For Kenichiro Masuyama, who lives in Matsumoto City in central Japan’s scenic Nagano Prefecture, news that more foreign visitors than ever before are now coming to savor the region’s delights is hardly a surprise.

The prefecture is especially known for its highlands, and at 1,500 meters above sea level, Kamikochi has long been a starting point for ascents of the magnificent 3,000-meter peaks known as the Japan Alps. But as a magnet for tourists, it’s not only the mountains and boundless unspoiled nature that are the lure, because Nagano is rich in history and traditional culture, too.

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