Nagano (長野) is the capital of Nagano prefecture, in the Chubu district of Japan. It flourished as a temple city of Zenkō-ji, a famous temple.

Zenkōji (善光寺). This 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). A major renovation of the great inner gate finished in 2007. You can see a beautiful row of houses along the street. There are restaurants with atmosphere. You can also buy talismon as a souvenir.

Binzuru (びんずる, 賓頭盧) [2]. 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.

Kagai Onsen Ichiyoukan (加賀井温泉 一陽館), Matsushiro Machi Higashijo 松代町東条55 (Take route 403 south from the Nagano interchange on the Joshinetsu Expressway. Turn left at the Kojinmachi intersection. Follow the road around and take the last on the right before the 90 degree right hand turn. The onsen is at the end of the road.), ☎ 026-278-2016. 8:00-20:00. This unusual onsen has separate long narrow flowing indoor baths with brown water for males and females, and two outdoor mixed baths. Bring a large towel. Adults ¥300. …WikiTravel


12 Nov

The European Union has decided to lift its restrictions on imports of some foods from 10 prefectures in Japan, such as rice grown in Fukushima, home to the country’s worst nuclear accident. (Jiji)

11 Nov

Tokyo Metropolitan Police have arrested an organized crime boss over the cultivation of marijuana in Nagano Prefecture, reports TBS News (

11 Oct

Police arrested a woman on Tuesday for alleged vandalism at a temple in central Japan, while also looking into her potential connection with graffiti at a nearby historic temple. (Japan Times)

9 Oct

Graffiti has been found in dozens of locations at Zenkoji Buddhist Temple, a major tourist attraction in central Japan.

29 Aug

Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency issued missile warnings in 12 prefectures via the J-Alert system in response to North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile over Japan early Tuesday morning. (Jiji)

23 Aug

The weather agency has slashed the volcanic alert level for central Japan’s Mount Ontake to the lowest notch for the first time in about three years following a September 2014 eruption that left 58 people dead and five missing. (Japan Times)

9 Aug

Ibaraki Prefectural Police have re-arrested a 56-year-old female hairdresser for allegedly burying the corpse of an elderly male acquaintance who went missing in Naka City earlier this year, reports the Sankei Shimbun. (

3 Aug

Nine major Japanese hotels established before World War II are kicking off a joint marketing blitz and enhancing services to lure more foreign tourists. (Nikkei)

29 Jul

A Japanese city boasting one of the world’s largest hot-spring resorts opened a special amusement park on Saturday with a hot-tub merry-go-round and other rides featuring immersion in its famous thermal water. (Bangkok Post)

21 Jul

A male worker for a construction company engaged in a project to construct Japan’s new National Stadium, the main venue for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, committed suicide in March, a lawyer representing his bereaved relatives revealed Thursday. (Jiji)

4 Jul

A 38-year-old woman working at a private elementary and junior high school in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture, was slashed by a man on Monday. (Japan Today)

2 Jul

The Japanese underworld loves gold — it has been the analog bitcoin of crime syndicates in recent years. The origins of gold are difficult to trace, and the material is easy to convert into cash and store. Crime syndicates are increasingly smuggling it, stealing it or robbing it from other smugglers who don’t have ties to gangs. (Japan Times)

25 Jun

A powerful earthquake with an estimated magnitude of 5.6 on the open-ended Richter scale jolted the central Japan prefecture of Nagano on Sunday morning, injuring several people. (Jiji)

4 Jun

Four people were confirmed dead on Sunday after being rescued from a wreckage believed to be that of a small plane that crashed into Japan’s Northern Alps in the town of Tateyama, Toyama Prefecture, the previous day. (Jiji)

4 Jun

Nagano Prefectural Police have arrested a male Chinese national in the killing of a woman whose blood-soaked body of a woman was found in a love hotel in the town of Miyota early Friday, reports NHK. (

16 May

In a bid to help reduce teachers’ overtime, Japan’s education ministry will launch a program next month to send advisers to local education boards. (Jiji)

1 May

East Japan Railway Co’s new luxury sleeper train, the Train Suite Shiki-shima, providing a cruise experience with a modern Japanese taste, makes its debut Monday. (Japan Today)

16 Apr

A scenic mountain route running through the Northern Alps in central Japan has fully reopened after a winter break. (NHK)

10 Apr

Part of a scenic mountain route through central Japan’s Northern Alps has reopened after being closed for the winter. (NHK)

5 Apr

Workers are busy preparing to reopen a scenic mountain route through central Japan’s Northern Alps after a winter closure. (NHK)

4 Apr

A large cargo truck crashed into heavy traffic and triggered a five-car pileup on an expressway in Suwa City on Monday, leaving at least 19 people injured. (

20 Mar

March 14 marked the second anniversary of the extension of the Hokuriku Shinkansen line through Kanazawa. The bullet train service has continued to generate positive economic effects in the regions along the route. (

12 Mar

The body of a 16-year-old girl has been discovered with her hands bound with duct tape in an empty house in Ishikawa Prefecture and a man believed to be linked to her death apparently committed suicide, police said Saturday. (Japan Today)

8 Mar

Planning to spend much, but not all, of your Japan trip in Tokyo? Then this could be an unbeatable deal. (

6 Mar

Police say all 9 people on board a helicopter that crashed in snow-covered mountains of central Japan have died. The group was conducting a drill for rescuing climbers. (NHK)