Source: Takekazu Omi
Just ninety miles out of Tokyo is the jewel city of Nagano. It is the capital of Nagano Prefecture and host to the 1998 Winter Olympics. Rich with beautiful sceneries of the verdant hills and highland areas surrounding the city, Nagano has become a primary destination. Explore the best restaurants in Nagano and see for yourself what the city has to offer.
1. The Gohonjin Fujiya
The Gohonjin Fujiya is a restaurant located in Hotel Fujiya. Established since 1648, this hotel is admired because of its commitment to provide the best service. Gohonjin is translated as the residence of the lords as this place is used to accommodate the feudal lords in the Edo era. These days royal families still frequent Fujiya Hotel, bringing more prestige and history in this imposing and esteemed establishment. A well-designed restaurant awaits you in Nagano. The dining hall will simply amaze you with the art deco. If you like an evening of history and elegance, visit Gohonjin Fujiya.
- Name: The Gohonjin Fujiya
- Address: 80 Daimoncho, Nagano 380-0841, Nagano Prefecture
- Price: ¥ 700 – courses ¥2500-7500
- Opening hour: Mon- Fri 1130 am – 3 pm 6 pm – 11 pm,Sat – Sun 7 pm – 11 pm
- Phone: +81 26-232-1241
- Website: www.thefujiyagohonjin.com
2. India the Spice
Ask for the time and the many wall clocks adorned on the walls of India the Spice will give you the answer. You will find a modest restaurant with vines climbing the entrance door in this quaint little street of Nagano. For a taste of India in Nagano, this is the place to be. This café offers curried dishes, which are prominent in the lunch, breakfast, or dinner menus.
- Name: India the Spice
- Address: 1418 Minaminagano Minamiishidocho, Daito Bldg. 1F, Nagano 380-0824, Nagano Prefecture
- Price: ¥ 800 – ¥ 3000
- Opening hour: Mon – Thu & Sun 1130 am – 11 pm, Fri – Sat 1130 am – 12 am
- Phone: +81 26-226-6136
Nagano nights could be freezingly cold especially if you are from the tropics. If you feel a little nippy, and you want to enjoy a hot soup, visit Sekizawa. This restaurant offers one of Nagano’s specials, the Shinshu Soba Noodles. Thin noodles are made from Soba, the Japanese term for buckwheat. These noodles are opposite from Udon or the fat noodle from regular wheat. Considered as a staple food in Japan, aside from rice, of course, noodles are great for quick meals and snacks. The Shinshu Soba Noodles is made interesting as it is served either chilled or with hot broth. Side vegetables and spices will also enhance the flavor. Sekizawa is one of the many restaurants that serve this Nagano flavor.
- Name: Sekizawa
- Address: 872-9 Nakamatsu Obuse Kamitakai-gun Nagano
- Price: ¥ 1000 – ¥ 8000
- Access: 433 meters from Tsusumi Station
- Opening hour: Mon – Sun 1130 am 230 pm – 530 pm – 730 pm
- Holiday: +81-26-247-5652
- Website: www.soba-sekizawa.com
The 160-year-old wooden ‘Machiya’ house is the home of Yayoiza, a restaurant specializing in Nagano dishes. Sourcing ingredients from local products, Yayoiza makes sure that they only serve fresh ingredients. A restaurant tradition, the ‘Shojin’ cooking fit to serve the monks of Zenkoji Temple, makes Yayoiza a perfect place for vegetarians. The simplicity of the steamed dishes and fresh vegetables served on wooden trays will make you feel healthier after eating here.
- Name: Yayoiza
- Address: 503,Daimon-cho,Nagano,380-0841
- Price: ¥ 1000 – ¥ 4000
- Access:From Nagano Station(JR Hokuriku(Nagano) Shinkansen), Walk up Chuo-dori, the main street, towards Zenkoji Temple, approx. 20 minutes. Or, take a bus bound for Zenkoji and get off at the Zenkoji Daimon stop, then 2 min on foot.
- Opening hour: 1130 am – 830 pm, Closed Tuesdays and the 2nd Wednesday of each month
- Phone: +81 26 232 3312
- Website: www.yayoiza.jp
5. Caffe Terra Restaurant
Caffe Terra Restaurant is a cool little spot in Nagano that serves Italian coffee and gelato. This restaurant is located nearby the Zenkoji Temple. On a nice day, visit this restaurant for their delicious homemade cakes, hot espresso, and tasty gelato. The gelatos come in different flavors, try the raspberry, apple, miso caramel, and triple chocolate. It is also nice to know that the ingredients of the food in this restaurant come from the local farmers, so that makes everything organic.
- Name: Caffe Terra
- Address: 484 Motoyoshicho, Nagano 380-0851, Nagano Prefecture
- Price: ¥ 300 – ¥ 1000
- Access: 8 mins walk from Zenkouji-shita Station (Nagano Dentetsu).
4 mins walk from Daimon bus stop (Alpico Bus).
- Opening hour: Mon 11 am – 530 pm, Wed – Sun 11 am – 530 pm
- Phone: +81 26-217-5541
- Website: www.caffeterra.lolipop.jp
6. OH!LA!HO brewery & restaurant
OH!LA!HO! is a brewery and restaurant located in Tomi. It is nearby the intersection of Tōbu-Yunemaru IC. The closest station is Oya or Tanaka on the Shinano Railway Line if you are taking the train. There are several reasons why you should visit this restaurant. First, this is an award-winning brewery since 1999, gathering awards in the Asia Beer Cup competition, and other international brewery competitions. Second, the well-crafted beer is a perfect pair of the mouth-watering food in the menu. It is also cheaper to dine here. Third, you can visit the farmer’s market that is just in the same complex and buy fresh produce from the local farmers.
- Name: Oh!La!Ho Brewery & Restaurant
- Address: 3875, Tōmi-shi, Nagano, Japan
- Opening hour: Closed Wednesday, 11:30 am – 9 pm (Last orders 830 pm) Lunch (weekdays) 1130 am – 230 pm (weekend) 1130 am – 3 pm Dinner 530 pm – 9 pm
- Holiday: +81 268-64-0003
- Website: www.tomi-kosya.com
7. San Poo Loh Country Kitchen
If you are loyal to Italian cuisine, San Poo Loh Country Kitchen in Obuse is the place to be. You can enjoy the country-style ambience of this restaurant after visiting the Hokusai Museum. San Poo Loh Country Kitchen is located just across the museum, and they are famous for their chestnut confections and ice cream. Enjoy your pizza and pasta with the whole family or friends in this quaint restaurant and experience a little piece of Italy in Nagano.
- Name: San Poo Loh Country Kitchen
- Address: 500 Obuse Machi (Opposite the Hokusai Museum)
- Price: ¥ 300 – ¥ 4000
- Opening hour: Lunch, 11 am – 2 pm – 4 pm
- Phone: + 81 26-247-1113
- Website: www.obusedo.com
8. Mountain Q
Get a warm welcome at the Mountain Q when the staff greets you: ‘Irasshamaise’ and ‘Aloha’. This restaurant brings together the tropical Hawaii and the cold Nagano weather. Inside the restaurant, you will see magazines and picture frames about Hawaii. The music in the restaurant is all about Hawaiian sun and the pearly shells. Try the Loco Moco served on a wooden pineapple plate. It is a high calorie hamburger patty on rice and egg that will satisfy your hunger. The Mountain Burger is also a house specialty and a must-try.
- Name: Mountain Q
- Address: 1398-1 Kitaishidocho in Nagano City
- Price: ¥ 500 – ¥ 3000
- Access: n foot, from Nagano Station, head over to Chuo Dori and head up in the direction of Zenkoji about 350 meters or so.
- Opening hour: Daily 12 pm – 11 pm, closed 3 pm – 5 pm weekdays
- Phone: +81 26-226-6123
9. Cho Bali Bali
Cho Bali Bali is a restaurant nearby Nagano JR Station. Go here if you are hankering for the specialties in Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia. Try the Ayam Goreng, a signature dish of Cho Bali Bali that everybody talks about it. The restaurant may have limited dishes, but they are very affordable and delicious. The place is of modest size so it may get crowded during lunchtime. You might find yourself visiting this place more than once. That is how great the food is in Cho Bali Bali.
- Name: Cho Bali Bali
- Address: 1366 Minami Ishidocho, Nagano 380-0824, Nagano Prefecture
- Price: ¥ 300 – ¥ 1500
- Opening hour: Tue – Sun 12 pm – 3 pm, 6 pm – 12 am
- Phone: +81 26-229-5226
- Website: www.chobalibali.web.fc2.com
10. Arteria Bakery Restaurant
If you are looking for a breakfast nook with warm bread and hot coffee, the Arteria Bakery Restaurant is your place. The melon bread is a popular choice. Its shape is like that of a melon. The sweet fillings will satisfy your sweet tooth. Order a cup of coffee and have this breakfast treat in Arteria Bakery Restaurant.
- Name: Arteria Bakery Restaurant
- Address: 2-7 Higashigocho, Nagano 380-0832, Nagano Prefecture
- Price: ¥ 150 – ¥ 700
- Opening hour: Daily 8 am – 8 pm
- Phone: +81 26-217-2655
- Website: www.facebook.com/nagano.melonbun#_=_
For a place like Nagano, you will never run out of choices. When you want to get closer to the culture, visit the Japanese restaurants. If you need a break from the local food, you will also find a variety of intercontinental and western restaurants in the area. One thing for sure, you will never grow hungry in Nagano.
Have a good trip and travel!