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Zenkoji Temple, Nagano

Zenkoji Temple, Nagano

The landlocked prefecture of Nagano is a mountainous terrain ideal for exploring nearby mountain ski resorts and the beautiful Kiso Valley. Those coming to Nagano for travel will find that the magnificent Zenkōji Temple, in place since the Kamakura period, is the city’s main attraction, luring over four million visitors each year. Nagano is easily accessed from the rest of Japan, with the Shinkansen bullet train connecting it to Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.

Those coming to Nagano to ski will not be disappointed. Nagano was the site of the Olympic Winter Games in 1998, and the resorts and local transportation meet world class standards. The excellent Nagano 1998 ski areas are all accessible from the centre of the city and onsens (natural hot springs) are scattered throughout the mountains. One of the most popular of these is Shibu Onsen, where snow monkeys can be seen bathing in the hot springs just like people.

Nagano offers a good selection of accommodation. The most traditional place to sleep is perhaps in one of Nagano's many traditional ryokan (inns). The Zenkoji area is home to several of these places, each one offering a wooden interior with tatami rooms. Some offer meals on premises for a small additional sum. The smoky Shimizuya and the well maintained Matsuya are two of the best ryokan in Nagano. As well as ryokan, Zenkoji is known for its shukubus (temple lodgings) which visitors can rent.

Nagano hotels cater for all budgets. A number of business hotels are located near the station on Minami-Chitose and facilities vary from mid-range to world class. Standard facilities in business hotels include facilities such as high-speed internet, fax and photocopying services.

For a more luxurious stay, the air conditioned Hotel Metropolitan boasts four restaurants and bars with world class chefs cooking excellent international cuisine and an onsite coffee shop, beauty salon and florist. The rooms all feature refrigerators and televisions and the hotel is handily located next to the train station.

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