Home to the famous Jigokudani Monkey Park, Yamanouchi is also a hotspot for outdoor sports enthusiasts. Discover the largest ski resort in Japan, relax in a mineral-rich hot spring or explore a traditional temple pilgrimage route.
Things to do in Yamanouchi
Visit the Jigokudani Monkey Park to see wild monkeys bathing in a natural hot spring. Best seen in winter, the park is inhabited by Snow Monkeys who like to relax and gather around a man-made pool, offering plenty of unique photo opportunities.
Looking for an outdoor adventure? Visit the Shiga Kogen Ski Area to enjoy its 19 ski resorts with 52 lifts. Ryuoo Ski Park offers snow buggy riding and sledding, while a 166-person gondola ride takes you to the Sora Terrace cafe. The northern area leads to Oku Shiga Kogen and 2,000-metre-high peaks that were a part of the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics.
Unwind at Shibu Onsen, a historic and picturesque hot spring town. Nestled in a small valley in Yamanouchi, the traditional atmosphere and 400-year-old streets reveal nine public bathhouses said to cure different ailments.
Despite dating back hundreds of years, Yudanaka Onsen has a more modern ambiance with contemporary buildings mixed with a rustic onsen town. After you’ve soaked in the bathhouses, take the flight of steps to the Sekai Heiwa Kannon, where you’ll find a 25-meter-tall bronze statue of Kannon and views overlooking Yudanaka.
Getting around Yamanouchi
Exploring Yamanouchi is best done by car, bus or on foot. It’s 45 minutes by train from Nagano, where you can find trains that travel to Tokyo in 1.5 hours.