Discover the true diversity of Japan’s outdoors with the Shoryudo Nature Route. Your trip begins in mountainous Nagano, the capital of the Chubu region, and concludes in the beachside town of Minamichita in Aichi.
En route you’ll experience the beauty of Biwako, Japan’s largest lake; the spectacular Tojinbo cliffs; one of the biggest Dinosaur museums in the world; a one-of-a-kind viewing of the moon from Unazuki Onsen; as well as numerous beautiful temples along this stunning, memorable alpine route through the heart of Japan.
Ninjas, Shrines and Onsen
2 HRS | 50 MINS
After a shinkansen from Tokyo, begin the Great Nature Route in Nagano City, a temple town that once hosted the Winter Olympic Games. It’s home to Zenko-ji, one of the most popular temples in Japan, where you can witness 7th Century Buddhist splendor. To the northwest lies Togakushi, a village located at the base of two volcanoes that sports beautiful shrines, the legendary Ninja school Togakure and several fascinating museums. A 70-minute bus ride later and you’re in Omachi Onsen village, ready to begin the Alpine Route on Day 2.
Things to see and do
One of the few remaining pilgrimage sites in Japan, this 7th Century temple contains a statue of Binzuru, whom travellers touch to cure their medical woes.
Togakure Ninpo Museum
Showcasing tools, weapons and photographs of ninja techniques, the Ninpo Museum also contains the Ninja House, which has a maze and a shuriken (ninja throwing stars) range.
A 2-kilometre walking path leads from the entrance to two of these shrines, which celebrate the Sun Goddess’ return to the world after hiding in a cave.
Stay overnight in Omachi Onsen village, either in a traditional ryokan or a hotel: