History and CultureFarming and Everyday life
Explore a traditional village together with a local guide

Rural Village Walking Tour

Price: JPY 4,400/person Duration: 2 hr


Discover the nostalgic beauty of a village in the mountains of Nagano

Once upon a time, there was a tiny village standing in the shadow of the Yatsugatake Mountains. Under the sunny blue sky, elderly couples wearing large rice straw hats tended to their vegetables while black and red carp swam lazily in their ponds.

That’s how I imagine a story set here would begin.
Sasahara village doesn’t actually appear in any storybook. Still, it could very well do, as this peaceful hamlet with about 200 inhabitants looks straight out of an old Japanese tale.

Let’s take a walk around together with a local grandpa. It will be like a treasure hunt, exploring the narrow winding alleys in search of curious stairs and funny plaster art. The guide will take you to small shrines where the locals worship nature and lead you through delightful Japanese gardens decorated with well-trimmed pine and yew trees. Some villagers may invite you inside their houses, built centuries ago by skillful artisans.

He will also show you the traditional take on street art, relief drawings made of plaster that decorate the antique earthen warehouses.

This rural village is not a tourist spot; it’s a real village brimming with life. During the tour, you’ll not visit museums or historical sites. Instead, you will have the chance to peek into the rural area's everyday life and culture, feeling nostalgia for an old Japan that you have never seen.

Preserving the history and culture of Sasahara

Located in the foothills of the Yatsugatake Mountains at an altitude of 1,100 meters, Sasahara is a small village with a population of 262 people.

The village was founded over 370 years ago by nine samurai families, and is known for its Jomon roots, antique earthen warehouses, and Edo period agricultural waterway that is still in use today. During the sunny winters, temperatures drop to -20°C, the perfect condition to make naturally freeze-dried foods.

Sasahara, like many other villages in Japan, has a declining birthrate and an aging population, but the grannies and grandpas who live there are full of energy. You'll see grannies zipping around the village in their kei-trucks, tending to their bountiful fields, and teaching young people how to cook traditional dishes. Some grandpas study the village to find the origins of its earthen warehouses and plaster art, and sort through archives in the community center. These grannies and grandpas are full of curiosity and love to talk. They welcome visitors with a smile, as if they were relatives from their hometown.

The people of Sasahara have launched a project – the Sasahara Tourism Council – to preserve their beloved village for the future. They meet daily to discuss how best to promote this hidden gem of a village.

Through this tour, Take-san of the Sasahara Tourism Council will show you the nostalgic scenery, deep history, and the wonderful people of Sasahara.

Shigemi Takeyasu "Take-san"

Walking Tour Guide


Period All year *Please be aware that from December to March, it is very cold outside
Due Date 7 days before the tour
Duration 2 hr
No. of participants Min. 2 persons / Max. 10 persons
*It may be possible to organize the tour for bigger groups. Please consult our team.
Price / person Adult (ages 12+):
With 2 participants: JPY 4,400/person
With 3 participants: JPY 3,667/person
With 4 participants: JPY 3,300/person
With 5 participants: JPY 3,080/person

Children (ages 0-11):

Children must be accompanied by an adult.

(All prices tax incl.)
Included in the price English-speaking guide, insurance
Payment method Credit card
Cancellation policy 7 days prior: 30% of total amount
3 days prior: 50% of total amount
1 day prior: 70% of total amount
Day of activity: 100% of total amount
Access 20 min by car from JR Chino Station