Shinano bordered on Echigo, Etchū, Hida, Kai, Kōzuke, Mikawa, Mino, Musashi, Suruga, and Tōtōmi Provinces. The ancient capital was located near modern-day Matsumoto, which became an important city of the province.
In the Sengoku period, Shinano Province was often split among fiefs and castle towns developed, including Komoro, Ina, and Ueda. Shinano was one of the major centers of Takeda Shingen's power during his wars with Uesugi Kenshin and others.
In 1871, during the Meiji period, with the abolition of the han system and the establishment of prefectures (Haihan Chiken) after the Meiji Restoration, Shinano Province was administratively separated in 1871 into Nagano and Chikuma prefectures. These two tentative governmental and territorial units were reconfigured together again in 1876. This became the modern prefecture of Nagano, which remains substantially unchanged from that time.
Shinano Province contained the following districts:
- Nagano Prefecture
- Azumi District (安曇郡)
- Chiisagata District (小県郡)
- Chikuma District (筑摩郡)
- Hanishina District (埴科郡)
- Minochi District (水内郡)
- Saku District (佐久郡)
- Sarashina District (更級郡) – dissolved
- Takai District (高井郡)
- Former Suwa Province districts
- Nussbaum, Louis-Frédéric and Käthe Roth. (2005). Japan encyclopedia. Cambridge: Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-01753-5; OCLC 58053128.
- Hiroaki Sato (2008). Japanese women poets: an anthology. M.E. Sharpe, Inc.CS1 maint: Uses authors parameter (link)
- Titsingh, Isaac. (1834). Annales des empereurs du Japon (Nihon Ōdai Ichiran). Paris: Royal Asiatic Society, Oriental Translation Fund of Great Britain and Ireland. OCLC 5850691.