Photo of Nagano

About Nagano

Nagano city, the capital of Nagano Prefecture, was originally a temple town centred around the Buddhist Zenkoji Temple. Since then, it has grown significantly: annexing nearby towns and municipalities in the 1920s, 1950s, and 1980s to become the Nagano that we know today. It is perhaps most well-known as the site of the 1998 Winter Olympics, though within Japan it's also known for its close proximity to the forested mountains which are home to Togakushi Village and its numerous Shinto shrines and it is often within this area that the best places to stay in Nagano can be found.

The city offers the best of both worlds: a centre full of cultural sights, but close proximity to wonderful hiking and cycling trails. There's plenty of stunning scenery in the city's surrounds, so make sure you get out and see it all!

Be sure to book ahead to avoid disappointment as the best places to stay in Nagano get quickly booked up.

What Not to Miss

  • Culture-vultures should make sure to see Zenkoji Temple and Togakushi Shrine.
  • Alternatively, head to the Togakushi Folk Museum and visit its fascinating ninja trick house!
  • Take a boat out on the nearby Lake Kagami, a beautifully serene spot which is bound to impress.

The best places to stay in Nagano

For an apartment or holiday home

If you'd prefer the privacy of a self-catering option then browse through the wide variety available online with our partner, Booking.com.

Travel Information

  • Fly into Tokyo Haneda Airport before taking the bullet train across to Nagano, a journey which should take around 90 minutes.
  • Alternatively, hire a car with Rentalcars and drive yourself over.
  • You're best off visiting in the summer, with the average temperature rising to 33°C in July. However, this is the busiest time of year, so for a quieter alternative consider visiting in May or September.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Nagano

  • Yudanaka Seifso Ryokan 15 rooms from £80

    Nagano (Yamanouchi)

    A charming boutique property built around a pretty courtyard and comprising of just fifteen traditional Japanese rooms. Design is simple with plenty of light wood, tatami mats, paper screens and roll down futons. A selection of onsens are ideal for unwinding post a day exploring the region. Superb.

    Local exploring  -  A traditional property well located for exploring the city.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit Matsumoto Castle, one of Japan's oldest and most famed castles.
    Full of character
    Spa
    Check prices
  • Kiriya Ryokan 15 rooms from £142

    Nagano (Nozawa Onsen)

    A traditional Ryokan situated in historical Nozawa Onsen village, just minutes from the slopes. Traditionally dressed rooms feature paper screens, tatami mats and an option of roll-down futons or Western beds. Regional cuisine, hot spring baths and friendly service make this a memorable stay.

    Skiing  -  Nozawa Onsen ski resort boasts 297 hectares of ski slopes and over 40km of groomed runs.
    Active Holiday  -  From skiing to cultural excursions this region has it all.
    Sights nearby  -  Visit the impressive Matsumoto Castle known as a 'Treasure of Japan'.
    Traditional
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  • Aburaya Tousen 9 rooms from £319

    Nagano (Yamanouchi-machi, Shimotakai-gun)

    A small boutique luxury property boasting spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Choose from traditional Japanese or chic contemporary rooms. Find a whole floor dedicated to various kinds of hot spring baths for the ultimate relaxation experience. A spoiling stay.

    Total relaxation  -  Complete with Onsens and a spa, this is the perfect place to unwind post a day in the mountains.
    Sights nearby  -  Make a trip to the vast Buddhist temple of Zenko-ji.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Romantic  -  Good for couples.
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  • Hakuba Tokyu Hotel 102 rooms from £407

    Nagano (Hakuba-mura, Kita-azumi-gun)

    A hotel that achieves both the feel of a cosy mountain lodge and a chic contemporary hotel. Rooms mix elegant Western styles with classic Japanese design. An atmospheric fire lit lounge offers the perfect spot to unwind after a day on the slopes. A chic property ideal for outdoor enthusiasts.

    Skiing  -  Hakuba is one of Japan's premier ski resorts and also plays host to the Hakuna Ski Jumping Stadium.
    Active Holiday  -  The surrounding mountains offer a plethora of activities.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
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