Rent a Car in Nagano Prefecture

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Helpful information about Nagano

Transit and transportation
Nagano, in the central region of Honshu, has two main hubs for sightseeing: Nagano Station in the north near Zenko-ji Temple, and Matsumoto Station in the central part near Matsumoto Castle. The Hokuriku Shinkansen gets you to Nagano Station from Tokyo Station in less than two hours, and the JR Chuo Main Line Limited Express (Azusa) gets you to Matsumoto Station from Shinjuku Station in about two hours and 30 minutes. If you arrive in Nagano by train, consider renting a car from either Nagano Station or Matsumoto Station. Nagano is well suited for a relaxed day trip from Tokyo.
About the airport
Matsumoto Airport is the main airport into Nagano, with services only to Sapporo, Kobe (Osaka), and Fukuoka. There are no flights to Tokyo (such as Haneda).
Sightseeing and activities
As one of Japan’s leading mountainous regions, Nagano is home to many popular tourist attractions. Near Matsumoto Station in the central part of the prefecture, the historic Matsumoto Castle stands tall with the Northern Alps in its background. Kamikochi is another stunning place in the mountains, with a beautiful view of the Kappa Bridge. Daio Wasabi Farm in rural Azumino is also about a 30-minute drive from Matsumoto Station. In the north, about a 10-minute drive from Nagano Station will take you to Zenko-ji Temple, which enshrines the oldest Buddhist statue in Japan. Jigokudani Yaen-Koen (Wild Snow Monkey Park) is also about an hour away from Nagano Station. It’s a great opportunity to witness Japanese macaques bathing in hot springs. The traditional Kisoji post town along the Nakasendo Road is another location rich with cultural heritage. It is about an hour and 20 minutes by car from Matsumoto Station. An equally pleasing place is Karuizawa, a summer resort with international influence that can be accessed in about an hour and 30 minutes by car from Nagano Station. If you’re a foodie, local cuisines are available at 52 roadside stations around the prefecture.
Local events
Numerous seasonal events take place throughout the year. The Takato Castle Park Cherry Blossom Festival in the spring and the Lake Suwa Fireworks Festival in the summer are definitely not to be missed.
Seasonal information
Notable locations for cherry blossom viewing include Takato Castle Ruins and Ueda Castle. Nagano Prefecture also boasts many places famous for their autumn foliage, such as the Venus Line, a scenic mountain route, and the Shiga Kogen Plateau. With an inland climate, there is a significant fluctuation in temperatures, and winters are particularly cold. Northern and mountainous areas experience heavy snowfall, so consider using studless winter tires if you are driving during the snowy months.