Monday, September 21, 2009



Today we will visit Nagano, Japan - the host of 1998 Olympics. The hockey tournament, even though frustrated for USA and Canada teams, was absolutely unique. It was first time when the NHL players were fully permitted to participated in the main World sport event by having the special break which stopped the NHL schedule during this competition.
All top players from all countries were able to take part representing their countries. Terrific team from Czech Republic went all the way up to gold having Canada beaten at the semis thanks to penalty shorts then Russia in the finals.

I happened beeen to Prague the next summer. The whole city was still decorated with posters and banners honored the Czech team and the sight like "Hasek to President!" were everywhere. So, Enjoy this trip to Nagano!


Nagano, the capital city of Nagano Prefecture, is located in the northern part of the prefecture near the confluence of the Chikuma and the Sai rivers, on the main Japanese island of Honshū.

Nagano is most famous for Zenkō-ji, a 7th century Buddhist temple which overlooks the city. A million tourists visit Nagano annually, the gateway to a variety of sightseeing spots. Nagano was originally a small town in Kamiminochi District built around the hilltop temple, the largest wooden building in eastern Japan, but the city now encompasses locations that were within Sarashina, Hanishina, and Kamitakai districts as well.

The historic site of the Battles of Kawanakajima has been retained as parkland, with a municipal museum of the history of the Zenkoji plain.

Matsushiro, the former castle town of the Sanada clan, is located in the southern part of the city. The town retains an historical atmosphere, preserving many old samurai residences, temples, and gardens of the feudal period, including the remains of the castle and mansion of feudal lord Sanada Jumangoku.

Sporting venues built for the Winter Olympics include the M-Wave speed-skating arena (with the world's largest wooden suspension roof), Big Hat arena, and the Aqua Wing Arena.

To north of the city is the village of Iizuna. A popular destination in both summer and winter, it includes an Olympic ski resort, campsite, onsen, 10 ponds, and a mountain slide ride.

Northeast of the city is Japan's largest ski resort, Shiga Kogen, with the nearby Jigokudani Monkey Park, famous for the wild Japanese Snow Monkeys often found bathing in its hot springs.

Just south of the downtown core, in Shinonoi, Mt. Chausu hosts the Nagano Chausuyama Zoo, an outdoor dinosaur park, botanical garden, and a museum of natural history.

1998 Winter Olympics

In 1998, Nagano hosted the XVIII Olympic Winter Games, the second Winter Olympics ever held in Japan and the first since 1972 when the Winter Games were held in Sapporo, also the site of the first Winter Olympics ever held in Asia.