The principal cities of the inland prefecture in the mountainous district, Nagano and Matsumoto.
Nagano Prefecture is situated in the Chubu region and is an inland prefecture in the mountanous district in the heart of Honshu. It was where the Winter Olympics were held in 1998. Nagano and Matsumoto are principal cities in Nagano Prefecture.
Nagano is a temple town in which the prestigious Zenkoji plays a central part. It is surrounded by magnificent mountains, and Zenkoji, which has attracted pilgrims for more than 1,400 years, is said to be a place that must be visited once.
Nagano’s Zenkoji is one of the popular temples even in the whole of Japan. It was established in the 7th century and houses a Buddhist statue that was brought to Japan in the 6th century
Zenkoji is also majorly involved in the development of Nagano. Japan’s major cities developed from castle towns, temple towns, and port towns. As for Nagano, it developed as a temple town with Zenkoji playing a central part. Even now, one can experience the temple town culture from the path to Zenkoji continuing from Nagano Station.
Matsumoto is the next largest city after Nagano and, along with Nagano, is the entrance to the Japanese alps.
Matsumoto Castle is an extremely famous place and a must-visit. It is one of Japan’s oldest fortresses and, along with Himeji Castle, Hikone Castle, and Inuyama Castle, has been designated as a national treasure. Matsumoto Castle was built on flatland and a wide moat serves as its main method of defense.