Nestled in the centre of Honshu Island, easily accessible from Tokyo and Kyoto, Nagano Prefecture is the ideal addition to your luxury tailor-made tour of Japan. Renowned for its soaring mountains, hot springs and shimmering lakes, over twenty-percent of the region is officially designated as a National Park, while the Northern and Central Alps provide great skiing and a wealth of outdoor activities.
Hot spring resorts dot around the region, promising steaming onsen, charming cobbled streets and fantastic mountain views. Not only enjoyed by humans, the fascinating volcanic hot springs are bathed in by Japan’s famous snow monkeys at the incredible Jigokudani Monkey Park. Throughout Nagano Prefecture, natural treasures are joined by Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines and lakeside castles, offering an immersive cultural experience.
The capital of Nagano Prefecture, Nagano City evolved as a temple town around striking Zenkoji, one of the county’s most popular temples and an important centre for Buddhism in Japan. It houses the first Buddhist statue to come to Japan, attracting millions of pilgrims and tourists annually. The area around the architectural masterpiece is filled with artisanal shops and traditional eateries, offering an authentic Japanese experience. North of the city centre, discover Togakushi, a forested mountain area, home to impressive shrines and the famed Ninja school and museum.
Still maintaining the atmosphere of a traditional Japanese hot spring resort, Yudanaka Onsen dates back centuries. Hot spring onsens remain an important part of the area’s culture, with a wealth of bath houses to choose from. The charming resort is characterised by cobbled streets, authentic ryokans and gourmet eateries serving exceptional Japanese banquets.
Jigokudani Monkey Park
Yudanaka is perhaps most renowned for its proximity to the fantastic Jigokudani Monkey Park, a volcanic area home to Japan’s famous snow monkeys (or Japanese macaques) who bathe in the park's natural hot springs. The park is accessed by a scenic and easy 30-minute stroll from the car park. Please note that even though these social monkeys are accustomed to humans, they are still wild and uncontained. As such, it cannot always be guaranteed that they will be at the hot springs.
Often dubbed the ‘Roof of Japan’, the Nagano region is home to Japan’s Northern and Central Alps (and part of the Southern Alps), attracting skiers, mountaineers and adventurers. Matsumoto is a hillside city cited as the ‘Gateway to the Alps’, overlooked by striking mountains that offer exceptional skiing in a range of resorts. Of course, skiing isn’t the only way to spend a day in the mountains. Other winter activities include snowmobiling, sledding and unwinding in an onsen, while cycling, hiking, river rafting and canoeing across mountain lakes can be enjoyed when snow is scarce.
Nagano Prefecture is best visited as part of a tailor-made multi-centre tour of Japan, combining it with Tokyo and Kyoto.
London Heathrow to Tokyo Haneda International Airport and Narita International Airport with British Airways and Japan Air. 11 hours, 45 minutes from London Heathrow to Tokyo. Nagano Station can be reached by bullet train in around 1 hour, 30 minutes from Tokyo or around 3 hours by road
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.