Sign Up
Newsletter Signup
Free Fodor's Newsletter

Subscribe today for weekly travel inspiration, tips, and special offers.

Fodor's Weekly: Your expert travel wrap-up
Today's Departure: Your daily dose of travel inspiration (coming soon)

The Japan Alps and the North Chubu Coast Travel Guide

  • Photo: Neale Cousland / Shutterstock
  • Photo: cowardlion / Shutterstock
  • Photo: Norikazu / Shutterstock
  • Photo: Sean Pavone / Shutterstock

Plan Your Japan Alps and the North Chubu Coast Vacation

No trip to Japan is complete without spending a few days in this central alpine region. Until the 20th century brought highways and railways to central Japan, villages here were largely isolated from the rest of the country. Unique traditions still linger in this region of snow-topped mountains, coastal cliffs, open-air hot springs, and superb hiking and skiing.

Top Reasons To Go

  1. Onsen The salty, calcium-rich waters of coastal thermal spas and iron- and sulfur-heavy springs in the mountains make your skin smooth, your bones strong, and set your mind at ease.
  2. Hiking The Japan Alps offer staggering views and a serious workout. Trails wind through peaks and ridges, and summer brings wildflowers to the highland slopes and valleys.
  3. Skiing The resorts around Nagano attract outdoor enthusiasts, particularly on weekends. Shiga Kogen, near Yudanaka, and Happo-o-ne, near Hakuba, are among the best areas.
  4. Feudal Japan Visit the former samurai quarters in Kanazawa's Naga-machi section. Matsumoto Castle evokes the history of a strictly hierarchical society.
  5. Folk art Kanazawa is renowned for dyed silk and pottery, while Matsumoto has excellent wood craftsmanship. Lacquer is a specialty of the Noto Peninsula.

When To Go

When to Go

Temperatures vary widely from the coastal areas to the mountains. Hikers should bring warm clothes even in summer. Cherry-blossom season in April...

Read More

Check historic weather for your trip dates:

Travel Tips



Trip Finder

Fodor's Japan

View Details
Travel Phrases

Learn Japanese Phrases before or while you're on the go!

Download Now
Travel Deals