3 Must-visit place in Nagano Prefecture to enjoy grand nature! Also introducing great-value transportation pass from Tokyo.

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Written by Editorial department

We know that among those who are considering a trip to Tokyo, there are many who want to travel further with their basecamp in Tokyo. It is a good idea to go towards Osaka area, but it is also a great idea to go over to nature-rich area especially in summer through fall.

We, the editing team recommends Nagano prefecture. 80% of its land is actually occupied by forests. From magnificent views to various activities, you will be able to make lots of unforgettable memories while being healed by nature. What’s more, use “JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata Area)” and you will be able to travel to the area by Shinkansen cheaper than its regular price! (More details about the pass is shown later in this article)

From here, let us tell you about 3 recommended spots in Nagano along 3 themes.

Theme #1. Ryuoo Ski Park to enjoy grand nature and “splendid view” (SORA terrace)

Ryuoo Ski Park offers things to do in every season including hiking and trekking in spring, summer and fall and snow activities in winter. What is the hottest place to be at the park right now is “SORA terrace” located at its summit (1,770m height).From the double structured terrace built on the steep hill, you can enjoy the extensive view of Nagano. What’s more, if the weather permits, you may be able to see a sea of clouds (layer of clouds extending over vast area resembling ocean waves). Take a photo of the picturesque magnificent view for your trip memory.

A chance to watch a grand “sea of clouds”; clouds spread like waves
A chance to watch a grand “sea of clouds”; clouds spread like waves

SORA terrace at Ryuoo Ski Park

Tel
0269-33-7131
Address
11700-163 Yomase Ryuoo, Yamanouchi-machi, Shimotakai-gun, Nagano
Access
20 minutes' taxi ride to Ryuoo Ski Park from Nagano Dentetsu Yudanaka station on Nagano line. Get to SORA terrace at the top of the mountain by taking Rope way.
Business hours
9:00 – 19:00 between June 3rd through November 5th, 2017
Fare (round trip ticket for Ropeway)
Adults ¥2,200, Children ¥1,100, Seniors (over 65) ¥2,100
Accepted credit cards
American Express / Diners Club / JCB / MasterCard / Visa
URL (Japanese)
http://www.ryuoo.com/summer/activity/event.php?id=1439806037

Theme #2. “Experience” grand nature at Hakuba EX Adventure

Hakuba EX Adventure is a facility you can experience refreshing sky-walk while viewing beautiful mountains. From the start to the goal, you are going to go through lots of attractions set up at 8-12m high from the ground. Depending on its height, there are multiple activities available and some are safely fun for kids too. Be super active in the great nature and get rejuvenated!

A thrilling sky-walk in grand nature
A thrilling sky-walk in grand nature
Looks so high from the ground! Feels even higher looking down!!
Looks so high from the ground! Feels even higher looking down!!

Hakuba EX Adventure

Tel
0261-72-7860
Address
12111 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura, Kita Azumi-gun, Nagano
Access
Approximately 20 minutes’ walk from Shinano-Moriue station on JR Oito line
Business hours
9:00-17:00 (last admission by 16:00, up until early November)
Admission
Basic course ¥4,600
Accepted credit cards
American Express / Diners Club / JCB / MasterCard / Visa
URL (Japanese)
www.pahakuba.com

Theme #3. Matsumoto Castle where you can touch “history” in nature

Nagano is the place where historical spots exist in coordination with nature. In such place, the top recommended spot is the Matsumoto Castle. This National Treasure is the oldest castle among the existing “five-structure/six story (looks like five-storied, though there is actually 1 floor hidden making it six-storied)” castles in Japan. Beautiful black and white appearance of the castle looks magnificent with the Alpine mountains in the back making the whole view gorgeous. After enjoying the view from a distance, let’s go inside the castle and feel the history on your skin.

Matsumoto Castle looking grand in great nature
Matsumoto Castle looking grand in great nature

Matsumoto Castle

Tel
0263-32-2902
Address
4-1 Marunouchi, Matsumoto City, Nagano
Access
Approximately 15 minutes’ walk from Matsumoto station on JR Shinonoi line
Hours
8:30-17:00 (last admission by 16:30) ※Hours vary depending on seasons
Closed
The New Year holiday
Admission
Adults 610 yen. Elementary and junior high school students 300 yen.
URL(English)
http://www.matsumoto-castle.jp/lang/

Introducing the great-value pass for your trip between Tokyo and Nagano!

“JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)” is the convenient pass for your trip towards Nagano and/or Niigata from Tokyo. For 5 days, you will have unlimited access to trains and Shinkansen in the designated area. If you buy a pass outside of Japan, it is ¥17,000 for an adult and ¥8,500 for a child. Buy it in Japan and it will be ¥18,000 for an adult and ¥9,000 for a child. Without a pass, at a regular price, it costs ¥16,400 (an adult fare for a reserved seat) for a round trip between Tokyo and Nagano. If you consider getting off and on a train at other stations as well, this is truly a valuable deal that you cannot miss.

Details of the JR EAST PASS (Nagano, Niigata area)

Period of Use
Usable year-round
Period of Validity
Any 5 days out of the 14-day period after a date of issue (flexible 5-day pass)
*Date of issue refers to a pick-up date for passes purchased outside of Japan and a date of purchase for passes purchased in Japan.
Prices
Prices outside of Japan is 17,000 yen for an adult (12 and older) and 8,500 yen for a child (6-11). Prices in Japan is 18,000 yen for an adult and 9,000 yen for a child.
Valid For
Unlimited travel within the designated areas in reserved seats on ordinary cars of limited express (including Shinkansen), express trains, and local trains operated by the East Japan Railway Company.
Conditions of Purchase and Use
The JR EAST PASS is available for purchase by holders of non-Japanese passports with “temporary visitor” visa status and plan to stay in Japan for no longer than 90 days.
*Passport must be presented at time of purchase for confirmation purposes.
Purchase Methods
① Within Japan: Purchase at a location where JR EAST PASS is available.
② Outside of Japan: Purchase an exchange order (e-ticket) from a travel agent or travel company or through the JR EAST website. Then, upon arrival to Japan, trade in the exchange order for your JR EAST PASS at any of the exchange locations.
URL(English)
www.jreast.co.jp/e/eastpass_n/

If you are interested in good value JR passes, but don’t know how to use them or how to purchase them yet, you will find this short clip below very useful.