Hakuba is much larger than your average ski town and offers various accommodations to choose from at every price point. The valley is comprised of many neighborhoods and I recommend staying at the three closest to Happo-One, the largest resort.
Just over 440 years ago Ichijodani was a bustling Muromachi Period castle town. Today the location attracts interest with both history buffs and sightseeing visitors alike wanting to take in the beauty of the surrounding countryside whilst learning the history of how this once-important and busy town fell to ruins.
Located at the trailhead of Mount Myoko, the highest mountain in the Hokushin area, Tsubame Onsen is surrounded by forest and gives its visitors a private bathing time with abundant nature around.
Yamanashi, about 2 hours by bus from Tokyo, certainly changed a few perceptions I had of Japan: where Mt. Fuji was, where Japanese wine was made, what the technology to make the world's fastest train looks like. I had wondered about these before moving to Japan, but was completely unaware that one prefecture in the entire country could answer all of them at once.
Whilst the Alps do, as one would expect, give rise to a huge amount of winter sports tourism, they also have the added benefit of limiting the number of inhabitable areas within the prefecture. However, the cities of Matsumoto, and the prefectural capital, also called Nagano, offer plenty of sites for an avid tourist to see.
Narai-juku is a quaint post town that is located in present-day Shiojiri City, a mountainous region in southern Nagano. This nationally designated architectural preservation site is part of the Nakasendo Trail which used to be a 534-kilometer-long route connecting Kyoto and Tokyo in Edo Period.
Hakone Hachiri is the name given to the stretch of old Tokaido between Odawara and Mishima, via Hakone. Much of the old Tokaido route has been replaced by modern roading. But the Hakone Hachiri stretch has a reasonable proportion still intact, and so has just been declared a Japan Heritage Area.
As healthy lifestyles are picking up in popularity, more and more people are finding themselves opting for healthier food choices. Whether you are vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, or just someone looking for a delicious, but all the while, nutritious meal in Japan, Healthy Penguin Café in the Matsumoto City of Nagano is an amazing find!
Sunsets alone along the Sea of Japan, or Nihonkai as it’s called in Japanese, make getting there well worth the effort, and the cycling and camping it offers make it more than well worth it.