discover the hot springs of Yamanouchi, where rare snow monkeys come to bathe.

Tsumago is one of our favourite hideaways in Japan. A beautifully preserved Edo-period town surrounded by iconic cherry blossoms, and packed full of quaint artisan shops, antique stores and traditional ryokan inns for weary travellers. An absence of cars only adds to its evocative feudal Japan atmosphere. We recommend hiking the 8km Kiso Valley Trail from Tsumago to Magome through tree-lined mountain passes and flower-speckled meadows.

For outdoor lovers, Matsumoto is the gateway to the Japanese Alps, a spectacular mountainous wonderland of soaring snowy peaks, the highest of which reside in the Nagano region. Matsumoto is famed for its stunning ‘Black Crow Castle’, one of the oldest donjon style forts in Japan, dating back to 1504, when warring shoguns fought for control of Japan.

The Lightfoot Travel Designers have decades of experience in creating highly-personalised luxury tours and itineraries of Japan. Contact our team to find out more about luxury tours to Nagano.