Nagano is one of Japan’s core cities and the capital of the Nagano prefecture. It’s located in central inland Japan, at the confluence of the Chikuma and Sai rivers, and surrounded by mountains. Internationally, Nagano is known as the host city of the 1998 Olympic Games, but the city is nationally renowned for the Zenkō-ji Buddhist temple, nearby ski resorts, and the local snow monkeys that bathe in hot springs. There’s some decent running in Nagano, mainly in its small parks and a couple of river paths and multi-use trails. But it’s not overall a great running city.
The best places to run in Nagano are Joyama Park, Olympic Stadium, and the Susobana River. For a long run, the best bet is the Ueda Chikuma Nagano Bicycle Way, which starts from Nagano City Park. For a destination run, enjoy the 16 km loop around Lake Suwa, located about 90 km south of Nagano — a quick 1 hour train ride.
Nagano has a solid public transportation system. The best way to arrive from Tokyo is the Hokuriku Shinkansen train to Nagano Station. From here, most visitors hop on the local bus system or hire a taxi. Note that some of our running routes outside the city center may require a rental car or a long taxi ride.