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How to Spend 3 Days in Nagano

How to Spend 3 Days in Nagano

With three days in and around Nagano, you can spend a day seeing the sights of Nagano city and another two on day trips around mountainous Nagano Prefecture, taking in temples, castles, and the famous local wildlife. Here are our top picks for spending three days in Nagano.

Day 1: Nagano City

Start your day at one of Nagano’s most important sites, the 8th-century Zenkoji Temple, where you can view impressive Buddhist statues and learn more about the city’s long history. Next, turn your attention to Nagano’s 12th-century Togakure school of ninja. If you’re traveling with children, check out the Kids’ Ninja Village, with ninja costumes and obstacle courses; otherwise, visit the Togakure Ninpo Museum, which delves into the school’s history. Finally, take a hands-on cooking class to learn about local cuisine and make—and eat—Nagano specialties such asoyaki dumplings andbasashi (raw horse meat).

Day 2: Snow Monkeys

Devote your second day to one of Nagano’s most famous attractions: Jigokudani Monkey Park, northeast of the city in the town of Yamanouchi. Visit the park independently, or join one of the many half- and full-day tours that stop at the park as part of a larger area exploration, including Zenkoji Temple and the Shiga-kogen Highlands. At the wildlife reserve, visitors watch Japanese macaques bathe in the hot springs, a pastime they learned from humans. Winter is the best time to see these “snow monkeys,” although viewing is possible year-round. If you feel like a soak after viewing the macaques, head to a nearby hot-spring resort such as Shibu Onsen or Yudanaka Onsen. Alternatively, hiking enthusiasts can take in spectacular valley views in Shiga-kogen Park, within Joshinetsu-kogen National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 3: Visit Matsumoto

Rise early on your third day in Nagano, and take a day trip to the castle town of Matsumoto, a 1- to 2-hour drive away. Spend the day exploring this small city on the plains, with snow-capped mountains visible in the distance. The town’s star attraction, black, 16th-century Matsumoto Castle survived World War II intact. Other highlights include well-preserved merchant houses and the Matsumoto City Museum of Art, where the hometown of eccentric Japanese contemporary artist Yayoi Kusama proudly displays many of her colorful sculptures, paintings, and installations.

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8 Tours and Activities | All Nagano Tours

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Full-Day Tour of Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple and Sake in Nagano

Full-Day Tour of Snow Monkeys, Zenko-ji Temple and Sake in Nagano

star-5
See two of the top attractions near Nagano on this full-day excursion. Explore the tranquil grounds of Zenko-ji, a lovely religious site known for its historic Buddhist statue. Enjoy a sake tasting and lunch before heading down a beautiful forest trail to the home of the snow monkeys, a group of local macaques known for their willingness to live in the snow and bathe in the local hot spring.
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  • 8 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$165.38
From
$165.38
Taking safety measures

Nagano Private Two Day Tour

Nagano Private Two Day Tour

star-5
Discover Nagano’s many highlights on this private 2-day tour. Save time planning transport, as a driver and private vehicle is included. You’ll have a guide to show you around on the first day, and then free time to explore on the second day. Overnight stay in a Japanese Ryokan, entrance fees to Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park, Zenko-ji Temple, and a private onsen experience is included, making it the ultimate hassle-free tour.
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  • 2 days
  • Taking safety measures
From
$352.48
Price varies by group size
From
$352.48
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

(Spring only) 1-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys & Cherry Blossoms in Nagano

(Spring only) 1-Day Tour: Snow Monkeys & Cherry Blossoms in Nagano

star-5
Check out Japan’s famous cherry blossom blooms and see snow monkeys on a full-day trip from Nagano. After visiting the Jigokudani Monkey Park, you’ll stop for lunch, then visit several different ‘hanami’ spots to admire the cherry blossom trees. This seasonal experience runs from April to the end of May, allowing you to take in the later blooms of the mountainous northern Nagano region.
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  • 9 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$165.38
From
$165.38
Taking safety measures

Nagano Like a Local: Customized Private Tour

Nagano Like a Local: Customized Private Tour

star-5
Pair up with a Nagano local for a private walking tour that’s a new concept in travel. Unlike traditional, pre-packaged tours, it’s like exploring the city alongside a local friend, complete with tips, advice, and insider recommendations. From a pre-tour chat with your Lokafyer guide to the walking tour itself, the experience is completely tailored to your preferences.
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  • 2 to 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$35.90
Price varies by group size
From
$35.90
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Flying Squirrel Watching Tour

Flying Squirrel Watching Tour

star-5
We will watch the wild Japanese giant flying squirrel, which is endemic to Japan and one of the biggest flying squirrels in the world. Since our professional nature guides know their life style and gliding patterns, the chances of watching their gliding is 97.8% (actual result of this tour in 2019).
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$33.29
From
$33.29
Taking safety measures

~ Touch the villa culture and history of Karuizawa ~ Karuizawa town walk tour

~ Touch the villa culture and history of Karuizawa ~ Karuizawa town walk tour

Tour highlights: A town walk tour that touches the history and culture of Karuizawa, focusing on the historical area of the former Karuizawa. Karuizawa local guides guide you through the deep history and culture of Karuizawa while walking along the narrow path of the back street that is not listed in the guidebook. The whole process, walking on a flat road, can be attended by people of all ages. Travel time: Former Karuizawa Rotary Departure-St. Paul's Church (visit to the church of the historical building of Antoni Raymond's Karuizawa)-Through the way of a water wheel to the back of the former Karuizawa-Show Memorial Chapel / Show House Memorial Hall Visit the oldest church in Karuizawa built by the missionary AC show said and visit the memorial hall of the first Karuizawa villa)-Walk on the back street of the former Karuizawa, the show street-the path of the comet- Visit the villa that you spent)-Vory's Lane-Walk on tennis court street-Karuizawa meeting hall / Union Church / Karuizawa association tennis court (Architect who worked on many buildings in Karuizawa, Vorries's meeting hall, Union church, Emperor Emperor Visit the Karuizawa Association tennis court, famous for the romance tennis courts of the Empress.-Hatta Villa (No. 1 Japanese villa, former Naval Colonel Colony Tour of the villa of Hatta HiroshiJiro / appearance only) to Old Karuizawa Ginza rotary dissolution
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes to 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$25.11
Price varies by group size
From
$25.11
Price varies by group size

Nagano Full-Day Cycling Tour with Snow Monkey, Obuse Town, Apple Orchards

Nagano Full-Day Cycling Tour with Snow Monkey, Obuse Town, Apple Orchards

star-5
Experience the nature and culture of beautiful Nagano on this all-day excursion. After a convenient hotel pickup, head out with an informative local guide and bicycle through apple orchards along the Chikuma River, watch macaques bathe in their natural habitat at Snow Monkey Park, relax in a hot spring at Yudanaka and Shibu Onsen villages, and treat yourself to delicious chestnuts in Obuse.
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  • 7 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$190.93
Price varies by group size
From
$190.93
Price varies by group size
Taking safety measures

Onsen Town Cycling Tour in Nagano

Onsen Town Cycling Tour in Nagano

【OUTLINE】 Explore Nagano’s Togura Kamiyamada Onsen area by bicycle and learn about life in the Japanese countryside with explanation by a local guide. You will see examples of traditional Japanese houses in an old residential area, have a talk with farmers in apple orchards and rice paddy fields, touch the Japanese spirits in a shrine with a sumo ring and a temple with a thatched roof, and view the scenery of the river and surrounding mountains from the Chikuma River Cycling Road. And lastly, have soft ice cream while taking a footbath.
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  • 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Taking safety measures
From
$46.42
From
$46.42
Taking safety measures