Where to go in the Japan Alps
List of regions
Slightly off the beaten track, Kanazawa is a small city close to the coast. It was for a time Japan's fourth largest city, known for rice production, weaving and gold leaf, but was somewhat left behind when industrialisation took over.
In the heart of the Hida Mountains lies the beautifully preserved market town of Takayama, a place of narrow streets and shops and teahouses with overhanging roofs and latticed windows.
Winter sports are a popular activity in the area around Nagano, a compact provincial city that hosted the Winter Olympics in 1998; an excellent public transport system and assorted Olympic buildings are the legacy of the Games.
As many as 200 snow monkeys live in the proximity of Yudanaka Onsen, one of a string of onsen villages in the mountainous north of Nagano Prefecture.
Mountaineering and hiking are among the activities on offer in Kamikochi National Park, an idyllic spot in the Japan Alps.