Area GuideChino City, Tateshina Kogen and Shirakaba Kogen
Chino City is a hidden, rural gem just two hours from Tokyo. The city is famous for its nearly 3,000-meter-tall mountains and National Treasure Jomon artifacts, but its best-kept secret is Yamaura Adventures, the hands-on activities that connect visitors and locals for an unforgettable cultural experience.
Chino City is located in the western foothills of the Yatsugatake Mountains just east of Lake Suwa. The area is known for its rich Jomon heritage, which continues to shape the local culture over 10,000 years later. If you’re looking for an immersive cultural experience off the beaten path, try cooking traditional dishes with village grannies, visiting a local producer, or an overnight farm stay.
The main resort areas of Tateshina, Kurumayama, and Lake Shirakaba are known for hiking and water sports in summer, and skiing and hot springs in winter. For easy access to the Yatsugatake Mountains, visit the Kita-Yatsugatake Ropeway which reaches heights of 2,237 meters. The Venus Line, a scenic driving route that connects these areas, offers gorgeous panoramic views year-round.
Chino is also home to Maemiya, one of the four shrines of Suwa Taisha Shrine, where locals worship the spirit of nature.
Map and Access
From Shinjuku Station, take the Limited Express Azusa to Chino Station (120-130 minutes).
From Chino Station, access Tateshina, the Kita-Yatsugatake Ropeway, and Lake Shirakaba by bus. To drive the Venus Line, visit one of the many rental car shops around the station.
To get around town, use the local rideshare service called Noraza. Reservations on the app are required, and one week’s notice is recommended. For areas out of range, try local buses or taxis.
Where to Stay
It offers historic hot spring ryokans with shuttles to Chino Station and easy access to the Kita-Yatsugatake Ropeway and Yokoya Gorge. You’ll also find family-owned lodges here.
Around Lake Shirakaba and Kurumayama
There are large resort hotels with shuttles to the station, as well as smaller, more intimate lodges
Around Chino Station
Choose from budget hotels, a budget ryokan, and a cozy guesthouse.