Nightlife in Nagano CityArea Guide
The capital of Nagano Prefecture is a mellow city both day and night. Wandering its central area, a calm feeling takes over and is the local’s appreciation for a slower pace of life that comes to light. With this mood, travelers might think there’s not much happening at night but if you take a stroll around Gondo Station and the streets around Nakano Station, the city’s afterhours character is there and ready to be experienced.
To get started head to Chuo Dori, in the heart of the city. Nagano is a charming city of creative types and one way to get a glimpse of this is through the wooden lanterns adorning each side of the street. These 48 wooden lanterns which depict the 48 prayers of Amida Buddha, and although they can also be seen during the day, the stories come alive at night when the lanterns are lit up. As you head to Nagano Gondo shotengai for a drink and a bite to eat, you can start the night out admiring these unique works of art.
After the free lantern art exhibition, continue the walk down to the Nagano Gondo shotengai. This is one of the popular after work and weekend hangouts in the city, and finding an interesting izakaya or bar here is a safe bet. For a tasty pint of japanese draft beer to the tune of live music, the spot to hit here is Beer Hall Topi, or “Bia Horu Topi” in case asking for directions is necessary. The menu is filled with pub fare and the beer on tab includes Sapporo, Yebisu, and other foreign top brands. Most of the live shows are free so you can save a few yen to spend later in the night. Those looking for the izakaya atmosphere don’t need to go far either; Nihonmatsu Izakaya is a couple of buildings away and perfect for a glass of sake, local soba, and mouthwatering gyoza tebasaki (chicken wings).
Top image: Nightlife in Nagano City