Matsumoto Castle stands against a backdrop of the white Northern Japan Alps, which contrast strikingly with the black donjon. The 5-tiered, 6-story donjon is said to have been built around 1593, and is one of the oldest existing donjons in Japan. It has been designated as a national treasure castle. The Michelin Green Guide Japan has given it its highest rating of three stars as a sightseeing destination that is "worth a journey."
Nagano is one of the most mountainous areas in Japan. This prefecture not only has some of Japan's most famous scenic areas (such as Kamikochi), large numbers of hot springs (such as Kamisuwa) and mountain climbing in summer: it also has the ideal environment for enjoying winter sports, with ski resorts that get excellent quality snow in winter.
In addition to nature, you can feel Japanese history and culture in places like National Treasure Matsumoto Castle in the center of the prefecture and Zenkoji Temple, a focus of deep and widespread devotion as a spiritual anchor of the masses since its foundation 1,400 years ago.
With Shinshu soba, oyaki dumplings and more, Nagano's unique local food culture is another one of the region's big draws.