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To go to Shibun Onsen or Yudanaka Onsen, we catch the Nagano Dentetsu train at Nagano Station. Same train line to see the snow monkeys.
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Nagano Dentetsu train stops.
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Get off at Yudanaka Station.
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Getting off at Yudanaka Station.
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Shibu Onsen is famous for providing guests of most of the ryokans in Shibu Onsen the chance to tour nine different bathhouses to bathe for free. You receive a key to enter each bathhouse.Here's a map of those bathhouses. The baths are all segregated (by sex, not by race/nationality).
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Shibu Onsen is also where most people stay when visiting the famous snow monkeys at Jigokudani Yaen Koen monkey park.
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A street bath.
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This is Bathhouse No. 3. I didn't do the bathhouse tour though (外湯めぐり sotoyu meguri). Just one onsen bath was enough for me before my natural
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About the street bath.
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The street bathhouses are numbered, but you don't need to dip in them in sequence. Also, you shouldn't enter more than three baths a day. The heat may be too much, and your skin oil depletes.
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Shibu Onsen manhole in Nagano. Snow monkey design.
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Shibu Onsen inn that appeared in a famous anime.
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Shibu Onsen street.
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Local confection.
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Eggs soft-boiled by the hot spring water.
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Water is pretty hot.
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Border between Shibu Onsen and Yudanaka Onsen.
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Koishiya, a budget ryokan inn where I stayed in Shibu Onsen. Koishiya opened in the 1920s-30s, but closed in 2013. A company bought the building and renovated it and reopened the inn in Aug. 2015. Website: http://yadoroku.jp/koishiya/en/
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The great thing about Koishiya is that it is full of classic artwork and design from the prewar period.Although the 1st floor lobby and dining room have been renovated and modernized, the guest rooms largely retain the original design.
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Koishiya entrance.
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Koishiya cafe and dining room for breakfast.It is also a budget ryokan. It cost me only around ¥7,600 per night including breakfast.
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Koishiya is a retro kind of ryokan with a lot of great artwork from the early Showa Period. A wood carving of a Hokusai-type wave next to the door of my room in Koishiya.Shibu Onsen hot spring in Nagano Prefecture.
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My room at Koishiya in Shibu Onsen.
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Each room has a different artwork or design.
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The sliding door entrance to my room had this decorative cloth plastered on. Very retro/unique. Love it. The door has a simple lock and key too.
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My room at Koishiya. It also has a tokonoma (alcove) on the right, but instead of a picture scroll, it has small western paintings which didn't match the room.I can understand that any hanging scroll could be expensive or stolen. And it was a budget ryokan.
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Transom in my room.
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My room at Koishiya. Tokonoma alcove
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Even the table was artistic in my room at Koishiya.
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Opposite side of my 8-mat room. Nice design of the sliding doors through which I enter the room from a small foyer. Every room has a different design.Koishiya is cheap because it doesn't have hot spring water piped in. Instead, they drove us to the nearby Yorozuya ryokan that has a hot spring bath.
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Adjacent to Shibu Onsen is Yudanaka Onsen, another hot spring town that is seamless with Shibu Onsen.
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The Koishiya staff drove me to a hot spring bath at a large inn called Yorozuya (officially spelled Yoroduya) in neighboring Yudanaka Onsen.Website: http://yudanaka-yoroduya.com/
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Yorozuya has a huge hot spring bathing facility with one large indoor bath and one outside. This place also had a classic design, taking you back in time to the 1930s.This is the men's changing room. It's huge and looks more like a temple with woodcarved transoms high above. Maybe it was a temple before. The door on the right is the entrance to the indoor bath.
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Door to the bath.
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Hair dryers and retro-style mirrors are provided.
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Cautions for taking a hot spring bath.
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Yorozuya's Momoyama-buro hot spring onsen bath. Large, but it was steamy. I was the only one there.
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They have separate times for men and women to bathe in these large baths.
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Yorozuya's outdoor bath was great too.
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Dinner at a restaurant near Yudanaka Station.
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Dinner at a restaurant near Yudanaka Station. Yasai teishoku or fried vegetables.
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Express train back to Nagano Station from Yudanaka.
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Inside the express train back to Nagano Station from Yudanaka.
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Goodbye Yudanaka!
     
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