Situated in the far north of Nagano Prefecture, Iiyama city is Japan's eternal home town, where nostalgic scenery depicted in songs like Furusato and Oborozukiyo can still be found. Amidst the region's rich natural landscape, a unique history and culture, sense of tradition, and kindness has flourished. With elegant streets lined with temples, deep forests and highlands, and specialty produce each season, the area is full of charming attractions.
The new Iiyama Station on the Hokuriku Shinkansen line connecting Nagano City and Kanazawa City opened in 2015.This means Iiyama is now easily and efficiently accessible from anywhere in Japan. We hope to see you in Iiyama.
Shinshu Iiyama is known as “Little Kyoto” for its many temples and shrines, which visitors can enjoy while walking around the city. With continued performances of spiritual rites like the Gosokudaidai kagura, passed down from the 17th century, and Hashira-matsu gyouji, recognized as an Important Intangible Cultural Property in January 2011, visitors can experience ancient prayer rituals.
Iiyama City also has some of the heaviest snowfall in the world. The city offers a way of life and natural scenery available only in snow country, including the giant beech trees of Mt. Nabekura and the Chikumagawa (also known as the Shinanogawa), Japan’s longest river. This gorgeous natural landscape represents Japan’s “original hometown scenery,” which fascinates many visitors.
Shojuan temple was founded by Etanzenji (Shojurojin), a 17th century priest, and was one of three famous hermitages (along with Shidoan and Kitoan of the Inuyama clan) during the Edo period (1615-1868). Iiyama castle was constructed by Warring States Period warlord Kenshin Uesugi as a base for the Kawanakajima battles. (The site is now a public park, with castle ruins) Kosuge Shrine, one of the three most sacred areas in northern Nagano for mountain ascetics, holds 1,000 years of history. Surrounded by all this history, castle-town Iiyama is dotted with historical legacies from time immemorial.
Iiyama City is home to four onsen (hot springs) resorts: Iiyama-Yutaki onsen, Togari onsen, Madarao-Kogen onsen, and Iiyama-Hokuryuko onsen. Each offers spectacular views of the Shinshu landscape, allowing visitors to gaze at the mountain ranges or listen to the flow of the Chikuma river while enjoying the baths.Why not get rid of any traveling fatigue and enjoy a few moments of bliss at one of our onsen!?
Clear water from melted snow and a climate with four distinct seasons enrich the Iiyama landscape throughout the year. Agricultural products like Iiyama rice, mushrooms and green asparagus are also valued throughout Japan for their high quality. Visitors can also try sasazushi (sushi on a leaf), eaten by the troops of Kenshin Uesugi (Warring States period warlord) during battle, and Tomikura soba, known as “rare soba” for its use of leaves from the Japanese oyamabokchi plant.
Iiyama City, located in Nagano Prefecture’s far north, can be divided roughly into six areas: Shinanodaira, Madarao Kogen, Hokuryuko, Togari Onsen, Nabekura Kogen, Central Iiyama. Visitors can experience the traditional Japanese way of life in any season, and enjoy a variety of experiences in each district.
At an elevation of 1,000m, 50km of maintained trails wind around rich forests, mystical lake Nozomiko, and the Numanohara marshland.
With clear spring water and vast expanses of cultivated fields, this area offers an opportunity to experience Japan's simple country life.
You can enjoy country stay leisurely centering on hot spring for day bathing and about 80 farmhouse tourist homes.
Because castle-town (central) Iiyama is home to more than twenty temples, it is variously known as a "Temple Town" and “Little Kyoto".
The heart-shaped Hokuryuko is surrounded by deep forest. The landscape has remained largely unchanged for hundreds of years.
The forest of beeches spread across Mt. Nabekura has supported the local way of life for many years, and in return people have carefully protected the trees.