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Lake Suwa

Lake Suwa-ko is situated almost right in the center of Nagano.

Lake Suwa

Lake Suwa-ko is situated almost right in the center of Nagano. Sitting at an altitude of 759 meters, it is the largest lake in the prefecture with a circumference of 15.9 kilometers. One of Japan's largest firework festivals is held at the lake in summer, as well as the Summer Night Festival, which includes fireworks displays every night during the festival period. While fireworks add charm to the lake in summer, a special natural phenomenon called "Omiwatari" (the god's passage) does so in winter. After a period of severe cold the lake surface freezes completely. Then, during the night when the temperature drops even further, the ice suddenly cracks, making a loud noise and the cracked and frozen lake surface is thrust up in the shape of mountain.

At Lake Suwa-ko Geyser Center, you can enjoy the sight of a dynamic geyser and the "Nanatsu-gama," or the spot where seven hot springs gush. Attached to the center is a footbath called "Kohan Koen Ashi-yu," where you can immerse your feet in the Kami-Suwa- onsen Hot Spring waters and relieve the weariness of your travels while viewing Lake Suwa-ko and the mountains of the Northern Alps.

Suwa- taisha Shrine, which consists of four shrines located to the south and north of Lake Suwa-ko, is one of the oldest shrines in Japan, and has more than 10,000 branches across the country. The shrine was admired by many notable warlords, such as Takeda Shingen and Tokugawa Ieyasu. Its Onbashira-matsuri Festival is a traditional event during which a huge fir tree (measuring 1 meter in diameter, 17 meters in length, and weighing 12 tons) is cut down on the mountain and people drag it into the town to set it up within the shrine grounds.