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Travel module

From hot springs to Japanese snow monkeys

Highlights

  • Relax in Yukanaka’s famous onsens

  • Visit the Zenkoji temple and search for the key to paradise

  • Befriend curious Japanese snow monkeys

  • Explore the open gardens of Obuse

  • Enjoy two traditional Japanese dinners in your ryokan

Description

Are you ready to reconnect with your self in a natural atmosphere? Have you ever relaxed in a warm thermal spring? The Japanese snow monkeys of Yudanaka probably asked themselves the same questions when they decided to come and join the relaxation club!

Join us for a three-day travel package through the Yudanaka mountain region! Spend the night in a ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn, that is around the corner from the famous Shibu Onsen Spa Street. During a day trip to the Jigokudani Monkey Park, visit the unique Japanese snow monkeys while they lounge in their hot springs. Return to your hotel and unwind in their onsen (Japanese for hot spring).

Destination

Vacations to Yudanaka are great year-round! If you want to visit the bathing Japanese snow monkeys, then you should plan your trip around the colder months between November and April.

Your journey to Yudanaka begins in Tokyo. We’ve booked your train tickets for the world-famous Shinkansen, Japan’s bullet train. Flying at a speed of 300 km/h, you will reach Nagano in just under 100 minutes. Once you arrive, continue your journey to Yudanaka.

If time permits, we recommend a short detour to the 1,400-year-old Zenkoji Temple. It’s located right near the station, so you can quickly pop over to check out the beautiful site. Legend says that the temple is home to the first Buddhist statue ever brought to Japan. The temple only shows it to the public for a few weeks every six years. The next opportunity to see it is in 2021.

The most exciting attracting of Zenkoji is the underground passage that begins at the main hall. As you stroll through the underground passage, one must look for the key to paradise. If found, you must touch it to receive enlightenment and redemption. The tunnel itself is in complete darkness. Light of any kind is strictly forbidden. Be prepared to face the wrath of the gods (or at least the temple monks) if you violate this rule.

Not far from your ryokan is the Shibu Onsen Spa Street. Visit one of the nine onsens available! Locals stroll around the street in their light robes while they make their way to their favorite onsen.

For dinner, enjoy kaiseki, a traditional multi-course Japanese dinner, in the comfort of your ryokan. Kaiseki consists of nine or more dishes and made using only the freshest ingredients from the Nagano region.

Travel time Tokyo - Nagano: approx. 1.5 hours

Travel time from Nagano to Yudanaka: approx. 45 minutes

2 nights at Ryokan Biyu no Yado**** in a Deluxe Japanese Room, Nagano, Japan

Are you ready to befriend some Japanese snow monkeys? Today, we recommend a visit to Jigokudani Monkey Park! Jigokudani translated means hell valley; this is because of the hot springs' sulfurous vapors. However, the monkeys living here see it more as a paradise. They romp around the natural pools all day, taking turns relaxing in the different springs. They have even become accustomed to their human guests; therefore, you can observe them at up close!

We also recommend a visit to the nearby charming town of Obuse. The quaint village has many traditional buildings, and its 100 residents participate in an ongoing event called the open garden. If there is a sign saying "Open Garden" in front of a house, you can enter the property's garden - a great glimpse of different Japanese lifestyles.

Obuse is also home to Hokusai, the famous Edo-era Ukiyo-e painter, and Masuichi-Ichimura, the local sake brewery.

In the evening, enjoy another traditional dinner in your ryokan.

Your adventure in the Nagano mountains is coming to an end. Take the train back to Tokyo via Nagano. We are happy to book the rest of your vacation in Japan - just contact us!

Journey time from Yudanaka to Nagano: approx. 45 minutes

Travel time from Nagano to Tokyo: approx. 1.5 hours

Ryokan Biyu no Yado****, Nagano, Japan (2 nights)

Ryokan Biyu no Yao is located in the middle of the famous Shibu Onsen Spa Street in Yudunaka. The property has its own public indoor and outdoor thermal baths. Enjoy a regularly performed traditional Japanese drum show in the lobby. Want to try karaoke and or buy a knick-knack in the souvenir shop? This ryokan can help you with these wishes! In addition to Japanese futon beds, the rooms include a flat-screen TV, fridge, kettle, and a safe. The Deluxe Rooms also have a private bathroom. When you book a room, receive half board benefits, which include multi-course menus and a personal waiter.

Closest city: Yudanaka

Closest airport: Matsumoto Airport

Duration of the trip: 3 days / 2 nights

Including

  • Two nights at the Ryokan Biyu no Yado in a Japanese Deluxe Room including half board
  • Arrival and departure from/to Tokyo by train
  • Two-day Nagaden ticket

Excluding

  • Guide

  • Meals and drinks not mentioned in the scope of services

  • Personal expenses, such as minibars and tips

  • Costs or entrance fees for visits or optional activities

Services & Notes

  • Please note that Jigokudani Monkey Park can only be reached via a 1.6 km walk. We recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes.
  • Guests with tattoos can be denied access to particular public bathing areas.