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Shinano / NaganoEnjoy lakeside relaxation, soba noodles, and agricultural heritage in the rural town of Shinano, Nagano

The town of Shinano is just 35 minutes by train or car from Nagano Station. It offers myriad pastoral charms and outdoor recreation, in addition to scenic views, amenities, and hands-on activities that cater to all ages and travel styles. Paddle a kayak across Lake Nojiriko, learn how to make soba from scratch, and stay with a local family who will teach you about the area's rich agricultural heritage.

Story 1Take a leisurely kayak ride on serene Lake Nojiriko

The calm lake is a great spot for kayaking, SUP boarding, and fishing

While Nagano is generally known for its winter ski resorts, the town of Shinano boasts the expansive Lake Nojiriko, where visitors can enjoy different types of recreational activities outside the winter season. Guesthouse Lamp sits among the numerous lake homes and boarding houses that dot Lake Nojiriko's shores.

Carrying a kayak from Guesthouse Lamp to the lake

The guesthouse offers a full selection of watersports and provides all the equipment, gear, and guides you'll need for a half-day adventure. For a fun, family-friendly outing, take a guided kayak tour of the lake. The serene waters make kayaking fun for all ages and skill levels. Afterward, head back to the guesthouse for a delicious meal at the fully stocked restaurant.

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Story 2Learn how to make soba noodles using locally grown buckwheat flour

A local soba expert provides careful instruction

In terms of cuisine, Nagano has long been associated with soba: thinly sliced noodles made from buckwheat. Soba is eaten both cold or hot and considered one of the more refined noodle dishes in Japan, in stark contrast to the heavy, pork-infused broths typical of some popular ramens. Driving through Shinano, you'll come across field after field of buckwheat, which is characterized by slender stems and speckled flowers.

Enjoy the results of your hard work in the guesthouse restaurant

After the buckwheat buds are processed into a fine flour, they're kneaded and cut into noodles. You can learn how to make soba noodles with help from a seasoned veteran at Sobadokoro Takasawa. The lesson takes approximately 30 minutes and is followed by a delicious meal.

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Story 3Enjoy warm hospitality, learn about local agriculture at Gonbo no Ie farmhouse

Gathering eggs at Gonbo no Ie

Shinano has numerous traditional inns, hotels, and ski resorts in and around the surrounding area, but those looking to learn about local farming culture should consider a farm stay at Gonbo no Ie, a traditional farmhouse.

An extravagant meal cooked over an open irori hearth

Run by the Kurata family, Gonbo no Ie allows visitors to experience day-to-day life on the farm while enjoying Japanese-style hospitality known as omotenashi. Try your hand at bee-farming or picking vegetables, among other outdoor pursuits. In the evening, watch on admiringly as Mrs. Kurata prepares an extravagant meal using the farm's own produce.

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Access information

Getting to Shinano, Nagano Prefecture:

Trains to JR Tokyo Station take 60 minutes from Narita International Airport and 30 minutes from Haneda International Airport. From Tokyo Station the journey to Nagano Station takes around 90 minutes on the Hokuriku Shinkansen. Shinano is then approximately 35 minutes on the Shinano Railway Kita Shinano Line to Kurohime Station, which is the closest station to Shinano.

*This information is from the time of this article's publication.
*Prices and options mentioned are subject to change. Unless stated otherwise, prices do not include tax.
*Unauthorized reproduction of material in this article is strictly prohibited.

About “Countryside Stays“

If you’re looking for a new way to experience Japan, sign up for a farm-stay experience through the Countryside Stays Japan program and participate in traditional rural-lifestyle activities in recommended countryside locations.

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Shinano / NaganoEnjoy lakeside relaxation, soba noodles, and agricultural heritage in the rural town of Shinano, Nagano

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