The city was founded on July 1, 1954.
The city of Nakano is supported largely by its vast agricultural industry. Nakano boasts high quality fruits and vegetables, including Fuji apples, Kyohō grapes, peaches, pears, rice, asparagus, and mushrooms. The city is also well known for its roses. The biannual rose festival displays thousands of rose plants, and attracts tourists from all over Japan.
Located in the northern region of Nagano prefecture, the weather in Nakano varies greatly over the seasons. Summers are hot and humid with temperatures often over 30 degrees Celsius, while winters are cold and snowy with temperatures around -10 degrees Celsius. In spring, Nakano is full of beautiful cherry and rape blossoms. In fall, the hills are awash in the beautiful colours of autumn leaves.
Nakano city has experienced significant growth since the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics. Located near many popular ski areas, Nakano's economy is augmented by the ski-tourism industry.
There are three high schools, four junior high schools, and eleven elementary schools in Nakano. The largest junior high school is Nanguu JHS. The largest elementary school is Nakano ES.
In 2007, Nakano became home to the Shinano Grand Serows, a baseball team in the Japanese BC League (Baseball Challenge League).