Things to Do

[Nagano] Shinto Shrine in Nagano: Famous for Its Natural Beauty, Deep History, and Spiritual Significance, Along with the Nearby Most Popular Soba Restaurant

Nestled in the serene mountains northwest of Nagano lies the mystical Togakushi Shrine—a sacred haven shrouded in ancient tales and natural beauty. The shrine unfolds in three tiers, each echoing a chapter of a captivating Japanese myth. In this mythic narrative, the Sun Goddess sought refuge in a cave, casting darkness upon the world. To coax her into the light, deities orchestrated mesmerizing dances, ultimately liberating her with a daring act that flung a stone door across the land, giving rise to Togakushi, meaning “hiding door.”

Traverse the shrine’s interconnected roads and hiking trails, ascending through the lush, wooded slopes. The upper shrine venerates the deity who courageously cast away the stone door, while the middle shrine reveres the orchestrator of the celestial dances. This sacred complex not only breathes life into ancient legends but also offers a spiritual retreat amid nature’s embrace.

In the proximity of Togakushi Shrine’s grand torii gate lies Uzuraya Soba, an enchanting eatery renowned for its meticulously crafted buckwheat noodles. Housed in a traditional Japanese-style dwelling, Uzuraya beckons visitors with a rich history, transcending generations. Step into this culinary sanctuary, where time seems to stand still, and savor a cultural immersion accompanied by delectable delights.

Togakushi Shrine (戸隠神社)

Togakushi Shrine, located in Nagano, is a Shinto shrine steeped in ancient legends and surrounded by natural beauty. Established in the 9th century, it comprises five shrines, each honoring key deities from Japanese mythology. The shrine is nestled at the foot of Mount Togakushi and offers a lush landscape adorned with cedar and maple forests. Apart from its natural allure, the shrine is associated with the art of ninjutsu, with a museum dedicated to the Togakure-ryu school of ninjutsu. The shrine holds cultural significance, embodying Japan’s heritage, and attracts over a million visitors annually. It peaks during spring, autumn, and winter, hosting various ceremonies and events. Accessible from Nagano Station, visitors can take a scenic bus ride or opt for more flexible transportation like renting a car or taking a taxi.

Uzuraya (蕎麦処うずら家)

Uzuraya, a renowned soba restaurant in Togakushi, Nagano Prefecture, offers handcrafted buckwheat noodles with a rich history and unique ambiance. Using locally cultivated buckwheat ground by hand, skilled chefs create over 20 distinctive soba dishes, showcasing culinary expertise. The restaurant, near Togakushi Shrine, immerses guests in Japanese spiritual heritage and nature. Uzuraya symbolizes Japanese culture, emphasizing craftsmanship, hospitality, and harmony with nature. Located 20 kilometers northwest of Nagano City, it is accessible by car, taxi, or a scenic bus journey from Nagano Station, providing enchanting vistas before reaching the destination.

If time permits, Dishes Japan recommends visiting the nearby Kagami-ike Pond. Situated just 3.0 km from Togakushi Shrine, this destination is a must-visit for nature enthusiasts and those who appreciate stunning scenery. The pond captivates visitors with its clear blue waters and breathtaking mountain views. Additionally, the pond is a favored destination for fishing, housing various fish species such as trout and char. Fishing enthusiasts can rent equipment at the pond and try their hand at catching their own fish.

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