Ueda was once a postal town on the Hokkoku Kaido, a secondary samurai route leading to Nagano's Zenko-ji Temple. Today it's one of the larger cities in Nagano prefecture, well-loved for its soba noodles.
In the centre of town is a large park containing the ruins of Ueda Castle - originally built in 1583 by the samurai, Sanada Masayuki. In its prime the castle saw two attacks by the Tokugawa Army. Today the castle ruins are best loved as a prime cherry blossom picnic spot in mid-April. Nearby Yanagi-Machi is a pretty Edo-era street with many well preserved buildings.
Ueda is also home to Bessho Onsen, Nagano's oldest hot spring resort. As well as several public bathhouses, the area in had several important temples including Kitamuki Kannon Temple which faces north towards Zenko-ji.