Top Reasons to Go to the Japan Alps and the North Chubu Coast

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.

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.

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.

Feudal Japan: Visit the former samurai quarters in Kanazawa's Naga-machi section. Matsumoto Castle evokes the history of a strictly hierarchical society.

Folk art: Kanazawa is renowned for dyed silk and pottery, while Matsumoto has excellent wood craftsmanship. Lacquer is a specialty of the Noto Peninsula.

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