Azumino (Azumino-shi) is a city located in Nagano Prefecture, Japan.
The city was founded on October 1, 2005, when the town of Akashina, from Higashichikuma District, and the towns of Hotaka and Toyoshina, and the villages of Horigane and Misato, from Minamiazumi District, merged to form a new city. The city's population is near 100,000 people and it is the 6th most populous in Nagano Prefecture.
Etymology of Azumino
Azumino is a combination of two words, "Azumi" and "no". "Azumi" comes from the Azumi people, who are said to have moved to the "no" (plain) in ancient times. The Azumi people originally lived in northern Kyushu, and were famed for their skills in fishing and navigation. "The Azumi people" can be translated as "the people who live on the sea." The reason why the seafaring people migrated to this mountainous region is a mystery.
Azumino, named after the plain in which it is located, lies between two mountain ranges to the west and east. The range of mountains on the western border is known as the Northern Alps (Hida Mountains) and is popular among hikers all over Japan. To the south is the city of Matsumoto, Nagano prefecture's second largest city. To the north lies the city of Omachi, as well as the village of Hakuba. Hakuba was the site of many of the ski events during the 1998 Winter Olympic Games. (This created a lot of traffic through the Azumino area, spurring a great deal of construction during that period.)