Kyoto to Nagano


  • Fuji and Fuji Lakes
  • Snow Mountains, Snow Field

No Shinkansen. Visit other places along the way.
New Year 2020, my last trip before COVID-19 outbreak.





Part1: Aichi, Nagoya, Nagoya Castle, Toyota Museum, Nabana no Sato
Part2: Shizuoka, Miho no Matsubara
Part3: Shizuoka, Kunozan Toshogu
Part4: Shizuoka, Fujinomiya & Shiraito Falls
Part5: Yamanashi, Fuji Lakes, Lake Kawaguchiko & Aokigahara (The Suicide Forest)
Part6: Yamanashi, Fuji Lakes, Lake Kawaguchiko & Aokigahara (The Suicide Forest)
Part7: Yamanashi, Fuji Lakes, Lake Saiko & Mt. Fuji Panoramic Ropeway
Part8: Nagano, A tough route to Togakushi Shrine in winter
Part9: Nagano, Ski Resorts (Hakuba 47 & Goryu, Togakushi Ski Resort)
Part10: Nagano, Jigokudani Monkey Park
Part11: Nagano, Hokusai Museum (Ukiyo-e Artworks)

Point 4: Nagano

Nagano Prefecture, in the center of Japan’s Honshu island, is known for its mountains, hot springs and architecture. The capital, Nagano, is home to 7th-century Zenkō-ji temple, with a “hidden Buddha” statue whose replica is shown publicly once every 6 or 7 years. Its 16th-century Omine Castle is now a butterfly museum. The Togakushi district has ancient Togakushi Shrine and weapons at Togakushi Ninja Museum. ― Google

Nagano City (長野)

Nagano is the capital and largest city of Nagano Prefecture, located in the Nagano Basin in the central Chūbu region of Japan. Nagano is categorized as a core city of Japan. Nagano City is the highest prefectural capital in Japan, with an altitude of 371.4 meters. Wikipedia

My Comment
Staying in Nagano city is recommended for traveling in Nagano prefacture. You can access many spots by taking a bus. Hostels there are also cheap and of good quality.

Zenkoji Temple (善光寺, Zenkōji)

Zenkō-ji is a Buddhist temple located in the city of Nagano, Japan. The temple was built in the 7th century. The modern city of Nagano began as a town built around the temple. Wikipedia

Zenkoji : 善光寺 : Light of Goodness Temple


My Comment
I decided to go Zenko-ji as the first place in Nagano as it ranked top on attraction lists. To me, this was a wrong decision as it was very crowded and there were long queues for taking bus.

Visting here in a new year, or some alike holiday, might not be a good idea if you are not interested in praying. The place was so crowded. Tourist information had no staff. Several spots were under construction. Photo taking was not allowed in temple halls. Photos below are all what I could take from going there.

This might be good place when is not too crowded.

Togakushi Shrine (戸隠神社, Togakushi Jinja)

The Togakushi Shrine is a Shinto shrine in Togakushi, Nagano, Nagano Prefecture, Japan. The shrine is at the base of Mount Togakushi in Myōkō-Togakushi Renzan National Park. Togakushi Shrine consists of five shrines, known as the lower, middle, and upper shrine area, each area about 2 km apart. Wikipedia

Togakushi Shrine : 戸隠神社 : Hidden Household Shrine?

My Comment

Zenko-ji was too crowded so I decided to go where seems to be quited. Togakushi Shrine sounded to be a good choice. A hidden shrine in a deep mountain. I took a bus to go there.

In brief, it was a very fun trip. The mountain was full of snow. Asmosphere there was really good.

However, after many people walk on the snow, snow become ice. The route there was dangerous; very easy to slip. Hours were needed to reach to destination (Okusha in the map below) as it was needed to move slowly, or walk out from the main slippery pathway.

If you go plan to go there, go in the morning. If you go in the afternoon, when you stuck on some point, you will start to worry, whether you should continue or go back before it get dark. If you go on snowy day, you should have boot or tool to handle slippery pathways.


Bus information and Map


Start Point

Scene from the bus

Bus Stop (start point and point for going back)
Thie is Chusha in the map

At the start point, ask information there. She will tell which routes are dangerous and should be avoided on that day.

There’s a tree where people touch it to pray for their wish. One side of the side has a trace left from countless hand touches.

Here are paths to the entrace of the shrine

The Entrance (in the map above this is a gate on the left of blue ninja)

A shop at the entrance

From the entrance to Okusha


As mentioned, some parts were very slippery by ice, and it was needed to walk our from the main pathway.


As mentioned, some parts were very slippery by ice, and it was needed to walk our from the main pathway.

Torii to the top

View from the top

There was actually not thing to do on the top, and no place to sit/rest. However, trying to get there was adventurously fun.

Going back

Bath house (Onsen)

Walking to the east of bustop, there was a bath house. It’s a good idea to get there for dinner before going back.

During day time, you can see scenary from the bath room.


Just an IT guy who likes travel to get inspiration and get brain refreshed