Sometimes you're just tired of going far; you want to go UP. Well, Nagano is happy to oblige. It's a lot easier to introduce Nagano since the 1998 Winter Olympics; reporter after reporter did stories about the quaint local customs, the beautiful scenery and the monkeys who bathe in the "onsen" (hot springs). To anyone who's spent any time at all in Japan, the customs are hardly quaint, but the views ARE lovely - and the monkey onsen is actually on this route. So come along and test your lungs - I believe only Norikura and the roads up Fuji are higher, and the latter two roads are reportedly dry, desolate rides up a barren crater that looks a lot better from a distance. Nagano will give you much more scenery for every push of the pedal.

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