Nagano Ventures is all about local. We eat awesome food grown nearby, support the Nagano economy, soak in hot springs onsen and share experiences found nowhere else in the world. We create high quality travel experiences in Nagano, Japan traveling slow, taking time to talk to people, and enjoying beautiful natural settings. Want to join us for the experience of a lifetime?

  • Local Knowledge: We are passionate about Nagano. We have spent extensive time here and have inside knowledge like no one else. When necessary, we hire local guides with in-depth knowledge of a particular subject who enhance your experience and provide opportunities for asking plenty of questions.
  • Local Experiences: When in Rome right? Nagano is Japan’s outdoor adventure center known for its mountains, snow and hot springs baths. We walk as much as possible, smell the roses, take in the scenery and learn from people.
  • Local Food: Japanese chefs make decisions not by the season, but by the freshest ingredients of the day. We enjoy a variety of Japanese and Nagano cuisine that literally changes every day and is sourced almost entirely within Nagano Prefecture.
Day Trips

Snowshoeing

Snowshoeing in the beautiful mountainous landscapes of Nagano allows you to take in the beautiful scenery without the risks associated with skiing or snowboarding. It’s also a great activity after you’ve already seen the Snow Monkeys or tired of skiing and want to try something new. Basque in the other-worldly feel of a winter wonderland and fresh powder snow. We will bring the hot chocolate.

Itinerary:

Mirror Lake & Togakushi Shrine. Snowshoe 4-6km (3-4 hrs) on mostly flat terrain with moderate hills. Walk across a frozen lake with the majestic Mt. Togakushi in the background, weather permitting. Walk to Togakushi Shrine’s Zuishinmon Gate with it’s famous avenue of Japanese Cedar trees. Have a late lunch at a soba (buckwheat noodle) restaurant. Difficulty Level: Medium-Hard

Pick up/drop off: Nagano Station or Yudanaka Station at 9:30 AM. Please don’t be late

Suitable for children 10+

Tour Dates: January to March

Group Tour Rate: ¥15,000 per person for 2+ pax, ¥13,000 per person for 4+ pax (2 person minimum)

Private Tour Rate: ¥60,000 total up to 5 pax, + ¥9,000 for each additional person.

Tour Includes: Snowshoes, poles, gaiters, lunch and transportation to/from Nagano Station or Yudanaka Station. Please inform us of any dietary restrictions or allergies.

Please Bring: Cold weather attire including waterproof jacket, several layers underneath, waterproof pants with long underwear underneath, gloves (2 pairs if you have them), boots or hiking shoes, change of socks, warm hat, neck warmer or scarf, backpack, water (at least half a liter), sunglasses or ski goggles, sunscreen and a camera with extra batteries (electronics tend to lose charge quickly in the cold). Please notify us if you do not have all of these items, we might be able to prepare them for you at an additional cost. If you have time to prepare equipment and gear in advance, Uniqlo and MontBell are inexpensive, high-quality Japanese stores to check out.

*Snowshoe tours are subject to changes in the itinerary due to snow conditions. When there is a lack of snow or dangerous snow conditions, your Nagano Ventures guide will inform you and provide alternative options.

Soba & Sake

Among Nagano’s most famous culinary delights are soba (buckwheat noodles) and sake. Before rice-farming techniques modernized, the cold, steep mountains of Nagano did not facilitate extensive rice farming. Soba grew even in mediocre, mountainous soil and became a staple grain. Once considered poor-man’s food, soba has become a delicacy and holds the top spot in Nagano cuisine.

Once rice farming techniques allowed more productive yields, Nagano’s sunny summers and high quality H20 made Nagano rice some of the best in Japan. By extension, sake was produced at breweries around the region.

On this tour, we explore these two culinary masterpieces in-depth. We make/eat our own soba noodles visit two sake factories, one of which has been in operation over 200 years and learn about each products’ cultural significance in-depth. In the Winter, we have the addition of apple tasting! In the other months, we talk t0 a soba maker and sake sommelier who shares with us his passion for both!

Pick up/drop off: Nagano Station or Yudanaka Station at 9:30 AM. Please don’t be late

Suitable for children all ages

Tour Dates: January-March, June-July & October-November

Group Tour Rate: ¥15,000 per person for 2+ pax, ¥13,000 per person for 4+ pax.

Private Tour Rate: ¥60,000 total up to 5 pax, + ¥9,000 for each additional person.

Tour Includes: Sake brewery tour, soba making class, lunch, sake tasting and transportation to/from Nagano Station or Yudanaka Station. Please inform us of any dietary restrictions or allergies.

Please Bring: Seasonally appropriate attire. In Winter, we will not be outside for long periods but please bring cold weather clothing including waterproof jacket, warm pants, gloves, warm hat, neck warmer or scarf, water, sunglasses and sunscreen.

Hiking

Nagano is Japan’s outdoor adventure paradise. Thousands of trails cross the mountains providing interesting walks and hikes for people of all abilities and fitness levels. Please contact us if you have a specific hike or location in mind.

Itineraries:

Ike Meguri Course, Shiga Kogen. Hike 10.3km (3-4 hrs) on up and down terrain, mostly downhill. We walk past Shiga Kogen’s 48 lakes area, before seeing the climax of our tour, teal-blue Onumaike lake with its iconic Shinto Torii Gate on the edge of the water. Difficulty Level: Hard

Shiga Kogen Highlights Course. Walk around beautiful Lake Biwa 3.9km(1.5 hrs) before having lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, we drive to another location to hike for an additional 2-4km (1-2 hrs) depending on what everyone wants to do. Difficulty: Easy

Pick up/drop off: Nagano Station or Yudanaka Station at 9:00 AM. Please don’t be late

Suitable for children all ages

Tour Dates: June-July & October-November

Group Tour Rate: ¥13,000 per person for 2+ pax, ¥12,000 per person for 4+ pax.

Private Tour Rate: ¥50,000 total up to 5 pax, + ¥8,000 for each additional person.

Tour Includes: Lunch and transportation to/from Nagano Station or Yudanaka Station.

Please Bring: Appropriate attire including waterproof jacket, layers underneath (depending on the season), waterproof pants, hiking shoes/boots, hiking poles (if needed) change of socks, hat, backpack, water (at least 1 liter), sunglasses, and sunscreen.

Back Country Lite

Our back country tours are easily accessible and do not require extensive back country experience or gear. They do, however, require a moderate to advanced level of skiing/snowboarding.

Itineraries:

Mt. Neko, Sugadaira. Hike with snowshoes 2km (2 hrs) to the top of Mt. Neko (2207 m) and ski or snowboard down. If you have skis with skins and/or a split board, you can certainly use them. After we finish our first run, we have lunch and have the snow cat take us up for the second run. Blue-Black runs. Difficulty Level: Hard

Yamada Bokujo Takochi Course. On this “slack country” tour, we take two lifts to the top of Yamada Bokujo Wild Snow Park before riding down the 13km run partly through trees and groomed runs. A shuttle bus picks us up at the bottom and we do it again! We can do 2-3 runs on this day, depending on the speed at which we finish. Green-Blue runs. Difficulty Level: Medium

Pick up/drop off: Nagano Station or Yudanaka Station at 9:00 AM. Please don’t be late

Suitable for children 13+

Tour Dates:  Mid-January to March

Group Tour Rate: ¥17,500 per person for 2+ pax, ¥14,500 per person for 4+ pax.

Private Tour Rate: ¥75,000 total up to 5 pax, + ¥10,000 for each additional person.

Tour Includes: Snowshoes, gaiters, lift/bus/snow cat ticket when applicable, lunch and transportation to/from Nagano Station or Yudanaka Station. Please inform us of any dietary restrictions or allergies.

Please Bring: Ski/snowboard attire including jacket, several layers underneath, waterproof ski pants with long underwear underneath, gloves (2 pairs if you have them), ski/snowboard boots, backpack, change of socks, warm hat, neck warmer or scarf, backpack, water (at least half a liter), sunglasses or ski goggles, sunscreen and a camera with extra batteries (electronics tend to lose charge quickly in the cold). Please notify us if you do not have all of these items, we might be able to prepare them for you at an additional cost. If you have time to prepare equipment and gear in advance, Uniqlo and MontBell are inexpensive, high-quality Japanese stores to check out.

Short Trips

Nagano Ventures’ short trips provide easy access to the real Japan without having to make a major time commitment. Experience snowshoeing, Japanese snow country culture, hot springs onsen and Japanese cuisine. Join us for an only in Nagano experience!

  • Private tours. There is a 4 person minimum and 12 person maximum
  • Bilingual guiding with in-depth local knowledge
  • Experiences that take you far away from touristy places and into the real Japan
  • A focus on local knowledge, local experiences and local food. Travel Local

Itinerary

The Togakushi Snowshoe is a 1 night, 2 day trip that allows beginners to experience snowshoeing for the first time. This is an easy add-on to the beginning or end of a ski holiday in Nagano’s Hakuba, Nozawa Onsen or Shiga Kogen resorts. Togakushi is a large religious complex in the mountains with temples and shrines built hundreds of years ago in addition to mountain, forest, and frozen lake scenery. Stay in a Japanese Inn and experience hot springs onsen, Japanese food and snow country culture firsthand. Please visit the Togakushi Snowshoe page for details and more information.

Extended Tours

Nagano Ventures’ extended tours offer the chance to get away from it all on multi-day private walking  journeys. We eat a variety of local food, stay in Japanese and Western accommodation of the highest caliber, soak our bones in hot spring onsen baths and enjoy the stunning settings offered by an array of mountainous scenery and seasons. Want to join us for the experience of a lifetime? Here are a few reasons you should…

  • Private tours. There is a 4 person minimum and 12 person maximum.
  • Bilingual guiding with in-depth local knowledge
  • Experiences that take you far away from touristy places and into the real Japan
  • A focus on local knowledge, local experiences and local food. Travel Local.

Itineraries

The Shiga Highland Hike is a guided 6 night, 7 day tour that explores Central Japan’s mountainous highlands. After visiting Takayama Village with its native old-growth forest and famous hot springs, we spend the bulk of our time in Joshinetsu National Park and Shiga Kogen Ski Resort. Hiking between 1,000 and 2,000 meters, we have ample opportunity to explore Japan’s alpine flora and fauna in addition to breathtaking scenery, hot springs onsen and delicious local cuisine. Please visit the Shiga Highland Hike page for details and more information.

The Shinetsu Trail is a guided 6 night, 7 day tour that runs along the ridge of the Sekida Mountains, forming the boundary between Nagano and Niigata Prefectures. The trail started as 16 passes connecting the territories that were used for trading salt and paper between provinces. Today, the area has a rich ecosystem including magnificent native Japanese beech forests and spectacular views of mountains and the Sea of Japan coast. Please visit the Shinetsu Trail page for details and more information.

About Us

Daniel Moore moved to Japan at just 7 months old. After living in Matsumoto and Tokyo for several years, his family moved back to Nagano. This is when he remembers first experiencing a love of the mountains.

In high school Daniel’s family returned to the United States, where he attended high school and university, receiving a tennis scholarship and studying international business. The travel bug had already bit; Daniel completed two international exchange programs in university, learning 2.5 languages. Upon graduation, he accepted a job offer from a company in Kenya, working there for two years and deepening his passion for travel and thirst for adventure.

After Africa, Daniel returned to the United States, where he wanted to utilize his Japanese. He became an interpreter and hiking guide for Japanese travelers. The opportunity soon arose to return to Japan when a hotel in Nagano needed bilingual staff. The hotel’s location just 2 minutes away from the slopes was a significant incentive. He returned the next year to work at another hotel in Nagano, before joining Walk Japan as a tour leader. Daniel is passionate about the outdoors, in addition to Japanese history, culture and food. He is trained in avalanche safety and Wilderness First Aid. His personal blog can be found at: www.danieljamesmoore.wordpress.com.

Seiji Kobayashi was born in Tokyo. Both his father and grandfather grew up in Nagano Prefecture, however, and took him to the mountains on holidays. During his university years, he couldn’t get enough of skiing in Nagano, coming every Winter and working as an excuse to ski every moment he could. Even in the summer, he continued coming to Nagano for its alluring mountains. Seiji remained in Tokyo for several years after university working with his father, but continued to visit Nagano whenever he could.

Preceding the 1998 Winter Olympics, Seiji worked for a publishing company making guidebooks of Central Japan. Loving the stunning array of adventure, food, scenery and hot springs in and around Nagano, he decided work in the tourism industry helping other people experience this amazing place for themselves. Seiji has visited every single ski resort and onsen in Nagano.

In 2012, he began working for a hotel in Yudanaka Onsen in Nagano Prefecture, just as the Snow Monkeys of Jigokudani became popular and a wave of international tourists began visiting. He resigned in 2016 to serve as the president of the Sushi Washoku International Academy, a world-class sushi academy offerning one-on-one sushi training in month-long courses. He also serves as the president of Nagano Ventures.

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