Here in Singapore, it almost seems like we have a fetish for all things Japan. Each April sees pretty much the entirety of locals heading over to the land of the rising sun to watch the cherry blossoms, and throngs of Japanese restaurants open island-wide every month. Recently, we were invited to a sneak-peek screening of NHK WORLD TV’s ‘A Peak at Nagano‘ series at the Japan Rail Cafe, where we were introduced to the channel’s latest programming.

For the unfamiliar, NHK WORLD TV is a round-the-clock channel from Japan whose coverage runs the gamut of current events and business to arts, culture, and travel. The best part is: all shows are in English, so even those who do not understand the Japanese language (like us) can embrace them.

Speaking of Nagano Prefecture, it is a mountainous region with three volcanic mountains and the Japan Alps Mountains to the west. In winter, ski resorts open in various hot spots, and by summer it is a flower paradise, with blooming plants of a great number of varieties. Throughout the year, you can visit scenic spots like the Joshinestu Kogen National Park, Minami Alps National Park, and also Karuizawa, one of Japan’s most famous summer resorts. Famous hot springs include the Nozawa-onsen and Shibu-onsen, known for having monkeys bathing in the rock baths. Of course, you’d learn all this and more if you watch these programmes on NHK World TV.

Nagano Alpine Adventure

Did you know that Nagano Prefecture is home to 3,000-meter-class peaks? As such, many tourists visit the region for its breathtaking vista of the Japanese Alps, and some have even made it their home. Enter Ashish and Cristina (from India and Italy respectively), two foreigners who have lived Nagano for several years and have now been selected as hosts for Nagano Alpine Adventure. They will show you what Nagano has to offer, from bicycles tours through lush paddy fields in Azumino City to exploring local delicacies such as soba (buckwheat noodles).

Watch it here.

Journeys in Japan

In Journeys in Japan, the entire length of the country is travelled by English-speaking visitors as they explore the local culture, meet friendly residents, and uncover plenty of tips and nuggets of information rarely found in guidebooks. In its Nagano feature, Sabrina Sayin visits the town of Obuse to take part in its iconic Mini Marathon, where runners in fancy costumes run to enjoy the hospitality of the residential areas and surrounding countryside, as well as visit a temple decorated with works by the famous artist Katsushika Hokusai!

Watch it here.

DESIGN TALKS plus

Let’s face it: we are all suckers for Japanese designs and aesthetics (Muji, anyone?) DESIGN TALKS plus explores these very topics, be it traditional crafts, fashion, everyday items, and even cutting-edge technology – and in its Nagano episode, presenters Andy and Shaula explore the prefecture’s famous crafts and manufacturing community, and visit the inaugural Japan Alps Art Festival. See for yourself how art uncovers the beauty of a region.

Watch it here.

CYCLE AROUND JAPAN

CYCLE AROUND JAPAN proposes a new way to journey across Japan, providing tons of useful information on seeing the country on a bike. In its Nagano feature, Australian Paul Salisbury takes on the mighty challenge of a staggering 2000-metre peak, taking him through the Japan Alps mountain pass while experiencing traditions such as the harvesting of wasabi plants and the making of baskets from wild bamboo in a 300km ride.

Watch it here.

Japan Railway Journal

In the Nagano episode of Japan Railway Journal, take a look at JR East’s newest tourist train, the HIGH RAIL 1375, which launched just two months back. Running through the mountains of Nagano and Yamanashi Prefectures, it takes an in-depth look at its developments, and how it is revitalising the local area of beautiful Nagano!

While this feature episode on Nagano is no longer available on VOD, you can still watch the other episodes of this programme here.

Tune in anywhere, anytime on any device

NHK WORLD TV is available to watch via cable (Singtel TV – CH: 157, Starhub – CH: 812), online, and through the free mobile app. In fact, news and several programmes are streamed live 24 hours a day, with most of the above available free or on-demand for a limited period of time. For programme schedules, click here , or see here for more details on playback.

This post is sponsored by NHK WORLD.