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Revision as of 08:40, 20 July 2010
Nagano (長野) is the capital of Nagano prefecture, in the Chubu district of Japan.It flourished as a temple city of Zenkouzi.Zenkouzi is 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".
It takes about 1 hour half from Tokyo station by bullet train.The Hokuriku Shinkansen, also known as the Nagano Shinkansen, or by the name Asama (あさま), was completed in time for the 1998 Winter Olympics. There are approximately 2-3 departures per hour from Tokyo Station, taking approximately 1 1/2 - 2 hours to make the journey at a cost of ¥7970 each way. You can breathe easy, as smoking was banned on all Asama trains as of December, 2005.
The Wide View Shinano limited express train runs hourly from Nagoya to Nagano. Taking about three hours, and at a cost of ¥7130 each way, this is the best method of reaching Nagano by train from Kyoto, Osaka, and elsewhere in western Japan; simply take the Shinkansen and change to the "Shinano" in Nagoya.
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, nine hours. Expect to pay in the range of ¥6200 one-way, ¥10000 round trip from Osaka, and ¥5300 one-way, ¥9500 round-trip from Kyoto.
There are buses that loop around the city center called the Gururingo. If you stay within the main area a ride is only 100yen.
- Zenkōji (善光寺) temple, first built in the 7th century, is a major pilgrimage site. Its major draw is the hibutsu (秘仏), or hidden buddha, a statue that is displayed to the public only every six years (the next time will be in 2015). The major renovation of the great inner gate finished in 2007.A lot of people visit this temple.You can see a beautiful row of houses along the street.There are restaurants with atmosphere.You can also buy talismon as a souvenir.
- Nishi-no-Mon, southwest of Zenkoji main gate. A sake brewery with attached restaurant and shops, all housed in traditional buildings. The brewery has a small free museum, though it consists of little more than some historic photographs and a view of the stainless-steel brewing equipment.
- Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum , just east of Zenkoji. The prefecture's premier art museum. The museum's Higashiyama Kaii Gallery showcases the tranquil landscapes (depicting Northern Europe as well as Japan) of one of the masters of nihon-ga (traditional "Japanese-style painting").
- Binzuru (びんずる, 賓頭盧) . Nagano's big summer festival, held on the first Saturday in August. Every year, more than 200 groups take part in this festival. They walk and dance through Chuo-dori, clacking together wooden scoops called shamoji. The festival's name comes from the Japanese version of Indian Buddhist saint Pindola Bharadvaja, and the procession ends at Zenkoji temple where festival-goers rub a well-worn Binzuru statue for luck.
- Yawataya Isogoro, Daimonm-cho 83, just south of Zenkoji main gate. A 280-year-old store specializing in shichimi ("seven flavors"), a condiment consisting of ground chili peppers, sesame, citrus, and other spices, commonly sprinkled on soba noodle soup. Yawataya's distinctive tin containers are a fixture in soba shops throughout Japan.
- Oyaki A delicious and cheap Japanese dumpling. Comes in many different flavoured fillings, both sweet and savoury.
- Sakura, in the Nishi-no-Mon brewery (above). Most of the items on the menu feature miso (fermented bean-paste) which is made with sake by-products. (For an exotic dessert, try miso ice cream.)
- Hungry Caterpillar Cafe, Daimon 56-1, Nagano (On main street south from Zenkoji, 100m south of Daimon intersection), ☎ 026-233-5510. 11:00-18:00. Great sandwiches. Many of the foods enjoyed by the Very Hungry Caterpillar can be found on the menu. Many other nice cafes and restaurants in charming courtyard at rear.Shinsyu soba is famous in Japan.It is very healthy and delicious.Besides,it is not so expensive.So,you can eat it for cheap price.
- Hanbey (半兵ヱ), (From Nagano station north exit (towards Zenkoji), cross the busy intersection and head down the alleyway one to the right of the main road (its also 2-3 left of the Starbucks). Its about 100 m down on your left.), . If the archaic kana above was not a big enough hint, this is a post-war themed izukaya. Fairly intimite dining for an izukaya with bar seating, tight booths and a tatami room for groups. The bar seating in particular wraps around the kitchen so you can see the staff cooking up a traditional Japanese storm. The walls are covered in war-time or post-war advertising right down to the old backwards right-to-left hiragana こばた ads and utterly bizarre airline ads. Music fits too. No English and the menus lack any images whatsoever and are written 100% in kanji, but if this is no problem, you will be treated to a very pleasant surprise: the prices match the theme!
- Bluebird, 1418 Minami Ishidocyo, Daito Building 3F, 5 minute walk rom Nagano Station, take the West Exit, cross street near Starbucks and go up the narrow street. Bluebird is at the end, overlooking the street across from Again department store., Phone: 02-6226-3945.. Western-style pool/dart bar. Hip Hop nights and the occasional tattoo show.
- High-Five, Phone: 090-1868-5815. 5 minute walk from Nagano Station, take the West Exit, it's in the alley between Hotel Ikemon and Hotel Nagano. Small, central nighclub.
- Shiga-Kogen Brewery, in Yudanaka on the way to the monkey park, Phone: 0269-33-2155, . A 200 year old sake brewery that has just opened a microbrewery. Free sake and beer tasting on site and excellent locally made beers.
- Parley, Out the main exit of Nagano station, and down the alley one to the right of the main road. Smack bang in front of you where the alley abrupty makes a turn to the right. Literally two doors down from Hanbey izukaya. A pirate-themed bar. Whilst Japan plays host to many wacky theme bars, few lie outside of Tokyo, and fewer take the theme this far. The gaudy facade is shaped like a pirate ship and the interior won't disappoint. Apart from the electronic dart board the theme is largely complete and flawless. But even that can be ignored because the toilets follow the theme. No, really. Oh, and those stairs to the cargo hold? Yeah, theres a cargo hold themed second bar down there too. As expected, it attracts a young, upbeat crowd. The staff are cheerful, regularly cosplay as characters from Pirates of the Carribean and are fans of Gantz. Drinks are average so expect about 500 yen parrrr grog.
- Zenkoji Kyoujuin, . Housed in a former temple building a few blocks from Zenkoji. Owner speaks basic English, and is more than happy to use it. Shared room with futon, ¥3360; private room, ¥4000.
- Go-Honjin Fujiya (御本陳藤屋) , Daimon-cho 80, just south of Zenkoji main gate. An elegant old traditional inn, founded in 1661 as a stage along the Northern Country road. Its current form was built in 1923 and is a superb example of Taisho-era Western-style architecture.
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