Situated among the picturesque valleys of central Honshu's famous Alps region, Azumino boasts a unique blend of culture, history and natural beauty.
Azumino Tourist Information Center, (Next to the railway station on the north side of the square), ☎ 026-382-9363. 0900-1700 (Apr-Nov); 1000-1600 (Dec-Mar). Closed during New Year Holidays. They have a number of useful English brochures for Azumino and the wider region. edit
Take the JR Chuo East line from Shinjuku to Matsumoto, then the JR Oito line to Hotaka or the JR Shinonoi line to Akashina (3 hrs, ￥6620 unreserved seat)
Take the Nagano Shinkansen to Nagano, JR Shinonoi line to Akashina (2 hrs 30 mins, ￥9,390 unreserved seat)
Take the JR Chuo West line to Matusmoto, then the JR Oito line to Hotaka (2 hrs 15 minutes, ￥5,670 unreserved seat)
Take the Shinonoi line from Nagano station to Akashina station
Take the Chuo Expressway west to Oyaka Junction then the Nagano Expressway and exit at Toyoshina.
Take the Chuo Expressway east to Oyaka Junction then the Nagano Expressway and exit at Toyoshina.
Take the Nagano Expressway and exit at Toyoshina
Daio Wasabi Farm and Water Mills (大王わさび農場と水車小屋), Hotaka 3640; 穂高3640 (Turn west off route 147 opposite the Honda dealer and follow the road until you reach the farm), ☎ 0263-82-2118, . 8:45-17:30 (4/1-10/31); 9:00-16:30 (11/1-3/31). Founded in 1915 and known as the largest wasabi farm in Japan, with a long history and a picturesque setting. The water mills next to the farm can be viewed by taking one of the special raft tours that are available in spring and summer. Activities include make your own wasabi pickle for ￥1000. (36.33451944,137.91058889)edit
Todoriki Residence (等々力家), Hotaka Todoriki 2945; 穂高等々力2945 (Go south on route 147 from the Hotaka Station intersection. Take the first on the left. The residence is about 400m along, on the right.), ☎ 0263-82-2889. 9:00-16:00, 4/1-11/30. A hunting lodge used by a local lord in the Edo Period. ￥300. (36° 20′ 21.48″ N,137° 53′ 38.71″ E)edit
Azumino-no-sato (安曇野の里), Hotaka 6780; 穂高6780 (Go west on route 30 from the Hakuyacho intersection for about 800m then turn left.), ☎ 0263-72-8568, . Various opening hours. A cluster of various local cultural establishments including glasswork, photography, a cafe, a soba restaurant and vegetable market. edit
Hotaka Shrine (穂高神社), Hotaka 6079; 穂高6709 (Walk straight out of the railway station and down the street for about 100m. Look for the large torii gate on the right), ☎ 026-382-2003, . 0900-1630 for prayers. The god Hokatami-no-Mikoto, the guardian deity of the region, is worshipped here. If you think you have seen plenty of shrines in Japan, this one will still surprise you with its main shrine building which is at least 100m long. Festivals include The Obisha (bow and arrow) Festival on March 17, and the Festival of Floats on the 26th (evening) and 27th September. Hokatami-no-Mikato is famous as the guardian deity of industries and traffic safety on land and sea. You can buy a prayer charm for 3000 yen (motocycles), 4000-5000 yen (regular cars) or 6000 yen (large vehicles). edit
Tsuki-no-sakana (月の魚), Hotaka 4747-1; 穂高4747-1 (On Route 147, one block south of the intersection with route 317), ☎ 0263-84-0787. 11:30-14:00 17:00-22:00; closed Sundays. Izakaya serving sushi and soba. Try the Azumino sushi roll with Shinshu salmon and mountain potatoesedit
Stagione (スタギオーネ), Hotaka Ariake 5280-4; 穂高有明5280-4 (Off route 147, about 600m east of the Sumiyoshi intersection), ☎ 0263-83-7464, . Lunch: 11:30-13:30 (LO); 18:00-19:30 (LO). Closed Mon, 2nd and 4th Tues. Italian cuisine with a view of the Alps.edit
Pension Mapleleaf (ペンションメープルリーフ), Hotaka Ariake 7717; 穂高有明7717 (From Hotaka station, go west on route 308, cross route 25, and continue for another 300m.), ☎ 0263-83-3883, . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 10:00. A boutique hotel built in Tudor style, with twin rooms, onsen and English speaking staff.From ￥8,400 per person with two meals. edit