Adventures abound around Nagano’s largest lake, Lake Suwa. Located at the center of japan‘s main island in the basin reaching from the Yatsugatake Mountains, this beautiful lake and its neighboring community offer a plethora of activities and attractions for nature enthusiasts and culture fanatics alike.
One of the highlights of visiting Lake Suwa is biking the path that runs 16 kilometers around the lake. This cycling and jogging path provides stunning views of the lake and the surrounding landscape. Bike rentals are available outside Suwa area stations and lakeside near Hotel Beniya, making it easy for visitors to explore the area on two wheels.
For those looking to relax and unwind, Kamisuwa’s foot onsen is the perfect spot. Situated at the foot of the mountain, this onsen offers a tranquil setting to enjoy the sunset while soaking in the rejuvenating hot spring waters. The onsen is especially popular during the summer months when guests can also enjoy evening fireworks at Lakeside Park.
Food lovers will also find plenty to satisfy their taste buds near Lake Suwa. Kamisuwa is known for its soba noodles, while Okaya is famous for its grilled eel. These local specialties can be found in various dining options near the water, providing a perfect pit stop to refuel after a day of exploring.
In addition to its natural beauty and culinary delights, Lake Suwa is also steeped in history and culture. One of the must-visit sites is the Suwa-taisha Shrine, one of Japan’s oldest shrines. This shrine has four locations on opposite sides of the lake and is host to the famous Onbashira pillar riding festival, which takes place once every six years.
Another historic site worth exploring is Takashima Castle in Kamisuwa Onsen. Known as the “floating castle” in the 16th century when the lake reached its ramparts, this castle now offers visitors a chance to admire the cherry blossoms in spring and enjoy panoramic views of the lake.
For those interested in Japan’s sake culture, a visit to the sake distilleries in Kamisuwa is a must. Here, visitors can sample some of the local favorites and learn about the process of sake production. Masumi Sake, in particular, is worth a visit as it is the originator of a strain of rice yeast that is now widely used in sake production worldwide.
For outdoor enthusiasts, Lake Suwa offers more than just biking and hiking opportunities. The historic Kamakura Road, which connected the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Kamakura 800 years ago, runs along the hills to the southwest of the lake. Biking or hiking along this road provides breathtaking views of the lake and the Yatsugatake Mountains, as well as the chance to visit old shrines and temples along the way.
Throughout the year, Lake Suwa hosts various events and festivals that showcase the region’s rich cultural heritage. One of the highlights is the Lake Suwa Fireworks Festival, which takes place in August and attracts almost half a million visitors. This extravagant display of fireworks is one of Japan’s most lavish and is a must-see for anyone visiting the area.
In conclusion, Lake Suwa and its surrounding community offer a wide range of activities and attractions for visitors to enjoy. Whether it’s biking along the lakeside path, relaxing at the foot onsen, indulging in local cuisine, exploring historic sites, or taking part in cultural festivals, there is something for everyone at Lake Suwa. So, pack your bags and get ready for an adventure-filled trip to Nagano’s largest lake.
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