Benches of Nagano: Chuo Street

Chuo-Dori, the Main Street of Nagano, runs north to Zenkoji temple from near JR Nagano Station.  This tour shows only the section north of Showa-Dori, where the vehicular road has been narrowed, and the pedestrian infrastructure has been upgraded.

This street is a quasi-S.L.O.W. street; it shares most of the characteristic physical qualities, but has traffic in both directions.  It has many parallels to State Street in Santa Barbara; one lane each direction, frequent mini-bus service, no on-street parking, plenty of trees, and mostly 2 story buildings.

The intersection of Chuo-Dori and Showa-Dori is landmarked by TOiGO, with SBC (Shin-etsu Broadcasting Co) & the city of Nagano’s life-long learning center over two floors of shops:

Toigo Mall

TOiGO is a 10 minute walk from JR Nagano or a 3 minute walk from Shiyakusho-mae subway station (

This photo tour covers the upgraded portion of Chuo-Dori, proceeding northwards from TOiGO towards Zenkoji.

Note the stone bollards, frequent trees, human-scale street lighting, facade-to-facade pavers, and #curbless design.

Scramble crossing at Showa-Dori (glass clad TOiGO buildings on east side):Scramble intersection at Chuo-Dori and Showa-Dori40 km/hr = 25 mph

7 benches in front of TOiGO West (more in TOiGO plaza):
A tree lined street with plenty of comfortable wooden benches and human scale wooden street-lamps in front of TOiGO West.

Two benches under shade umbrella:
South end 03 2 benches

Bus stop with 2 benches (note the wayfinding map in the background):
South end 04 bus stop with 2 benches and wayfinding

3 benches:
South end 06 3 benches

Bus stop with 2 benches:
South end 07 bus stop with 2 benches

3 benches:
South end 09 3 benches.png

4 benches:
South end 10 three and a half benches.png

bus stop with 2 benches:
South end 11 one and a half benches.png

3 benches:
South end 12 3 short benches.png

7 benches:
South end 14 7 benches

2 benches, back-to-back:
South end 15 2 benches

Umbrella tables outside “Matsuya” and  “go slow“:
South end 17 outdoor dining go slow.png

Bus stop with 3 benches:
South end 18 bus stop with 1 bench and 2 half benches.png

1 bench in front of shoe store:
South end 19 1 bench.png

2 benches in the shade (on a fairly wide #widewalk):
South end 20 2 benches.png

Umbrella table outside “World Trek Diner & Guesthouse“:
South end 21 outdoor dining WorldTrek guesthouse.png

Umbrella table outside the Gondo Shopping Arcade:
South end 22 outdoor dining Gondo arcade.png

Bus stop with 2 benches (note the red benches across the street):
South end 23 bus stop with two benches.png

Red benches in front of the Kitano Bungeiza (there are 4 on the west side, and 3 on the east side):
South end 24 red benches.png

Here begins a long bench-less section:
South end 25 longest benchless section.png

Past, Present, and Future seem to all co-exist:

“Japan, however, is like a huge spiral that spins constantly. The past is projected into the future, and history is created by layers. The past always remains visible next to the present. The notion of a trend is totally irrelevant as history is created every minute. Previous ideas don’t become irrelevant and out of date, but inspire future ones.”
~Nicolas Gwenael in Interior Design

South end 26 architecture.png

Great architecture & great variety:
South end 27 much Santa Barbara.png

More benches:
South end 28 benches again

2 metal benches:
South end 29 metal benches.png

Bus stop with 2 benches:
South end 30 bus stop 2 benches

Bus stop with 1 bench (and no roof!):
South end 31 bus stop with 1 bench.png

8 benches:
South end 32 8 benches.png

Scramble crossing (intersection of Chuo-Dori and National Freeway 406; 4 lanes, 31 mph).  This scramble crossing marks the end of the #curbless section.
South end 33 scramble

Umbrella tables on both sides:
South end 34 north of scramble.png

2 benches with 2 shade umbrellas:
South end 36 two benches with sunshade umbrellas.png

The end of the “Main Street” section of Chuo-Dori, with umbrella tables on both sides:
South end 37 the north end.png

Chuo-Dori continues as a car-free street to Zenkoji temple:
South end 38 Zenkoji Temple.png

70+ benches in just a 12 minute walk (900 meters ~ 3,000 feet):12 min 900 meter walk(Same 12 min walk shown at two different scales)map



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