This is a non-sectarian temple that was built in 644 AD. The temple was built to revere the oldest Buddha known as Ikko Sanzon Amida Nyorai, and numerous priests and monks visited this temple, including Shinran and Ippen. It was the scene of the battle between the warriors Takeda Shingen and Uesugi Kenshin, but its restoration was ordered by Tokugawa Ieyasu, and is known even today as a famous place where all should visit at least once in their lifetime.
This is an old Onsen along the Yokoyu River. It boasts a 1300 year history, and was a secret bathing spot for Takeda Shingen during the Sengoku era(1467-1600). It was also a place of healing for soldiers during the battle of Kawanakajima. For guests staying at the Shibu Onsen, a key is provided to the outdoor spring baths where are 9 baths said to wash away pain and struggle. (The Japanese number 9 is "ku" which is the same sound as the first character of "pain/struggle" - "kurou")
This is a shrine built in 210 BC. The shrine's God is known as Amenodajikarao no Mikoto and was built by the 5 enterprises known as Rear shrineMiddle ShrineHokoshaNine Headed Dragon ShrineHinomiko Shrine at the foot of Holly Togakushi Mountain. The area was often used as a place to practice the Shugendo (a religion which was a fusion of several different religions) and was also known as the "three mountains of the Sanzenbou area" as the third mountain along with Mount Hiei and Mount Takao. Although it has been the scene of numerous battles along with Zenkoji Temple, it came under the fierce protection of Tokugawa Ieyasu and is still strictly protected today.
This is a monkey park in the "Hell valley" hot spring area. The park was opened in 1964 to conserve the monkeys that inhabited the area due to them being close to extinction. There are now around 150 monkeys that inhabit the area. The monkeys that appear in the onsen area in winter are known as "Snow monkeys" and is one of the most famous onsen destinations in the world.
This is a pond within Myokokogen pond with a length of around 500m. The name originates from the fact that newts(Imori) used to live here in great number. On a clear date, the 2,454m high Mount Myoko is reflected clearly in the pond water.
An Onsen located on Kusatsu Shirane Volcano at an altitude of 1,800m, the highest in Japan. There are several areas where hot water spouts up, almost like a geyser, creating an almost hellish looking landscape with a smell of sulphur. The area is also popular in winter for skiing.
This is a crater lake in Kusatsu Mount Shirane, one of the most active volcanoes in Kanto. Due to the iron and sulphur that is melted in the water, the color is a turgid blue green, giving the impression of viewing a lake not of this world.
This is an Onsen located on the river bed of Chikuma River. It opened during the Meiji era(1858-1912), and was known as a place of devotion towards the Zenkoji Temple, as well as a place of healing for wounded and sick soldiers during the war. A total of 150 geisha registered to this onsen, and also has the unique characteristic of being an onsen constructed on a base of a shooting range.
This is an old Onsen in Mount Kenashi, in northern Nagano prefecture. It has 1,300 years of history, and there are 13 outdoor baths. The onsen is popular as a place to mingle with the locals. On the slope, there is a ski area (the Nozawa ski area) which makes the area popular for skiing in the winter. The area is also famous for its Nozawa pickles.
This is a famous onsen located at the foot of Kusatsu Shirane Volcano. It was named as one of the top Onsens in the country during the Edo period(1603-1868). The onsen is special for its large amount of natural water and is often used for research on "Yumomi", which is a process of inserting a hexagonal plate to reduce the feeling of heat when initially entering a warm bath.
This is a waterfall situated in Karuizawa. As water spouts up through the rocks, this waterfall looks attractive in all types of weather. The name derives from the fact that the water flowing down looks like white and silken threads.
This is one of Japan's three large snowy mountains with a length of 3.5km and altitude of 600 meters, situated in Hakuba village. The valley is formed from the peaks of Hakuba and Suko, and as there is a walking route of about one hour from Sarukura to the snowy mountain area, it is an ideal hiking course.
Here, one can see the 8 large potholes within Shimagawa River. These potholes are formed where rocks and sand particles flow in circles in the same areas and gradually erode at the river bed. Over tens of thousands of years, it forms a natural wonder that can be viewed today.
This is one of the most famous rice paddy areas, part of the Echigo Matsudai rice paddy field group, located in Tokamachi city. April to June and October to November is the "water mirror" season where one can see a clear reflection of the landscape in the brilliantly clear water. Due to the high altitude, once can also see the sea of clouds below during the autumn season.
This is a plateau situated in central Nagano, with an altitude of 2,000 meters. Beyond the Venus line highway renowned for its views, this hidden area awaits. Here visitors can see a 360 degree panoramic view of the northern and southern alps, Sengen mountain, and Mount Fuji. The area is an ideal photo spot for its otherworldly starscapes above and cloud scapes below.
This is a mountain in Gunma prefecture which has been worshipped throughout the ages. With a height of 1,449m, the mountain also has the nickname of "Haruna Fuji". The area is particularly well known for the contrasting blue of the Lake Shina with the reds and oranges of the autumn leaves.
This is a castle build by Ogasawara clan in 1504. It is famous as one of Japan's only 12 castle towers and is one of 5 which has been designated as a national treasure by the Japanese government. The castle was taken into ownership by Ishikawa Kagumasa in 1590, and it is said that he painted the castle jet black to express loyalty to the castle lord, and became famously known as the "Crow castle".
This is a crater lake at altitude 2,405 meters formed by the volcanic activity of Tateyama volcano, in Murodo-daira. In Tateyama faith, the name has the meaning of "God's kitchen" and the pond's water ownership was bequeathed to Tateyama. For those practicing religion in this area, it became known as holy water.
This is an Alpine route of the Tateyama Kurobe mountain range. As snow has to be cleared aside in the heavy mountain zone of Toyama in around March, visitors can see the spectacular snow walls in April and May, with a height of 15-20m.
This is a secret onsen in Kurobe Valley, that is part of the local valley river and was visited by Emperor Showa as well as Yosano Akiko. The area is also a popular tourist spot to see the Kurobe Gorge railroad and view the spectacular landscape. The area is particularly popular in summer for the greenery and in autumn for the autumn leaf viewing.