Yamanouchi (山ノ内町) is a town located in northern Nagano Prefecture, in the Chubu region of Japan, with over 90% of its area covered by mountains and forest.

Day 1


Shibu Onsen

Shibu Onsen is a historic hot spring resort in Yamanouchi. Located in a small valley by the Yokoyugawa River, Shibu Onsen cascades on a gentle slope, lined with ryokan (traditional Japanese style inns), some of which date back over 400 years. The area is well preserved with its traditional atmosphere. Guests get to take a stroll around town in the traditional onsen robes (yukata) and geta sandals. There are two buses that serve the area from Yudanaka Station; or it is a 30-minute walk from the station.

Jigokudani Monkey Park

Jigokudani Monkey Park is part of the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park located in the Yokoyugawa River Valley. The name Jigokudani, meaning "Hell's Valley", is due to the steam and boiling water that bubbles out of small crevices in the frozen ground, surrounded by steep cliffs and formidably cold and hostile forests. The park is especially famous for its large population of wild Japanese macaques, more commonly referred to as snow monkeys. They descend from the steep cliffs and forest to sit in the warm waters of the onsen (hotsprings), and return to the security of the forests in the evenings.

Shiga Kogen

Shiga Highlands (kōgen) is a ski resort and hiking spot, located in the Jōshinetsu Kōgen National Park in the highlands of Yamanouchi. It was designated a UNESCO Man and the Biosphere Reserve in 1980. At 4.25 square kilometres, Shiga Kōgen is one of the largest ski resorts in Japan and the world. The resort was the site of several events in the 1998 Nagano Olympics. There are more than 100 hotels in the area, with both Japanese style or washitsu, Western style or semi-Japanese style rooms. The area was famous as an onsen (hot spring) location before skiing became popular.

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