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About Iiyama City

Situated in the north of Nagano Prefecture, location of the 1998 Winter Olympics, Iiyama City is known for its untouched natural scenery.
The city has a rich food culture and beautiful natural landscapes, featuring the Chikuma river, Japan's longest river, and several mountain ranges surrounding the city. In winter, heavy snowfall and scenic ski resorts attract winter sports lovers.


Developed as a key transport hub in ancient times, Iiyama Castle was established by Uesugi Kenshin, one of the most famous warlords of Japan’s Warring States Period. The city flourished as a castle town with many temples and shops. Toson Shimazaki, a Meiji Period novelist, called the city "snow country's little Kyoto," and praised its beautiful scenery.

 

In Spring 2015, JR Iiyama station will open on the newly extended Hokuriku shinkansen (bullet train) line. Close proximity to cities like Tokyo and Kanazawa makes the city a great place for sightseeing, outdoor adventure, and a glimpse of traditional Japan.

 

 

Iiyama City Town Guide Infomation (PDF 1,000KB)

 

Iiyama City Town Guide Map(PDF 1,012KB)



Sightseeing

 

Mayumi Takahashi Museum of Doll Art

 

A local artist, Mayumi Takahashi's lifelike works are modeled on people and places in the city.
The museum displays about 100 dolls in each of its seasonal exhibits, which place the expressive dolls into classic scenes of everyday Japanese life.

Mayumi Takahashi Museum of Doll Art

 

Iiyama Castle Ruins Park

 

Just east of the city center, the Castle Ruins Park was once the site of a Warring States period castle build as a strategic fortress.
Currently maintained as a park,the site's history is preserved in the restoration castle gate, earthen fortifications, and stone walls.
In the spring, the spot is known for its beautiful cherry blossoms.

Iiyama Castle Ruins Park

 

Museum of Traditional Industry

 

This museum displays locally crafted lacquer altars and Uchiyama paper, both designated "traditional handicrafts" by the national government.
The museum offers a unique look into manufacturing techniques finely honed by Iiyama craftsmen.

Museum of Traditional Industry

 

Shojuan Temple

 

Originally built in 1666 by Doukyo Etan, a Rinzai Buddhist monk, and the site of his lifelong training and study.
The current temple was constructed in 1847, but original artifacts like the stone hand washing basin still remain.

Shojuan Temple

 

Buddhist Altar Street

 

Shops selling Iiyama handcrafted Buddhist altars line the downtown Atago-machi street.
The walkways on both sides are covered for 300 meters by a special sloping roof, called a "gangi," designed to shelter the shops from snowfall in winter.
Numerous temples and shrines nearby also give the street a quaint feeling. 

Buddhist Altar Street

 

 

Festivals

 

Iiyama Nanohana Flower Festival

 

Nanohana Park boasts gorgeous views of the Chikuma River backed by mountain ranges in the distance.
From late April to early May each year, the park is carpeted in bright yellow blossoms, making it a great time to enjoy the city's beautiful natural scenery.

Iiyama Nanohana Flower Festival

 

Chikuma River Fireworks Festival

 

Held on the banks of the Chikuma River, close to the downtown Chuobashi bridge, this August 14th fireworks festival coincides with the Japanese "obon" holiday. Brilliant fireworks light up the river and the night sky, making this event a sight to see!

Chikuma River Fireworks Festival

 

Iiyama Lantern Festival

 

Held in downtown Iiyama, the event features dance performances during the day, followed by a sea of softly lit lanterns in the evening, crafted from locally produced Uchiyama paper.

Iiyama Lantern Festival

 

Iiyama Snow Festival

 

The defining event of Iiyama's snowy winter season, the Iiyama Snow Festival is held in mid-February each year.
Huge snow sculptures tower over the main event area, with smaller sculptures lining the downtown city streets.
The event includes a sculpture contest and judging, plus snow tubing, ziplining, and other attractions.

Iiyama Snow Festival

 

Kamakura Igloo Festival

 

 This event is held the same weekend as the Snow Festival.
Try local specialty noroshi nabe (a hot pot dish with pork, mushrooms, and vegetables) in one of the specially constructed snow huts, or take part in one of the many snow themed events.
The evening also features an illumination and fireworks.

Kamakura Igloo Festival

 

 

Gourmet

 

Iiyama is known for the high quality and exquisite flavor of its produce, fruit, and rice.
With the help of local recipes passed down through generations, these ingredients are turned into mouth watering dishes like unagi (grilled eel), sushi, and traditional Iiyama foods.
These include Tomikura soba (locally-grown buckwheat noodles) and sasazushi (vinegared rice with miso-pickled radish and mountain vegetables, served on a bamboo leaf).

tomikurasoba sasazushi

 

Souvenir

 

Iiyama offers a wide variety of great souvenirs, from sake, soba noodles, and bamboo leaf sushi to pastries, pickles and miso.
With many delicious options to choose from, guests are assured nothing but the best.
Goods can be purchased online, or at the roadside stop Michi-no-Eki.

souvenir1 souvenir2 souvenir3


 

Shinshu-Iiyama Tourism Bureau

 
http://www.iiyama-ouendan.net/en/

 

For more information about tourism in Iiyama, please visit.

 

Tel 0269-62-3133(8:30am ~ 5:15pm)
1110-1,Iiyama,Iiyama City,Nagano Pref.389-2292