Nagano is an inland prefecture situated in the central part of Honshu that spreads across the Central Highland, also known as the Roof of Japan. Because it is situated between the Kanto and Kansai regions, it developed while being influenced by the cultures of both eastern and western Japan. In the central part of the prefecture are mountains connected to three volcanic mountains, Mt. Nasu-yama, Mt. Fuji and Mt. Norikura-dake, and the 3,000-meter-class Japan Alps Mountains to the west. Nagano has both a high and steep mountain region, as well as a more moderate stretch of highlands. In summer it becomes a flower paradise with blooming alpine plants of various kinds. The natural beauty there is both grand and fragile. In the winter, ski resorts open in various locations throughout the prefecture, attracting many skiers.
The line of tourists visiting Nagano does not seem to end throughout the year. They visit scenic spots like Joshinestu Kogen National Park, which has Mt. Asama-yama and Mt. Yokote-yama, Minami Alps National Park, and Chubu Sangaku National Park. They also visit Karuizawa, which is one of the most famous summer resorts in Japan, and Zenko-ji Temple in Nagano City, the city which hosted the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, as well as the cities of Ueda and Matsumoto, which prospered as castle towns. Famous hot springs include the Nozawa-onsen and Shibu-onsen, known for the monkeys that are often seen bathing in the rock baths at Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park.