The best way to experience Yudanaka Onsen is to spend some time soaking in one or more onsen in town. Many ryokans (traditional guesthouses) have their own onsen, which are open to overnight guests and sometimes to other paying guests. There are also public onsen that visitors can pay to use. A popular activity in the area is to go onsen hopping, as different hot springs are reputed to have different therapeutic benefits. For many visitors, another highlight is the Jigokudani Monkey Park, where wild Japanese macaques are known to bathe in hot springs in the winter.
It’s easy to visit Yudanaka Onsen independently. Combine a day of winter sports at Shiga Kogen with a visit or overnight stay in Yudanaka Onsen. Alternatively, visit as part of a sightseeing tour of the Nagano region.
Things to know before you go
- Adhere to proper onsen etiquette and follow any posted rules.
- Visitors with tattoos should inquire about an onsen’s tattoo policy ahead of time; most public onsens refuse entry to people with tattoos.
- Individuals with health issues, such as high blood pressure and heart problems, should not use the onsen.
- Visitors to the Jigokudani Snow Monkey Park should refrain from touching the monkeys, feeding them, or getting into the pools with them.
How to get there
Yudanaka Onsen is located in the Yamanouchi area of Nagano Prefecture, around 18.6 miles (30 kilometers) northeast of Nagano City. It’s around a 45-minute express train ride from Nagano Station, on the Nagano Dentetsu Line, to Yudanaka Station.
When to get there
Yudanaka Onsen can be visited year-round but is most pleasant, and popular, in the winter. Winter is also when it is possible to see the snow monkeys actually bathing in the hot springs, although they are around all year.
Shiga Kogen is the largest ski area in Japan, comprising 19 different but interconnected ski resorts covering nearly 1,483 acres (600 hectares). It hosted some events at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics. A portion of Shiga Kogen has also been declared a UNESCO Biosphere.
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