VIDEO| Explore Nagano’s beautiful Kiso Valley

Photo by Takahiro Takiguchi
Photo by Takahiro Takiguchi

VIDEO| Explore Nagano’s beautiful Kiso Valley

by Takahiro Takiguchi
Stripes Japan

Immerse yourself in the beauty of Japan’s wonderful landscapes and take a trip to the past in the Kiso Valley area of Nagano Prefecture. Here you’ll find lush greenery and small villages with old traditional architecture and breathtaking views of the Alps and the region’s vast rivers.

Getting to Kiso Valley is only about a three-hour drive from Yokota Air Base, so it’s perfect for a daytrip to escape for a breath of fresh mountain air.

This region is home to many of the key stops along the Nakasendo Highway which was the major road connecting Tokyo and Kyoto during the Edo Era (1603-1867). Both Naraijuku and Narai are places you’ll want to include in your visit as they offer a look at quaint, small town Japan, are a great place to stroll and no crowds. Narai preserves wooden buildings with gray-tiled roof which date back hundreds of years and here you’ll want to visit Shizume Jinja, a Shinto shrine dedicated to a god of warding off evil and epidemic.

For some local produce include vegetables, honey and local sweets, check out Michinoeki Kisomura, a rest stop near the shrine. The shops in this rest stop also sell local crafts, sake and soba.

The crown jewel of this trip is Nezame no Toko, a beautiful valley where white rock formations dot the landscape and you can trace the Kiso River’s turquoise waters.

This trip to Kiso Valley was what my wife and I needed to get out of our home, exercise our legs and get a fresh breath of air. If you’re looking to recharge and refresh, Kiso Valley is a great place for a daytrip!

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