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Togakushi Shrine (ŒΛ‰B_ŽΠ, Togakushi Jinja) consists of a lower, a middle and an upper shrine in the forested mountains northwest of Nagano's city center. The shrines are related to an important story in Japanese mythology in which the Sun Goddess hid herself in a cave in present day Takachiho on Kyushu after her brother had misbehaved, thereby bringing darkness to the world.

In order to get the sunlight back, the other deities tried to lure the Sun Goddess out of the cave by performing spectacular dance performances in front of it. As the Sun Goddess took a peek out, one of the deities grabbed the cave's stone door and threw it away to prevent her from hiding again. The stone door flew all the way to Togakushi in Nagano Prefecture, which is also how the area got its name: Togakushi literally means "hiding door".

Today, the upper shrine worships the deity who grabbed and threw away the stone door, while the middle shrine enshrines the deity who organized the dance performances in front of the cave.

The shrines of Togakushi are connected both by roads and hiking trails up the mountain's forested slopes. Visitors would first arrive at the torii gate of the lower shrine, where a long flight of stairs leads to its praying hall. A two kilometer ascent from here takes you to the middle shrine, which stands at the top of a small town of shops and restaurants. The shrine features a praying hall with nice architecture, a small waterfall, and sacred trees which are over 800 years old.

The entrance to the upper shrine is a further two kilometers uphill from the middle shrine. From the parking lot and bus stop starts the two kilometer long approach to the shrine, which is lined by over 300 tall cryptomeria trees, passes the thatched-roof Zuishinmon Gate along the way, and ends with a series of stone steps. The shrine's main hall spectacularly stands in the steep mountainside of Mount Togakushi with the mountain peaks towering above.

An alternative trail to the upper shrine leads via Kagamiike ("Mirror Pond"), a serene pond which reflects the surrounding mountain landscape nicely. Note also that the Togakure Ninpo Museum is situated just next to the entrance to the upper shrine, while the Kids Ninja Village is close in proximity to the middle shrine, making interesting additions to the shrine visits.

Getting there and around

Take bus number 70 from Nagano Station in direction of Togakushi. Alight at Togakushi-Hokosha for the lower shrine (ŒΛ‰B•σŒυŽΠ, 55 minutes, 1250 yen one way), Togakushi-Chusha for the middle shrine (ŒΛ‰B’†ŽΠ, 65 minutes, 1350 yen one way) or Togakushi-Okushairiguchi for the upper shrine (ŒΛ‰B‰œŽΠ“όŒϋ, 70 minutes, 1450 yen one way). There is roughly one bus per hour. Discounted round trip tickets are available between Nagano and Togakushi-Hokosha (2200 yen) and between Nagano and Togakushi-Chusha (2400 yen).

In addition, the Togakushi Kogen Free Kippu travel ticket is available for 3200 yen and includes a) a round trip between central Nagano and the Togakushi area, b) free use of buses within Togakushi, and c) one additional bus ride between Nagano Station and Zenkoji. The Togakushi Kogen Free Kippu can be used over a period of up to five consecutive calendar days.

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Hours and Fees

Hours

Always open

Closed

No closing days

Admission

Free

Hotels around Nagano

Top rated in Nagano
Budget:
    • Shioriya
      Budget-friendly
      Shioriya offers accommodation in Nagano, 11 km from Zenkoji Temple. Popular points of interest around the property include Togakushi Shrine and Old Kawanakajima Battlefield. Nagano City Museum is 2 km away and Matsushiro Castle is 4 km from the guest house. All guest rooms in the guest house are fitted with a TV. Skiing is among the activities that guests can enjoy near Shioriya. The Sanada Treasures Museum is 4 km from the accommodation, while Mizuno Museum is 6.5 km from the property.
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    • 1166 Backpackers
      Budget-friendly
      Located in the city centre, 1166 Backpackers offers rental bicycles, free Wi-Fi and beds in shared dorm rooms, as well as private Japanese-style rooms. It features a free-use kitchen, a dining area and a launderette. Free morning coffee is available. Backpackers 1166 is around a 5-minute walk from Zenko-ji Temple and close to many shops, restaurants and cafes. A 24-hour convenience shop is a 5-minute walk away, while JR Nagano Station is a 7-minute drive or 18-minute walk. Togashi Ski Resort and Iitsuna Kogen Ski Resort are each a 40-minute drive. The hostel greets guests with a welcome drink, and offers concierge services and safety deposit of valuables. Facilities include lockers and a library. The shared kitchen is equipped with a microwave, a refrigerator and a small toaster oven. Guests sleep in a bunk bed in a shared dormitory room, equipped with a curtain and a private light. Private rooms have a tatami (woven-straw) floor and traditional futon bedding. All rooms provide personal safes and complimentary green tea. Toilets and bathrooms are shared. No meals are served.
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    • Oshi Ryokan
      Budget-friendly
      Situated just a 5-minute walk from historic Togakushi Shrine, Oshi Ryokan is traditional lodging accommodation in the peaceful mountain area, which used to cater for pilgrims. The main building is 250 years old with a thatched roof. Guests sleep in Japanese-style rooms located in annex buildings. Fitted with tatami (woven-straw) flooring and futon bedding, the rooms feature a flat-screen TV and a seating area with a low table. Bathroom is shared with other guests. While staying at Ryokan Oshi, guests can enjoy a range of activities like golfing and skiing. The property provides ski storage and ski equipment rentals. Luggage can be left at the front desk. JR Nagano Station is a 50-minute drive or bus ride away, and the Togakushi Hokousha Bus Stop is just a 1-minute walk from the property. Togakushi Ski Resort is a 15-minute away, while Nagano Country Club is within a 10-minute drive. Guests can savour homemade meals at the spacious dining room with a historic charm, located in the main building. Dinner features local speciality soba buckwheat noodles.
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    • Jizokan Matsuya Ryokan
      Mid-range
      Just 250 metres from Zenko-ji Temple, Matsuya Ryokan offers simple Japanese rooms with tatami-mat floors, a green-tea maker and an attached Western bathroom. The hotel features public baths and massage services. Guests at Jizokan Matsuya Ryokan stay in rooms with shoji paper screens and traditional futon bedding. All rooms are air-conditioned and include a TV and slippers. Zenko-ji-shita Subway Station is 600 metres away, and Shinano Art Museum is 650 metres from the ryokan. JR Nagano Train Station is 3 km away. A Japanese breakfast and a Japanese course dinner are served at the dining room or the guest room.
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    • Chisun Grand Nagano
      Mid-range
      A 5-minute walk from JR Nagano Train Station, Chisun Grand Nagano offers rooms with free WiFi access throughout the hotel. Guests can request relaxing massages for an extra cost and enjoy a Japanese-style breakfast featuring local white rice. A selection of free amenities in the lobby is offered. The air-conditioned rooms feature a flat-screen TV with video-on-demand features, a fridge and an electric kettle. Slippers and nightwear are provided for all guests, while the en suite bathroom comes with a hairdryer. All rooms come with a humidifier. Currency exchange and dry cleaning services are provided at the front desk. Laptop rentals are available as well. Private parking is available for an additional fee. Designated smoking area is available for guest's convenience. Located on the 12th floor, Asama restaurant serves a Japanese-style breakfast featuring local specialties. Guests can try grilled fish and miso soup. Refreshments are available at the ground floor lounge. Zenko-ji Temple is a 10-minute drive away. Nagano Grand Chisun is a 25-minute drive from Iizuna Kogen Ski Resort and a 1-hour drive from Snow Monkey Park. A convenience store is located a 1-minute walk away.
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    • Hotel Metropolitan Nagano
      Luxury
      Hotel Metropolitan Nagano features elegantly decorated rooms and a wide range of dining options, including a Japanese restaurant, a Chinese restaurant and a cafe. The hotel is conveniently located right next to the JR Nagano Train Station. All rooms feature carpeted floors, a seating area, and comes with a flat-screen TV, a desk and a wardrobe. There is a bath tub, a hairdryer and free toiletries in the en suite bathroom. Free WiFi is available throughout the property. Nagano Metropolitan Hotel provides luggage storage and dry cleaning services. A massage salon on the ground floor can provide guests with a vigorous massage. Zenko-ji temple, one of Japanfs National Treasures, is a 10-minute drive from the hotel. Shinano Art Museum and the Joyama Park are located within a 5-minute walk from the temple. The Iris cafe serves hearty breakfast buffet in the morning, while Shinano Japanese restaurant offers sushi and teppanyaki cuisines prepared right in front of the guests.
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    • Dormy Inn Nagano
      Mid-range
      Situated conveniently a minute's stroll away from JR Nagano Station, Dormy Inn Nagano features a 24-hour front desk and a public hot spring facility with an open-air bath and sauna. Free WiFi access is available throughout the entire property. Guest rooms are air-conditioned and equipped with a desk, refrigerator, an air-humidifier and an electric kettle. Rooms come with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels and personal lockers. Guests will find luggage storage service offered at the front desk. Trouser presses and ironing facilities can be provided free of charge upon request. Coin-operated laundry machines and drink vending machines are also available. A Japanese-style and Western breakfast buffet consisting of local specialities is on offer at the on-site restaurant. Matsumoto Airport is a 90-minute bus ride away from JR Nagano Station. Zenkoji Temple is 1.9 km from Dormy Inn Nagano, while Togakushi Shrine is 14 km from the property.
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    • Nagano Tokyu REI Hotel
      Mid-range
      Nagano Tokyu REI Hotel is located in Nagano, within 2.3 km of Zenkoji Temple and 25 km of Togakushi Shrine. Among the facilities of this property are a restaurant, a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space, along with free WiFi throughout the property. Local points of interest like Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum Higashiyama Kaii Gallery and Mizuno Museum are reachable within 2.6 km and 3.5 km, respectively. All units in the hotel are equipped with a kettle. At Nagano Tokyu REI Hotel, every room is equipped with air conditioning and a flat-screen TV. A buffet breakfast is available daily at the accommodation. Popular points of interest near Nagano Tokyu REI Hotel include Midori Nagano, J?yama-k?en and Patio Daimon. The nearest airport is Matsumoto Airport, 58 km from the hotel.
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    • Aun
      Budget-friendly
      Conveniently located a 5-minute walk from JR Nagano Station, AUN offers dormitory rooms with free WiFi access. There is also a shared kitchen equipped with a microwave, an electric kettle and kitchenware. Each bunk comes with curtains to secure privacy and bathroom facilities are shared with other guests. For your comfort, you will find free toiletries and a hairdryer. Togakushi Shrine is 14 km from AUN, while Midori Nagano is 300 metres away. Zenkoji Temple is 1.8 km away.
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    • Chuokan Shimizuya Ryokan
      Budget-friendly
      A 5-minute walk from Zenko-ji Temple, Japanese-style inn Chuokan Shimizuya Ryokan stands with a history of over 160 years. It features a public bath, massages and free Wi-Fi. Rooms have a traditional d?cor of tatami-mats and paper screens, with an LCD TV. Bathroom facilities are shared, and the public bath can be reserved for private use. Ryokan Shimizuya Chuokan offers coin-operated laundry facilities, and luggage storage is available. A PC in the lobby can be freely used to access the internet. Free parking is provided. In the dining room the Ryokan serves Japanese multi-course breakfasts and dinners. Chuokan Shimizuya Ryokan is a 10-minute bus ride from JR Nagano Station. It is a 13-minute walk from Nagano Prefectural Shinano Art Museum, and a 45-minute drive from Taio Temple.
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