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Gifu l Ishikawa l Nagano l Nagoya



The Nagano prefecture is comprised of the northern, central, and southern ranges of the Japan Alps, thus bringing about its name "Roof of Japan". It is one of the most pleasant regions to visit due to both its mountainous lands and traditional architecture and culture, which have remained in many parts of this region. The major source of income is agriculture although more industrial companies have started moving to this region. Several national parks are located within this prefecture, making this a popular place among hikers and campers. Traveling within the Nagano prefecture relies heavily on the JR lines that run parallel to the Japan Alps.


Nagano's main attraction is Zenko-ji Temple, which draws more than four million visitors per year. The temple was founded in the 7th Century and was home to the Ikko Sanzon, which was thought to be the first Buddhist image to have arrived in Japan in 552. The temple's popularity stems from its liberal acceptance of believers, including women, from all Buddhist sects. There are over 60 Zenko-ji temples found throughout Japan. Nagano also acts as an important transport hub, providing access to the recreational facilities in the surrounding regions. To get to Nagano, one can take the trains from Ueno station in Tokyo through the JR Shin-etsu Honsen line.


The town of Karuizawa lies at the foot of Mt Asama-yama and is known to be Japan's trendiest summer resort. It started as a prosperous post town on the Nakasen-do Highway that links Tokyo and Kyoto. It was, however, discovered in 1896 by Archdeacon AC Shaw and thus went on to become a favorite summer retreat for the foreign community. It is currently a popular place for the affluent foreign and Japanese society to set up summer residences here. Due to this growing demand, the town has become a booming center for recreational activities, such as golf, tennis, and horse riding. The town itself is of not much interest but its immediate surroundings do offer a few scenic attractions. Mt Asama-yama and the Hoshino Onsen Wild Bird Sanctuary are such examples.

To reach Karuizawa, take the JR Shin-etsu Honsen line train from Ueno station in Tokyo. An extensive network of bus services allows for easy traveling within the Karuizawa and its regional destinations.

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