| Jessica Piora & Yuichi Kobayashi
Rural Nagano: Sightseeing in Tatsuno
Tatsuno is a small town bisected by the waters of the Tenryu River in the Ina Valley and bordered by the Kiso Mountains. It is a small town of 19,000 people in the Ina Valley, Nagano Prefecture, and one of the most famous places for Firefly Festivals in summer. In the past year, the town of Tatsuno has made a consistent effort to revitalize tourism by creating pamphlets, sharing information online, and inviting more visitors to appreciate the rural side of Nagano Prefecture.
Onojuku is close to Ono Station and in a part of town with preserved old buildings maintaining an ancient and evocative atmosphere.
The Sake Brewery
Yoakemae Sake Brewery is a small complex of buildings where sake is brewed and sold in Onojuku. The cold weather and clean mountain water create ideal conditions for the production of sake, and locals take pride in this sweet rice liquor.
This sake makes for a great souvenir, as you can only buy it here.
This small shrine belongs to the brewery, as you can see, they have offerings of sake.
Shinshu Future Center
Next to Tatsuno Station is this coworking area that acts as a flea market, a café, and a waiting room for people waiting for the next train. You can meet people, rest, and participate in the events organized by locals here.
At Kojinyama Park there are more than 800 Sakura trees and Japanese maples. It is perfect for Hanami in spring. The park has two museums, painting spots, traditional ovens, and more.
The Town Museums
The town has two museums, an art museum and an insect museum (where you can learn all about insects!), and they are both in Kojinyama Park. The Tatsuno Museum of Art features Jomon Era statues and the work of Artists Yamashita Kiyoshi and Nakagawa Kigen.
The Momiji Painting Spot
Behind the Tatsuno Museum of Art is an observation space where you can see views of cherry blossoms and beautiful autumn leaves. It is the perfect place to sit and paint the Japanese landscape.
Akahane Village is the old name of Tatsuno, and back in the day, it was renowned for the production of pottery. The traditional pottery kilns here as part of an effort to preserve the cultural heritage. The pottery made in Akahane Village, in particular, was destined for the production of silk.
Other features of Kojinyama Park
One impressive feature of Kojinyama park is this beautiful lake. On the shores of the lake is a little observatory where you can enjoy a view of the town.
Near the lake is a big steam locomotive that once operated on Japan's early rail lines.
On a stranger note is the Spring Water distributor. For a mere ¥10, you can purchase 20 liters (20kg or 44lbs!!) of Onsen Water to take home and use when you bathe.
In the forest at the foot of the mountain is the beautiful shrine, Kojinyama Jinja. The atmosphere here is quiet and peaceful as you walk among the trees and climb up the stairs taking you to the main building.
Cycling and Hiking
In Tatsuno, Kojinyama Park is an excellent choice for a relaxing walk, but there are great destinations for hiking and cycling too. Plenty of options for guided cycling tours and bicycle rental services are available.
The Center of Japan
Tatsuno offers you the chance to stand in the geographical center of Japan. Would you like to stand at the very heart of the archipelago? Then this is your chance.
It is quite a hike to reach this spot.
Prepare yourself for a long walk on a steep mountain road. When you reach Zero Point your efforts are rewarded by an outstanding view and the satisfaction of making it to the Zero Point. Note: make sure you take adequate safety measures and avoid going in winter. You can drive partway, but be aware that it is a steep road without guardrails.
Tatsuno is one of the best locations to enjoy Hotaru (Firefly) Festivals in summer. The town makes several efforts to protect and revitalize nature and preserve Genji Fireflies, the town symbol. Every year, in mid-June, they hold the Tatsuno Firefly Festival.
How to reach Tatsuno from Nagoya Station
From Nagoya Station, take the Shinano for Nagano and get off at Shiojiri. Train for Nagano and get off at Shiojiri. From Shiojiri, get on the Local Tatsuno Train for Tatsuno Station.
The Town of Tatsuno is a rural location in Nagano prefecture. Whereas you will not be able to find the comfort and luxury of a big city here, we are sure you will find something that the city cannot offer. We hope you enjoy your time in Tatsuno!