Nagano is the capital and largest city of Nagano Prefecture, located in the Nagano Basin in the central Chūbu region of Japan. Nagano is categorized as a core city of Japan. Nagano City is the highest prefectural capital in Japan, with an altitude of 371.4 meters. The city is surrounded by mountains, near the confluence of the Chikuma River - the longest and widest river in Japan - and the Sai River. As of 1 June 2019, the city had an estimated population of 370,632 in 160,625 households, and a population density of 444 persons per km² The total area of the city is 834.81 square kilometres.
Nagano City, located in the former Shinano Province, developed from the Nara period as a temple town. The city of Nagano is home to Zenkō-ji, a 7th-century Buddhist temple that is listed as a Japanese national treasure. Zenkō-ji was established in its current location in 642 AD. The location of Zenkō-ji is approximately 2 kilometers from the present-day central Nagano Station. During the Sengoku Period, the Age of Warring States, Nagano was the site of a series of battles, the Battles of Kawanakajima, between 1553 and 1564.