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Traditional Koishiya Ryokan In Shibu Onsen, Yamanouchi, Japan

Traditional Koishiya Ryokan In Shibu Onsen, Yamanouchi, Japan

In the sleepy mountain town of Shibu Onsen, life slows down. Tourists and townspeople tiptoe gently through town in their wobbling wooden sandals; cozy pubs peep out between boarded storefronts and private bathhouses; and, in the winter months, the steam from natural hot springs rises from the curbsides into the still, cool air. In the midst of it all, the Koishiya Ryokan, a traditional Japanese-style hotel, provides a quiet, friendly, and peaceful place to rest your head.

The nicest owners ensure a smooth stay

Koishiya's cozy cafe

From the moment visitors arrive at Yudanaka Station, commonly via the local train from Nagano, Koishiya Ryokan’s owners and staff are ready to help. At no extra charge, someone from Koishiya will pick you up from the train station and drive you through narrow, winding roads to the Ryokan’s entrance. Depending on the time of day, they’ll also make sure your Shibu Onsen experience begins promptly. Whether it’s driving visitors to the nearby Snow Monkey Park, preparing a delicious home-cooked meal, or pointing out a beautiful walking route through town, the owner and the other staff members at Koishiya Ryokan make exploration easy.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nagano (prefecture) and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nagano (prefecture)

Stunning setting, charming house

Tatami room at Koishiya

Upon entering Koishiya Ryokan, guests are greeted by a hum of activity. An espresso machine whirs quietly as the sound of noodles frying trickles from the kitchen. Light wood walls lend an air of relaxation to the cozy space; everything in Koishiya is bright, calm, and wholly unimposing. An old, creaky stairway leads to the hallways of traditional Ryokan rooms, where, upon first sight, it becomes clear that Koishiya promises an enchanting night’s sleep. Each tatami, or mat, room comes with abundant bedding, with which guests build their own beds. With a mattress, quilt, sheets, and pillow, there’s no need for a fancy hotel bed. The communal bathrooms on the second and third floors are clean, and heated toilet seats guarantee comfort in the deepest depths of winter. At the room’s rear, a small sitting room overlooks the tree-lined streets of Shibu Onsen; however, be sure to leave the windows shut, as snow monkeys have been known to sneak into Koishiya!

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nagano (prefecture) and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nagano (prefecture)

Nearby attractions allow for adventuring and relaxing

Shibu Onsen at golden hour

No matter what kind of vacation one’s seeking, the area around Koishiya Ryokan offers plenty to do. For nature lovers, the options are abundant, from skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer to visiting the whimsical snow monkeys shortly up the road. In the winter months, the ski slopes are less than an hour away, with the resort shuttle bus stopping just around the corner from Koishiya. Feeling lazy? In Shibu Onsen, that’s not a problem. The streets of Shibu Onsen are lined with onsens, or bathhouses containing fresh hot spring water. It’s common for visitors and locals to hit up an onsen before dining out, which means restaurants and pubs in town are filled with people in traditional colorful onsen robes. (In fact, every night at Koishiya includes a free trip to one of the town’s oldest onsens, located in a beautiful old Ryokan down the road. If this isn’t the perfect activity to get ready for bed, I don’t know what is!)

There are also a ton of wonderful restaurants near Koishiya, towards which the hotel’s staffers will gladly direct guests. From udon and soba noodles to fried and grilled gastropub delights, the streets of Shibu Onsen are brimming with tasty local cuisine. If guests don’t feel like venturing out; however, Koishiya’s kitchen churns out an assortment of Japanese, western, and creative fusion dishes, and is certainly worth a meal or two.

See our full list of recommended Hotels in Nagano (prefecture) and also compare the prices with airbnbs in Nagano (prefecture)

A perfect stay in a perfect Japanese mountain town

For relaxing, rejuvenating, exploring, adventuring, eating, and generally enjoying life, Koishiya Ryokan is the place to be. With a charming location and lovely facilities, nightly trips to a famous, extravagant onsen, a welcoming staff that’ll chaperone guests around town, and clientele from all over the world (depicted colorfully on a huge map that adorns Koishiya’s restaurant’s wall), a stay at Ryokan is truly one-of-a-kind.

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Noey has lived all over the world, from San Francisco to New York, Hanoi to Bangkok, and is currently pursuing an MBA in Nashville, Tennessee. Noey's ideal vacation consists of a bit of beach, a...Read more

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