Yudanaka Shibu Onsen

Peaceful place in the mountains to relax and rejuvenate

By Elena Lisina    - 2 min read

Onsen was introduced to me in Nagano and I think it’s an important element of Japanese culture. When planning my visit to Japan, I first looked for a place to relax after enduring such hard and intensive work. The best remedy for that was a calm place surrounded by nature. That place must have some amusement as well, so my choice was Yudanaka Shibu Onsen.

Shibu Onsen is a historic hot spring town, which has retained a traditional atmosphere. It’s nestled in a small valley among the mountains and spread out on a gentle slope beside the Yokoyugawa River. Throughout its long history, the area has been visited for its onsen by a lot of people, including priests, samurai and poets. Some of the ryokans that line Shibu's narrow streets date back over 400 years. Guests of the ryokan usually walk around town in the traditional onsen yukata robes and geta sandals.

I went to Yudanaka Shibu Onsen for two reasons. The first reason – I wanted to spend some time in that old quiet place and to soak in an onsen. I stayed in a wonderful ryokan and really enjoyed myself. The air in the mountains was very refreshing, so I walked around a lot. I met just a few people and thought that maybe onsen was more popular during the colder season.

The second reason to come to Yudanaka - I wanted to visit Jigokudani Yaen Koen (Snow Monkey Park). You can read more about my experience here.

Staying in Yudanaka, not too far away I also visited a small town named Obuse, in which I enjoyed its Floral Garden. You can view photos of the garden here. In Obuse, there is also the museum of a famous Japanese artist named Hokusai Katsushika.

To fully enjoy Yudanaka Shibu Onsen in its entirety, I’d reccommend visiting for 3-4 days.

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Elena Lisina

Elena Lisina @shiroi.tenshi

I love Japan very much! I like small towns of Japan where I can watch people doing their business and talk to them carefully. They're always friendly. I like Japanese gardens where I can just sit or walk and take my time. Also I like Shinto Jinja as being there I feel in peace. I like to watch sunsets and then to dine in some small local places. I like to soak into onsen after a long day of wandering. I like Japanese crafts very much as all items are made with great taste and skill. Nihon wo daisuki desuyo!

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Andrew C. 3 years ago
does look very peaceful.
Elena Lisina Author 3 years ago
Yes, it's really is very peaceful - great place to rest! For me )))
Amanda Ho 3 years ago
nice place! the monkeys are out in spring as well?
Elena Lisina Author 3 years ago
Yes, they are! Now so many in the onsen, but quite many around the park. It's very interesting to watch them. In spring there are many baby monkeys, they are very funny!