Situated among the picturesque valleys of central Honshu's famous Alps region, Azumino boasts a unique blend of culture, history and natural beauty.
36.340097137.8823661Azumino Tourist Information Center (安曇野市観光情報センター), Hotaka 5948-3 (Next to the Hotaka railway station on the north side of the square), ☎ +81 26-382-9363. Apr-Nov 9AM-5PM, Dec-Mar 10AM-4PM. Closed during New Year Holidays. Get a number of useful English brochures for Azumino and the larger region.
From Tokyo: Take the JR Chuo East line from Shinjuku to Matsumoto, then the JR Oito line to Hotaka or the JR Shinonoi line to Akashina (3 hrs, ¥6,620 unreserved seat). Alternately, take the Nagano Shinkansen to Nagano, JR Shinonoi line to Akashina (2 hrs 30 mins, ¥9,390 unreserved seat).
From Nagoya: Take the JR Chuo West line to Matusmoto, then the JR Oito line to Hotaka (2 hrs 15 minutes, ¥5,670 unreserved seat).
From Nagano: Take the Shinonoi line from Nagano station to Akashina.
36.33451944137.910588891Daio Wasabi Farm and Water Mills (大王わさび農場と水車小屋), Hotaka 3640 (Turn west off route 147 opposite the Honda dealer and follow the road until you reach the farm), ☎ +81 263-82-2118. Apr-Oct 8:45AM-5:30PM, Nov-Mar 9AM-4:30PM. Founded in 1915 and known as the largest wasabi farm in Japan, with a long history and a picturesque setting. The water mills next to the farm can be viewed by taking one of the special raft tours that are available in spring and summer. Activities include make your own wasabi pickle for ¥1000.
36.33930137.894092Todoriki Residence (等々力家), Hotaka Todoriki 2945 (Go south on route 147 from the Hotaka Station intersection. Take the first on the left. The residence is about 400m along, on the right.), ☎ +81 263-82-2889. Apr-Nov 9AM-4PM. A hunting lodge used by a local lord in the Edo Period. ¥300.
36.3257492137.904933Azumino-no-sato (安曇野の里), Hotaka 6780 (Go west on route 30 from the Hakuyacho intersection for about 800m then turn left.), ☎ +81 263-72-8568. Various opening hours. A cluster of various local cultural establishments including glasswork, photography, a cafe, a soba restaurant and vegetable market.
36.3386908137.88415054Hotaka Shrine (穂高神社), Hotaka 6079 (Walk straight out of the railway station and down the street for about 100m. Look for the large torii gate on the right), ☎ +81 26-382-2003. 9AM-4:30PM for prayers. The god Hokatami-no-Mikoto, the guardian deity of the region, is worshipped here. If you think you have seen plenty of shrines in Japan, this one will still surprise you with its main shrine building which is at least 100m long. Festivals include The Obisha (bow and arrow) Festival on March 17, and the Festival of Floats on the 26th (evening) and 27th September. Hokatami-no-Mikato is famous as the guardian deity of industries and traffic safety on land and sea. You can buy a prayer charm for ¥3000 (motocycles), ¥4000-5000 (regular cars) or ¥6000 (large vehicles).
36.3437938137.88483041Maruyama Confectionary (丸山菓子舗), Hotaka 4357 (10 minutes walk from Hotaka Station), ☎ +81 263-82-2203. 8:30AM-7:30PM. Japanese sweets made from local apples, chestnuts, walnuts and so on.
36.2758165137.87912952Kaiundo Sweets (開運堂), Misatoyutaka 6956 (On route 321, about 400m south of the Sumiyoshi intersection), ☎ +81 263-76-5060. 9AM-6PM. Japanese and Western sweets
36.3444948137.88611291Tsuki-no-sakana (月の魚), Hotaka 4747-1 (On Route 147, one block south of the intersection with route 317), ☎ +81 263-84-0787. M-Sa 11:30AM-2PM, 5PM-10PM. Izakaya serving sushi and soba. Try the Azumino sushi roll with Shinshu salmon and mountain potatoes
36.3777025137.86086232Stagione (スタギオーネ), Hotaka Ariake 5280-4 (Off route 147, about 600m east of the Sumiyoshi intersection), ☎ +81 263-83-7464. Tu-Su 11:30AM-2PM, 6PM-8PM. Closed 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. Italian cuisine with a view of the Alps.
36.3480258137.8358721Pension Mapleleaf (ペンションメープルリーフ), Hotaka Ariake 7717 (From Hotaka station, go west on route 308, cross route 25, and continue for another 300m.), ☎ +81 263-83-3883. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: 10AM. A boutique hotel built in Tudor style, with twin rooms, onsen and English speaking staff. From ¥8,400 per person with two meals.