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Yamanouchi-machi
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Reviewed March 11, 2018

We stayed two nights in February. We wanted to be near the monkeys and hoped to see them from our room - we weren’t disappointed, and we got hell of a lot more besides.

In terms of its informality and homeliness, this place is more like a minshuku - it's run by a wonderfully energetic, warm and friendly (and very hospitable) couple, we so enjoyed our stay here.
The meals served in the dining room overlooking the valley was great, and there was always warm tea here during the day.
There’s a room dedicated to the game of ‘Go’, and where Mie will teach you the rules after dinner, if you wish to learn - she’s a great teacher and a great laugh, we had so much fun!
Our room was spacious with adequate heating, and had a view of a vent of some kind, where the monkeys came to huddle, groom and play in the mornings and afternoons - marvellous.
The onsen baths, inside and out were always a good temperature and cleaned every day (fyi, there is mineral sediment visible in the water, which the Japanese call “yu-no-hana” - flowers of the hot water). The outdoor onsens have decent views, but be warned, visitors to the monkey park have a decent view of the main one, though from afar - the inn can provide ‘modesty aprons’ for the shy (I wore my swimwear).
This old inn has lots of character - some parts do look a little tired and tatty and could perhaps do with a little fix-up and TLC, but we were there for the remoteness, monkeys and warm hospitality, which we received in abundance!
I can highly recommend this place to anyone who is looking for the same.

Date of stay: February 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank railtripper333
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 22, 2018

Our room was a wonderful example of a traditional tatimi room, complete with a seating area by the windows from which we could watch the monkeys warm themselves by the extractor fan. Futons were comfortable. Toilets are shared, but just down the hall. The wooden floors in communal areas are beautiful.

You can use the fact that you are based right next to the monkey park to visit at quieter times. The outdoor onsen here is something else! Sitting outside in the water while looking out at the monkeys and a geyser, the snow falling down around us, is something I'll never forget. As it's outside, mixed gender and overlooked by the monkey park, unlike most onsens it's completely fine to wear swimwear, although I should note we only saw non-Japanese people doing this. (Japanese men either came in with a smaller towel or nothing at all, while Japanese women got in with a larger towel wrapped around their bodies.)

Visiting in winter is highly recommended, to appreciate the hot spring water and to have the best chance of seeing the monkeys take a dip.

Dinner and breakfast were served at individual tables in a dining room. The locally-sourced food was various and delicious.

Practical considerations: the walking trail is snowy but flat and not too slippery, but the path up to the ryokan can be slippery with ice. Definitely do not bring wheeled luggage - we were in the middle of a two week trip and stored our luggage in the lockers at Nagano station, taking just backpacks for our one night's stay at Korakukan. Alternatively, there's luggage storage at Yudanaka station and at the shop before the start of the trail to the monkey park. If you can, bring your own towel.

Date of stay: February 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank hey21
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 21, 2018

We went here as a side visit to the Monkey Park. We only stayed two hours but it was really worth it.
Firstly, it is basic and traditional so don't expect too much, but you are really close to nature and there is a chance the monkeys will join you in the onsen too.
As it is in the Park and close to the trail you are exposed to other tourists coming nearby but if you don't feel comfortable being naked it seemed like no one would stop you wearing swimwear.
The onsen was excellent, really hot and with a cool view of the mountains.
To top it off the soba noodles for lunch were excellent. Good sized portion and good value.
Highly recommend stopping for a dip while in the park.

Date of stay: January 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Slapheado
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2018

Staying in a traditional guest house in the snowy mountains of Japan with snow monkeys running around everywhere was awesome. What a cool experience!!! After spending a couple hours at the park itself watching the monkeys, we warmed up with a relaxing soak in the onsen. Monkeys running around everywhere! The evening meal was delicious (we had both a normal and a vegetarian meal) and an interesting mix of food - for example, bamboo and mushrooms picked by the owners in the forest behind the inn!

The rooms and facilities were basic, but warm and comfortable. This isn't a five star hotel - you come here for the experience of it!

Waking up at sunrise and having a monkey join me in the onsen was incredible... and one of the reasons I wanted to stay here in the first place.

We were sad to go. We thought that one night would be enough, but I definitely could have spent a couple nights relaxing in the peace and quiet, watching the monkeys, and soaking.

Would highly recommend this unique place and experience.

Date of stay: December 2017
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
1  Thank johnsonlaur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 2, 2018 via mobile

The place itself is in a beautiful spot surrounded by snowy mountains, trees, geysers and waterfalls! Then you have the very traditional interior, equipped with your own kimono and the fantastic hospitality of the owners! Sitting in the onsen in the snow with the beautiful surroundings next to wild snow monkeys is definitely the highlight! If your going to do this.. then do it properly! Get naked and jump in! It’s the best way and nobody cares what you look like! Also take
up the offer to be taught Japanese chess! A wonderful way to spend the evening away from the stresses of technology!

Date of stay: January 2018
1  Thank ktkarennicholass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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