Nagano Prefecture is the perfect destination for those traveling from the Eastern and Western regions of Japan. It is surrounded by an abundant 3,000 meters (1.86 miles) of mountains, plateaus, and nature. And did we mention the hot springs? This hot springs town has plenty of long-running lodgings where people can wear summer kimonos and enjoy the scenery from an outdoor bathing area. So here are our top recommendations for hot springs hotels and inns in Nagano, Japan. Check them out now!
When people think of a hot spring in Shinshu (another word for Nagano) where they can wear summer kimonos, the Shibu Hot Springs would be the first one to come to mind. The historical Kanaguya is a long-running, luxurious, Japanese-style inn famous for its hot springs. This 4-story wooden structure known as the Shogetsuro wing, along with its lights, is registered as a tangible cultural property of the country. Since it also inspired the bathhouse in the Japanese animated fantasy film “Spirited Away”, you’ll feel as if you are being taken into another world. This is perfect for those that who want an authentic cultural experience or some privacy.
Address: 2202 Hirao, Yamanouchi, Shimotakai District, Nagano Prefecture 381-0401, Japan
Legend has it that if you stay at the Shirahone Hot Springs for three days, you won’t catch a cold for three years. You can enjoy the Shirahone no Oyu Awanoyu, which is a famous outdoor hot spring. Ladies can enter the mixed outdoor bath while wrapped in bath towels. Alternatively, if you’d prefer to have some privacy, the indoor baths are also well-known for their fresh bubbling water. With 24 rooms available, you can enjoy a relaxing stay, not to mention that porridge cooked with water from Shirahone Hot Springs water is served for breakfast.
3. Hoshino Resort Kai Matsumoto
The Hoshino Resort Kai Matsumoto has a long recorded history of having shallower hot springs. Amongst its 26 rooms, 15 of them have outdoor baths that come in eight different variations. For guests who are seeking a luxurious stay, you can enjoy some local Shinshu Wine with traditional Japanese cuisine, and even watch an evening concert in the lobby.
Hoshino Resort Kai Matsumoto
Address: 1 Chome-31-1 Asamaonsen, Matsumoto, Nagano Prefecture 390-0303, Japan
If you ever visit the mountain village of Achi, you can stay at the Sekitaitei Ishida, home of the Hirugami Hot Springs. As you make your way through the entrance during springtime (from January to April), you can instantly find an incredible collection of 2,000 Hina dolls on the Noh Theater Stage. This rare gem has up to 16 guest rooms, a rental theater room, a library for reading, and a tearoom.
The Ryokan Sakaya is a top-of-the-line Japanese-style inn that is home to the Nozawa Hot Springs. The high-quality water is produced on site and can be used by anyone for a small fee. It has a stronger sulfur content than normal water found in the hot springs of public bathhouses. Enter the Taka no Yu, a large wooden outdoor structure with a vivid gray bathtub that provides warm temperatures, or rent your own bath. Lastly, you can enjoy local cuisine prepared by excellent chefs and some wine for dinner.
6. Minatoya Ryokan
In the heart of Nagano Prefecture, you can stay in the Minatoya Ryokan, which is recommended by the likes of cultural individuals such as Taro Okamoto. This Japanese-style inn is home to the Shimosuwa Hot Springs and is located in front of the gate of the Susa Taisha Shimosha Akimiya Shrine. According to ancient Japanese mythology, the water in the Shimosuwa Hot Springs is very pure because it is blessed by the gods in the shrine. Lastly, many people recommend it for Shinshu’s most famous food, horsemeat.
Address: Nagano Prefecture Suwa-gun Shimosuwa-cho Tachibancho 3532
7. Onjuku Kajika
The Onjuku Kajika is a Japanese-style inn, home to a hot spring of excellent quality, the Kuzu Hot Springs. In addition to the gorgeous scenery, it has a similar atmosphere to a French-style inn as it has a small art exhibit, like the ones held in the museum in Karuizawa. The best Japanese food from the western region of the country is served for dinner. Relax in an outdoor bath in the forest and breathe in the fragrance of the sulfur that comes from the source of the water.
Address: Omachi, Nagano Prefecture 2106, Japan
Even in a country where hot springs are a dime a dozen, green colored ones are pretty rare. The Kuma no Yu Hot Springs in the Kuma no Yu Hotel in Okushigagogen is one of them. The elegant indoor bath uses the best sulfur that Japan has to offer. In fact, Kuma no Yu Hotel has been in business since 1922, and has been a favorite spot for a good number of literary figures such as Akiko Yosa.
The Uematsu Inn at Bessho Hot Springs in Ueda City is one of the most significant hideouts of a famous samurai, Yukimura Sanada, during Japan’s medieval times. Due to its interesting history, the rooms in the inn follow a Yukimura Sanada theme. Traditional Japanese food is served for dinner, and the furnishings have a shape similar to old-style coins.
信州別所温泉 旅宿 上松や
Address: Besshoonsen 1628
Price: from 90 USD
Have you ever heard of Jigokudani Monkey Park in Nagano Prefecture where wild monkeys can enjoy a bath? This tourist destination is famous around the world not only for the appearance of monkeys, but also for its incredible scenery. The Jigokudani Monkey Park is right by the hot spring Korakuka, where regular folks can enjoy an outdoor bath. From the riverbank, you can spot the endangered species of monkeys as they bathe in Jigokudani Fountain’s geyser.
Jigokudani Onsen Korakukan
Address: Heion 6818-1
Price: from 266 USD
Pick a hot spring inn or hotel in Nagano!
The hot spring accommodations in Nagano have so much to offer. You can talk a walk around town in a summer kimono and wooden sandals, or enjoy a gorgeous view as you go hiking or skiing. With a variety of hot springs of different temperatures and sulfuric levels, you can nourish your skin by taking a dip in any one of these hot springs.
With only the best hot springs lodgings listed above, we are positive that whatever you pick, you are going to have a great time.
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