Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > Asia > Japan
Reload this Page >

Things to see in Nagano & Niigata? Ideas?

Things to see in Nagano & Niigata? Ideas?

Reply

Old Oct 29, 09, 2:17 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: ORD, NRT, BKK
Programs: UAL 1MM, AA,
Posts: 170
Things to see in Nagano & Niigata? Ideas?

Heading to Nagano & Niigata in November and want suggestions on things to do.
Am staying near JR station in both cities. I visited Nagano once and liked the clean air...after Tokyo. I am going to Niigata "because it is there", so plan to rent a bike and ____?
thanks in advance
ord100 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 29, 09, 5:28 pm
  #2  
Moderator: Luxury Hotels and FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Palo Alto, California,USA
Posts: 16,927
I enjoyed visiting the tunnels in the town outside of Nagano where the Japanese government and military leadership planned to retreat as a final redoubt if a land war in Japan became necessary during WW2.

There's a big temple in central Nagano which I thought looked a lot like every other big temple I've been to in Japan, but that could be because I'm just not knowledgable to appreciate all the subtleties!

There was a helpful local tourist office -- English was good too -- in JR Nagano station.
RichardInSF is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 29, 09, 9:10 pm
  #3  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota,USA
Programs: UA, NW
Posts: 3,662
As I recall, Niigata itself wasn't very interesting, but it's the departure point for the ferry to Sado Island, which is pretty interesting from a historical and folkloric point of view. Like everywhere else in Japan, it's touristy, but it's more interesting than Niigata, which I've heard of only in connection with its being a favorite port for Russian sailors, even in the Communist days.

See a guidebook or the JNTO's PDF about Sado for more information.

The big temple in the center of Nagano is called Zenkoji, and yes, it looks like most other temples, but I thought the main street approaching it was one of the most attractive in Japan. Again, the JNTO website probably has a PDF about Nagano.
ksandness is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 29, 09, 10:24 pm
  #4  
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Terra Australis Cognita
Posts: 5,344
Originally Posted by ksandness View Post
As I recall, Niigata itself wasn't very interesting, but it's the departure point for the ferry to Sado Island, which is pretty interesting from a historical and folkloric point of view.
Sado is wonderful in summer, but in November it's going to rainy, miserable, and very much off season. (Which also applies to pretty much the entire Japan Sea coast, for that matter.)
jpatokal is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 30, 09, 2:19 am
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: LHR, NRT
Programs: HH, BD
Posts: 8,446
Originally Posted by jpatokal View Post
Sado is wonderful in summer, but in November it's going to rainy, miserable, and very much off season. (Which also applies to pretty much the entire Japan Sea coast, for that matter.)
+1
jib71 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 30, 09, 6:22 am
  #6  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: ATL
Programs: DL SkyMiles DM/2MM, AA EXP, IC RA, Peninsula regular, amanjunkie
Posts: 5,747
What would Nagano be like in December? Is there a pleasant village-like atmosphere, something those not necessarily into winter sports would like? Any remnants of the '98 Olympics? Good onsen worth visiting? Nice hotels or ryokan (welcoming foreigners)?

Mr. Megatop and I have done the big and noteworthy cities in Japan: Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Tokyo. We're looking for new experiences, and seeing some snow, mountains, winter wonderland would be very nice. This visit would be close to Christmas.
MegatopLover is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 30, 09, 1:10 pm
  #7  
Moderator: Luxury Hotels and FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Palo Alto, California,USA
Posts: 16,927
I wasn't in Nagano city in mid-winter but the time I did visit, it seemed to me like a medium size Japanese city, not especially quaint.

How about the Tsumago-Magome-Kiso valley area?
RichardInSF is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 30, 09, 2:58 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: ATL
Programs: DL SkyMiles DM/2MM, AA EXP, IC RA, Peninsula regular, amanjunkie
Posts: 5,747
Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
I wasn't in Nagano city in mid-winter but the time I did visit, it seemed to me like a medium size Japanese city, not especially quaint.

How about the Tsumago-Magome-Kiso valley area?
Please excuse my ignorance, as I've never heard of it. What can you tell me about it?
MegatopLover is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 31, 09, 3:31 am
  #9  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 135
Originally Posted by MegatopLover View Post
What would Nagano be like in December? Is there a pleasant village-like atmosphere, something those not necessarily into winter sports would like? Any remnants of the '98 Olympics? Good onsen worth visiting? Nice hotels or ryokan (welcoming foreigners)?

Mr. Megatop and I have done the big and noteworthy cities in Japan: Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Tokyo. We're looking for new experiences, and seeing some snow, mountains, winter wonderland would be very nice. This visit would be close to Christmas.
I have a couple of days to spare in between Christmas and New Year which I will be spending in osaka and tokyo respectively. Hence, I was searching for a nice relaxing ryokan for a couple of days for R&R. After extensive search, I am currently booked into myojinkan. It seems to be highly recommended on various website and appeared to be a small ryokan with just several rooms. As to whether it is welcoming for foreigners, I have absolutely no idea, but I do presume it should not be a problem at all since I booked this via ryokan collection without any problem at all. This place is also affilated with Relais and Chateaux if it meant anything with regards to welcoming for foreigners.

In all honesty, I have absolutely no idea what is there to do at nagano. I am only going there due to the ryokan and all I know now is that I will get some snow and mountain and the castle. I will look into more details on what is there to do closer to date, but given that this is purely for relaxation, I supposed it will be easy to find some activity/sight seeing to fill in the time for the 2 days. Otherwise, a good book in the private hot spring bath will suffice
Grounded again is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 31, 09, 3:35 pm
  #10  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: ORD, NRT, BKK
Programs: UAL 1MM, AA,
Posts: 170
Matsushiro Daihonei (Zozan Underground Imperial Headquarters)

Originally Posted by RichardInSF View Post
I enjoyed visiting the tunnels in the town outside of Nagano where the Japanese government and military leadership planned to retreat as a final redoubt if a land war in Japan became necessary during WW2.
Thank you Richard:
http://www.japanvisitor.com/index.php?cID=357&pID=1774
Of more contemporary and controversial interest is Matsushiro Daihonei (Zozan Underground Imperial Headquarters) - a complex of subterranean tunnels dug by Korean forced-laborers in a bid to provide an impregnable sanctuary for the Emperor and the organs of the Imperial Japanese government at the end of World War II. A 500m-stretch of tunnel can be entered and there is a small museum adjacent to the main entrance detailing the brutality of the treatment meted out to the construction workers on the site.
ord100 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 31, 09, 6:33 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: LHR, NRT
Programs: HH, BD
Posts: 8,446

Are grounded and ord the same person?
jib71 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Oct 31, 09, 10:08 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Home of the 2001 & 2004 Rugby Super 12 Champions - the Brumbies (Canberra, ACT) and Australia's best ski resort (Thredbo, NSW)
Programs: QF SG (LT PS, 54% LT SG), Priority Club Gold
Posts: 339
A worthwhile trip from Nagano is to see the snow monkeys at Jigokudani-Yaenkoen near Shiga Kogen ski area. I did a day trip from Hakuba to see the snow monkeys, lunch at the old sake brewery at Obuse and the Zenkoji temple in Nagano. There are a couple of tour companies organising tours from Hakuba for skiers having a day off from the slopes and I'd imagine that there would be similar tours offered from Nagano city.

Obuse is a nice little town with traditional buildings and it's not too far from Nagano city.
Craigo is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 09, 1:42 am
  #13  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 135
Originally Posted by jib71 View Post

Are grounded and ord the same person?
Not at all. Had only been to chicago once in my lifetime, although had pass through ord more times than I wanted

My period of being grounded will soon be over come year end, can i change my handle then
Grounded again is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 09, 1:32 am
  #14  
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Tokyo
Posts: 529
Originally Posted by MegatopLover View Post
Mr. Megatop and I have done the big and noteworthy cities in Japan: Osaka, Kyoto, Nara, Tokyo. We're looking for new experiences, and seeing some snow, mountains, winter wonderland would be very nice.
I know it's not what you asked, but Kanazawa is quite charming in the winter (and other times of year as well). (Sorry, I've been to Nagano several times, but I can't really suggest anything there.)
lobsterdog is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old Nov 1, 09, 7:39 am
  #15  
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota,USA
Programs: UA, NW
Posts: 3,662
Kanazawa is great, and I'd suggest it over Niigata any day.

It has one of the most famous gardens in Japan, and although there won't be much blooming at that time of year, you can see how it's laid out.

It somehow escaped being bombed during the war, so it has a lot more old stuff than the average Japanese city.

Touring the so-called "Ninja temple," built by a paranoid and full of boobytraps and false doors and windows is a fun tour.

The central marketplace (covered) is great for walking around.

If you're into traditional crafts, Kanazawa has 'em.
ksandness is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread