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Suwa is a city in Nagano prefecture.

Get in

Cheapest way is by bus, from Tokyo or Kyoto. By train from Nagano. Is on the Chuo Train line. The bus station is across the street from the train station on Route 20. It is a small office on the outside of the Plaza.

Get around

Check for buses to Suwa sights. There are three local bus routes on those ridiculous looking buses with the quince fruit on the outside. They can take you to Suwakoland, as well as shopping the big stores, and Montbell at Station Park. You can walk to the castle, geyser, and around the downtown area. Trains to neighboring cities. Rent a bicycle at the JR station rental agency. To reach the Yatsugatake, take a train to Chino and then a bus to Minodoguchi.


  • Suwa Geyser Center - a once an hour 10m eruption.
  • Takashima Castle and Castle Park - quite nice, especially in cherry blossom season, no signs in English.
  • Every six years, Suwa is home to one of the "three dangerous festivals" in Japan, the famous Onbashira-sai. Onbashira is a symbolic reconstruction of the four shrines of the Suwa Taisha with gigantic logs harvested from the forests at the base of Mt. Yatsugatake. The highlight of the festival is the kiotoshi portion, where brave and/or foolhardy young men ride on these giant logs as they slide down a steep hill. Injuries are common and occasionally deaths occur.


  • Visit an onsen.
  • Hike the Yatsugatake.
  • Bike around the lake.
  • Work out, swim, and onsen at Suwakoland, on the SW side of the lake.
  • Look at flowers on the Kiragamine Highland.
  • Visit during the Suwa Fireworks Festival, an enormous event on the lake on August 15th. Get there early, mark your sitting spot the night before or the early morning of, eat stand food, drink beer, watch one of the top 5 fireworks shows in Japan. Come early to the fireworks and visit the Taiko Festival in neighboring Okaya a few days before.


Soba, bee larvae, raw horse, and fried grasshopper are the local specialties.


There are many izakayas around the station area. Some small local bars in the downtown area. The izakaya in Suwa Plaza across from the station is part of a chain and quite nice.


The best option for a budget traveller is to find a local English teacher and stay with them, or to camp on the west side of the lake, or up the hill behind Suwa near Kirigamine.

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