Nagano is something like Chichibu, except it's mountains are far more imposing, it doesn't have nearly as many old statues and temples scattered about, and it's far enough away from Tokyo to have warranted the development of its own - nicer cities.
Because it has its own urban centers, the young people have less reason to move away and never come back (as in Chichibu).
If you go there in the fall for any length of time, you'll find yourself on the receiving end of many many apples. If you go cycling + don't head uphill, you will probably spend hours looking at apple orchards.
I lived in Suzaka - the old capital of the prefecture, for half a year, then moved to Komoro - a city which may have fallen into horrible disrepair when they moved the Shinkansen Train line out of the city, ...or perhaps it was always an ugly dump..
Towel (as in, "turned in")