Nagano Prefecture is known for its rich history and the highest longevity in Japan. Nagano Prefecture’s mascot character is “Arakuma. He is a bipedal bear wearing an apple and carrying a backpack.
The apples that Arakuma wears are a specialty of Nagano Prefecture, and the harvest of apples in Nagano Prefecture is the second largest in Japan after Aomori Prefecture, making it the prefecture’s representative fruit. Incidentally, the Arakuma can also wear the Alps and dams.
Nagano City is the capital of Nagano Prefecture. It was the first city to be established in the prefecture and has its roots in Nagano Village, the gateway to Zenkoji Temple. Twenty-five years ago, the Hokuriku Shinkansen line (between Takasaki and Nagano) opened, and the following year the Nagano Olympics were held here. The city’s location, about 1.5 hours from Tokyo Station by Shinkansen bullet train, makes Nagano an attractive place both as a tourist destination and as a place to live. The city flower is of course the apple.
About 2 km from Nagano Station and Zenkoji Exit, Zenkoji Temple was the place to be this year. This 1,400-year-old temple welcomes all people regardless of denomination, and its main hall is designated as a national treasure.
From April to June this year, Zenkoji Temple held the Gokaicho (opening of the temple to the public), which drew large crowds. Zenkoji Temple has a Gohonzon that is an absolute secret (i.e., no one can see it). Gokaicho is a once-every-seven-years ceremony that allows visitors to see the front main image in place of the Gohonzon. Originally scheduled to take place last year, in 2021, it was postponed due to the new coronavirus and will take place in 2022. The number of visitors during the Gokaicho period in 2022 is approximately 6.36 million. Since the population of Nagano City is approximately 370,000, 17 times the city’s population visited this major event.
So when will the next Gokaicho be held?
They are still considering “whether to return the event to its original cycle or to start in 2022.
Zenkoji Omotesando Shopping Street
Gokaicho ended in June, but the area around Zenkoji can be enjoyed at any time. The Omotesando shopping street south of Zenkoji Temple to Nagano Station is also a nice place. Of all the shopping streets, the Daimonkami area closest to Zenkoji Temple is one of the oldest in Nagano City. In the Edo period (1603-1867), the area was an inn town for Zenkoji Temple, and about 30 inns stood side by side. This historical area is still popular today as a charming place to visit.
Chikufudo is a confectionery shop that has been in business since the Meiji era. Although it is a Japanese confectionery, you can also dine on the second floor. Chestnut sweets are delicious in autumn. Their commitment to chestnuts is evident on their website. The beautiful storefront has also received the Nagano City Landscape Award.
A restaurant with a long history, the name “GOHONJIN” means “Gohonjen. The name “GOHONJIN” is said to have its roots in the inn where the feudal lords stayed during the daimyo’s visit to Japan. Built in 1924, it is a three-story Western-style building with a unique structure of reinforced concrete and tiles on the outside and wood on the inside. It is a landmark building in front of the Zenkoji Temple gate and the first nationally registered tangible cultural property in Nagano City. November is the season of Shichi-Go-San (Seven-Five-Threeshi), and the restaurant offers Shichi-Go-San dinner plans, so it would be nice to celebrate your anniversary here.
Another National Tangible Cultural Property. It is a Western-style building made of red bricks.
Built in 1902 as the company’s office building, it is now a restaurant. This historic building is also a nationally registered tangible cultural property. It is a good place to stop by casually for a meal or just a coffee. The Zenkoji Omotesando shopping street has many other attractions. Please visit!
For those who like quiet places Sometimes you just want to do some quiet sightseeing.
The Nagano Prefectural Museum of Art, right next to Zenkoji Temple, is an art museum “at one with nature. The main building, newly constructed in 2021, has a waterfront terrace and a rooftop plaza in addition to the exhibition rooms. Time spent relaxing is also precious.
When it is time to leave, we recommend “Apple Alley” as a souvenir. The square Baumkuchen is sandwiched between apple preserves and has a white chocolate flavor on the surface. It is made by Futabado, a confectioner that has been in business for over 200 years. There are six stores in Nagano City, and you can also buy them at the MIDORI Nagano Station Building. If you want to try some before you go! You can also buy them at the Antenna Shop Ginza NAGANO. It is said that 10,000 pieces are sold at Ginza NAGANO every year.
Suburbs of Nagano City
The area around Nagano Station, with its many tourist attractions, is a popular area. However, the rent may be a bit expensive to live there. Then, how about the suburbs of Nagano City? For example, the Yanagihara area of Nagano City is about 20 minutes from Nagano Station (Nagano Dentetsu Nagano Line) by train. Near the station, the Nagano Bypass and Nagano Higashi Bypass intersect, making it a convenient place to live by car. The area is near the famous local cherry blossom viewing spot of Muranane Inari, where beautiful cherry blossoms can be enjoyed nearby in the spring.
If you move a little away from the city center, rent is not so expensive. You can sometimes live in a 2DK apartment for the same rent as a 1K apartment in popular places.
I live alone and am worried that my room is too small.
You live alone but have a lot of luggage.
You want to keep the rent simple.
In that case, there is an option of 2DK in the suburbs. Please take a look at our website to see what kind of properties we have available at reasonable rent.