Hirao, Yamanouchi-machi, Shimotakai-gun, Nagano-ken
A traditional onsen town nestled in the mountains of Nagano
Shibu Onsen is a trip back in time. This old hot spring town, filled with historic buildings and a traditional atmosphere, is just a quick hop from Yudanaka Onsen .
- Wearing a traditional yukata robe as you stroll though Shibu Onsen’s public baths
- Exploring the 1,300-year history of the resort
- Visiting all nine public baths to receive good luck
How to Get There
Shibu Onsen is located just next door to Yudanaka Onsen , the last stop on the Nagaden Nagano Line.
To access the area from Nagano, catch the Nagano Dentetsu-Nagano Line to Yudanaka Station. From there, it is about a half-hour walk or short taxi ride.
Wander through a thousand years of history
Shibu Onsen’s history is said to go back over 1,000 years. It has long been a rest stop for pilgrims making their way to Zenkoji Temple in Nagano City . The cobblestone streets lined with traditional wooden Japanese inns and dotted with shrines offer you the atmosphere of another era.
Try all nine public baths for good luck
Shibu Onsen has nine public baths, known as sotoyu, managed by the village inns. Being a guest at one of them entitles you free use of all of the baths. All of the different baths are meant to heal or protect from various ailments.
To add to the fun of onsen-hopping in Shibu, you can get commemorative stamps from each bath. Get one of Shibu’s special junyoku stamp towels and collect them all. If you are not staying, you can still use the largest Oyu bath for a small fee, payable at the information center.
Taste some local sake
In the evening, stroll the narrow lanes in your yukata robe and geta wooden sandals, going from bath to bath or bar to bar. Try some of the local sake at Tamamura, Shibu Onsen’s brewery.
Explore the neighboring area
Shibu Onsen is only a 10-minute bus ride from the trailhead leading into the famed Snow Monkey Park , and 30 minutes from Shiga Kogen Ski Resort . For a change of pace or more restaurant options, Yudanaka Onsen is a little busier and located just down the road.