Suwa area of Nagano prefecture is the sightseeing spot surrounded by Suwa Lake, Suwa Shrine, hot spring, art museum, glass museum and etc. Also, the clock/watch manufacturing industry is developed and you can see the beautiful scenery in Nagano, so due to this common point, Suwa area is called “Switzerland of the East”.
You have many activities here that you can enjoy through four seasons such as wandering around Suwa Lake, moving around hot springs, the beautiful art at museum, and having a relax time at foot spa looking over Suwa Lake. This time, we introduce you Suwa area sightseeing spots focused on Suwa Lake.
- 1. Spot Ranking
- 5th Honjin Iwanami House
- 4th Katakura Hall
- 3rd SUWA 5 KURA
- 2nd Lake Suwa
- 1st Suwa Shrine
- 2. Getting in
- 3. Other Area List
1. Spot Ranking
5th. Honjin Iwanami House
It is the “Honjin” (stronghold) of Shimosuwa inn where the Daimyo stayed at during their alternate attendance in Edo period. It is known that Imperial princess Kazunomiya and Meiji Emperor stayed there, and even now the Iwanami family continue to protect this place. After finishing the role as Honjin, they started to operate the silk industry when civilization and enlightenment has started in Early Meiji era.
At the parking lot near the garden, now there’s a factory with equipments which were new in Early Meiji era and it was such a leader of the silk industry in Suwa area. In the factory, the water was drawn from Shochigawa River, which generates the power and it made the machine move.
It is also called the greatest garden of Nakasendo, and you can enjoy the seasonal atmosphere such as the azalea in Spring, the iris and dwarf azalea in early Summer, autumn leaves, and the snowy landscape.
It opens from 9am to 6pm (winter season is till 5pm), and close irregularly. Entrance fee is 400JPY for adults and 200JPY for children.
It is about 15 minutes on foot from Shimosuwa station.
4th. Katakura Hall
“Katakura hall” in Kamisuwa hot spring in Nagano prefecture is designated as important cultural property which was built in Early Showa period and is a unique hot spring facility for one day which has a large public bath called “Sennin buro” (1,000 people bath) that 100 people might be able to take at same time.
Many ideas are taken for building up Katakura hall as it was strongly interested in welfare facilities located in Carlsbad at the time in Czechoslovakia. Katakura hall opens from 10am to 9pm, and it closes on 2nd Tuesday and 4th Tuesday, and 12/31~1/1. For taking bath, you can borrow the towel by charging.
For the access, get off at Kamisuwa station and walk about 8 minutes.
3rd. SUWA 5 KURA
There are five sake brewery lined in between just 500 meters on the Koshu road. It is recommended for those who love Japanese sake. It is a very rare place for nationwide that there are five brewerys within 10 minutes’ walk from Kamisuwa Station. Five brewerys are “Maihime” “Reijin” “Honkin” “Yokobue” “Masumi”.
Depending on the brewery, there is old one which have been running for more than 200 years. Let’s enjoy excellent sake while walking around the local town. It opens from 9am to 5:30pm everyday, but closes on 12/31 and 1/1. However the open hours are varied at each brewery.
“Reijin” 8:30 to 6pm on weekday, 9am to 6pm on Saturday, 9am to 4pm on Sunday and holiday, Except 1/1, it opens everyday. “Honkin” 9am to 5pm on weekday, 10 am to 5pm on Saturday, close on Sunday. “Yokobue” 8:30am to 5pm on weekday, 10am to 5pm on weekends and holiday, close from 12/31 to 1/3. “Masumi” 9am to 6pm everyday, (Sample taste entry is finished at 5pm) no closed days.
It is 5 minutes’ walk from Kamisuwa station to SUWA 5 KURA. Any brewery is close each other.
2nd. Lake Suwa
Lake Suwa located in the middle of the Suwa basin is the biggest lake in Shinshu area with 759 meters above the sea level and 15.9 km around the lake and 13.3 km2 area. After taking a walk or jogging around the lake, it is nice to see the beautiful scenery and get relaxed with footbath.
You can enjoy the boat and fishing on the lake. There is also a pleasure boat moving around the Lake Suwa for about 30 minutes, so it is recommended for those who wants to enjoy the Lake Suwa. Also, “Lake Suwa fireworks festival” is held on August 15 every year, which excites 500,000 people including many tourists with 40,000 launching fireworks.
For the access, take a local train at Shimosuwa station and get off at Kamisuwa station. The boarding time is about 5 minutes. From Kamisuwa station, you can see Lake Suwa in about 5 minutes on foot. Pleasure boat fee is 800JPY for adults and 450JPY for children, and it departs every two hours.
1st. Suwa Shrine
Suwa Shrine has four precincts around Lake Suwa in Nagano Prefecture. It is one of the oldest shrines in Japan and appears in Kojiki, the Japanese old novel. The features of Suwa Shrine is that there is no main hall.
Instead, Akimiya in the Suwa Shrine has Ichii tree, Harumiya has cedar tree as a treasure tree, and Kamisha worship the hill. In addition, the pillars called “Onbashira” standing on the four corners of the shrine are also the high spots that those pillars are thick and huge trees with a height of about 19m.
The specialty here is Taisha rice cracker. As a souvenir of Suwa Shrine, it is well-known and loved for a long time and rustic taste and crisp texture are loved by fans.
You can visit any time as the open hours are not fixed.
For the access, there are Kamisha Honmiya · Kamisha Maemiya, Shimosha Akimiya, Shimosha Harumiya and they are individual each other, but it takes about 20 minutes on foot from Shimosuwa station, if using a taxi, it will take about 5 minutes.
2. Getting in
For the access, there are Kamisha Honmiya, Kamisha Maemiya, Shimosha Akimiya, Shimosha Harumiya and they are individual each other, but it takes about 20 minutes on foot from Shimosuwa station, if using a taxi, it will take about 5 minutes.
Getting to Shimosuwa Station from Tokyo Station
3. Other Area List
Tateshina – Venus Line
Lake Suwa, Kami-Suwa Onsen and Shimo-Suwa Onsen