The Japan Alps, the “Chubu Sangaku National Park” (Central Japan National Mountain Park), encompasses four prefectures: Niigata, Toyama, Nagano, and Gifu. Nestled at the bases of the majestic peaks of the Japan Alps are seven fascinating cities, each with its own top-class sightseeing spots.
World-famous ski resorts such as Hakuba draw visitors in all seasons; sightseers and photographers delight in the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, quaint Hida Takayama, verdant Kamikochi, scenic Azumino, and historic Matsumoto Castle. Easy access allows visitors to move from one site to another, making for a truly memorable vacation in the magnificent natural surroundings of Central Japan.
A magnificent mountain sightseeing route, the pride of Japan, connects Toyama City and Omachi City. In spring, snowplows carve out the road, creating 20m-high walls on both sides, called the “Yuki-no-Ohtani” (Towering Wall of Snow). In autumn, colorful fall foliage arrayed under a ropeway allows visitors to enjoy splendid natural panoramas.
To Toyama City Global Site
To the official tourism site of Omachi City
A canal called Setogawa, with more than a thousand carp swimming leisurely against a background of traditional white storehouses, offers romantic elegance and photogenic scenes in each of the four seasons.
To the official tourism site of Hida City
Ranked among the top three most beautiful in Japan, Hida Takayama's Spring and Fall festivals attract visitors who admire the ornate floats displayed throughout the town. Year-round town museums display some floats, fascinating mechanical puppets and more. There's no need for a car; a leisurely stroll through this historic town reveals hidden delights at every turn.
To the official tourism site of Takayama City
This wasabi farm is the largest in Japan. At the nearby Tade River stands the three-wheeled water mill which appeared in Akira Kurosawa's film “Dreams.” Known for its typical country charm, Azumino also has a number of art museums.
To the official tourism site of Azumino City
Kamikochi, the gateway to the Japan Alps, is beloved by alpinists. At 1,500m above sea level, this is a stunningly beautiful section of the Chubu Sangaku National Park. Its open valley meanders alongside the Azusa River, which sparkles at the base of majestic high mountains. It offers popular hot spring baths and spectacular panoramas.
To the official tourism site of Matsumoto City
Historically, this place was once called "Narai of a Thousand Houses" which provided a welcome rest spot for travelers moving along the difficult road through the mountains. The townscape, designated a national important historic building preservation district, offers a glimpse into Japan's nostalgic past. Nearby Shiojiri offers excellent local wines and other regional delicacies.
To the official tourism site of Shiojiri City
Scattered around the Japan Alps are numerous hot springs, all of them great for reducing stress and many with medicinal properties. Visitors can marvel at the scenery of the Japan Alps.
Ever since the British missionary Walter Weston acquainted the world with the Japan Alps, alpinists from everywhere come to enjoy them.