This month’s destination: Suwa City, Nagano Prefecture
Holy log-riding, the accidental castle, and a fire-breathing stone dragon
🏯 Suwa City? Who ever heard of Suwa City? That doesn’t sound like a must-see Japan destination to me! If I saw that on my itinerary, I’d be messaging my travel planner pronto, demanding they find me somewhere more traditional and Insta-worthy. But I’d be SO WRONG. Despite its blah, modern-sounding name, this town on the shores of Lake Suwa is home to one of the most spectacular and venerable shrines in Japan, it hosts the famously dangerous tradition of riding a freakin’ log down a steep mountainside, and right in the middle of town is a castle that hides a fabulous garden within its gates.
Here’s where Suwa City is:
Here are the places where my pictures were taken:
Here’s how to get to Suwa City from Tokyo:
This route shows you how to get to both train stations that are closest to the three places I took photos in Suwa City:
I used the Japan Navigation phone app to figure out this route, and you can use it too, with your actual date and the time you’d like to leave or arrive. It’s also good for finding the easiest way to get to Shinjuku Station from where you’re staying. Here’s where to get the app and how to use it and here’s where to buy a Japanese transit card and how to use it. (I searched the route from Shinjuku Station because that’s where the train that goes to Suwa departs from, but you can start from the station closest to where you’re staying, to plan your entire itinerary.)