▶︎ YUDANAKA SHIBU Onsen-kyo
￼￼￼Taking a Dip, Snow Monkey Style
Not far from Shiga Kogen is the Yudanaka Shibu Onsen-kyo. This hot spring destination is formed by nine different hot springs in the Yokoyu River and Yamase River basin in Yamanouchi Town in Shimotakai- gun, Nagano Prefecture. A range of accommodation is on offer, from large ryokans and the latest modern hotels to traditional wooden-style ryokans, and the area plays host to visitors all year round. The hot springs work together on initiatives such as a hot spring touring pass that allows you to enter a selection of public bathing areas throughout your stay, and summer festivals lasting over a month. The town in the hot springs is also home to many foot spas that allow even those not staying at accommodation to enjoy the hot water.
©Nagano Prefecture ©JNTO
A highland area ranging 1,300m to 1,600m above sea level in height and surrounded by even taller mountains such as Mt. Higashidate and Mt. Yokote. Approximately 20 minutes by car from Yudanaka Onsen-kyo, the area is visited by many after a trip to the hot springs to see the lake here and the alpine vegetation. Take a boat ride on Lake Biwa or Lake Maru, or a gondola lift from Hoppo Hot Springs to the peaks of Mt. Higashidate at 1,994m above sea level.
Yudanaka Early Morning Markets
Every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday from 6:30 a.m., the area in front of the Nagano Electric Railway Yudanaka Station transforms into an early morning market where more than 20 stalls sell fruit and vegetables freshly picked that morning. There are fresh vegetables and mountain vegetables, peaches, kyoho grapes, apples, and other seasonal produce, handmade pickles and oyaki dumplings, all at market prices. Talking and interacting with the local stall owners is sure to become a fond memory of your stay.
Shibu Hot Spring Public Bathing Area Tours
©Yamanouchi Town ©JNTO
With more than 1,300 years of history, the public bathing areas of Shibu Hot Springs have been carefully tended to over the years by the local village people. While public baths are usually only open to local residents, those who stay at accommodation can enter the bathing areas for free by borrowing the wooden keys (hot spring touring passes) at their place of stay. Each of the nine outdoor baths possesses its own special properties.
Jigokudani Yaen Koen
©Yamanouchi Town ©JNTO
One of the hot springs in Yudanaka Shibu Onsen-kyo, Jigokudani Hot Springs is home the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park that cares for wild Japanese monkeys (Macaca fuscata) and allows visitors to come and see them as well. The sight of the monkeys taking a bath in the hot springs here in winter is renowned overseas as a hot tourist attraction.
©Yamanouchi Nagano Prefecture
Orchards in Kitashiga Kogen offer the chance to try picking local specialties such as cherries, blueberries, grapes, apples, and more. The melted waters of the snow, high in minerals, combine with the large difference in temperature between the daytime and nighttime to create produce that is strong in flavor and sweet to the taste.