More things to do
Day trips and tours from Nozawa Onsen
Other than snow and Onsens, there are many other fantastic things to do in and around Nozawa Onsen !
With much improved access to transport, Nozawa Onsen has become an ideal base for exploring the Northern Nagano area and beyond.
Easy access to the Hokuriku shinkansen, the Joshinetsu expressway, taxi and car hire services, the surrounding countryside and regional centers have never been more accessible.
Below is a list of day trips to make your stay in Nozawa a little more interesting :
Nagano city and Zenkoji temple
An easy day trip, for shopping and sightseeing
Nagano city is only 11 min from Iiyama station on the Hokuriku Shinkansen. The Nagano main station area is surrounded by good shopping and many restaurants and the Zenkoji temple precinct is a perfect area for sightseeing.
The Zenkoji temple itself is an important historical site and is said to be the first likeness of Buddha to be brought to Japan when Buddhism was first introduced in the 6th century.
Make sure you drop into the Nagano tourist information center in the main station hall for maps and advice !
Matsumoto Castle and old district shopping street
Matsumoto city is the second largest city in Nagano prefecture and is an important historical site.
It hosts one of the oldest fully intact and preserved castles in Japan and is a must see while here. You can walk or ride from Matsumoto station to the castle, and on the way you will pass by Nakamachi street, known for its traditional storehouses, called kura, which are characterized by their black-and-white, criss-cross patterned walls.
Matsumoto is around 1hr 40 min by train from Iiyama station, and is an easy day trip ! 🚅
Castle gardens, tea house district and fish market
Another important regional city bursting with historical sites is Kanazawa on the Sea of Japan. 1 hour and 15 MIN from Iiyama station on the Shinkansen, Kanazawa is a particularly rewarding day trip.
There are many great sites to see including the old Higashi Chaya geisha district, the Kanazawa castle gardens, Kenrokuen garden, and the fish markets. You can get around on foot but hiring a bike or using the loop bus makes it a little easier. Definitely worth the trip !
Photo courtesy : Kanazawa city
A small town on the plains between Nagano city and Nozawa Onsen, Obuse was once home to the famous artist Hokusai, and now hosts his museum and many of his artworks including the famous woodblock print “The Great wave off Kanagawa.”
The town itself is a maze of small winding streets, open gardens, sake breweries, restaurants specializing in chestnut dishes, and Ganshoin temple which is home to Hokusai’s last great work – the ceiling painting of the “Phoenix looking in all directions.”
Obuse is most easily accessed from Nozawa Onsen by car. (about 45minutes).
Hire car services are available from Nissan car hire next to Iiyama station.
Mayumi Takahashi museum of Doll Art, Iiyama
A small but fascinating museum located in Iiyama city, a short bus ride from Nozawa. The museum of doll art hosts a collection of handmade dolls depicting scenes of Japanese country life.
A beautiful heart shaped lake with camping facilities, boat rental, fishing and picnic areas, walking trails, museum, day-use onsen, and restaurant. 10 min from Nozawa by car or taxi. Outdoor activities are available Spring, Summer and Autumn.
Hiking trail to Kosuge shrine and Kosuge village
Kosuge is a tiny village 10 min from Nozawa Onsen with a famous homemade soba restaurant featuring mountain vegetable tempura, and a stunning hiking trail up to Kosuge shrine.
The hike has challenging sections and takes about an hour. Be sure to take good hiking shoes and water. Spring, Summer and Autumn only.
The areas surrounding Nozawa are home to many interesting hot springs. Some of the easiest to access are listed below.
Ask your accommodation or the Nozawa tourist information centre for more details.
30 min by car from Nozawa Onsen and located halfway up a ridge looking back toward Kijimadaira Ski Resort. This facility also has an an in-house restaurant and locally made soft serve ice cream.
10 min by car or taxi from Nozawa, located along the banks of the Chikuma river. This onsen offers a large outside bath area and a popular restaurant.
Iiyama Hokuryu Onsen
Located in the hotel next to Hokuryu lake, it offers a day use onsen and rest area with great views over the Hokushin 5 peaks, and also over Hokuryu lake itself.
10 minutes from Nozawa by car.