Nagano – Onsen town

I think I owe you a bit of an elaboration on what I was doing in this small town near Nagano.

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I wasn’t there just for the tea.  Although it was very welcome.

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It wasn’t even the roasted apples (yaki ringo) which were actually not so good.  Puff pastry tends to get soggy pretty easily…

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It wasn’t because of the food.  Even though having a great breakfast doesn’t hurt.

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Or to experience a kotatsu.  Which I must say is a great idea.  Think about having a blanket over your table, then heating it upside so you can hide your legs inside and keep them warm and happy!

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Or even to stay at a great ryokan like the one above.

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It was to visit the onsen!  You see, the ryokan we stayed at is in a famous onsen (hot springs) town and there are lots and lots of onsens to choose from.  There are also lots of pretty buildings which helps.

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All day long you can see people walking around in yukatas and wooden sandals to try out the various different onsens dotted around.

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This is one of the onsens we visited.

Now the onsens in this town are hot.  If you know what onsen tamago is, this is it.

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Its because they put the egg in the onsen and cook it.  We were going to do the same with ourselves.

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The guy on the left is me when I got into the first onsen.  We tried 8 onsens in about 2 hours or so.  I did feel quite clean afterwards.  I later found out that the really really hot onsen that I stayed in for all of 2 seconds was between 50-60 degrees….  Hmmm.  Now, usually my baths are 40 degrees.  Quite a big difference!

It is a special feeling to be able to walk around when there is snow on the ground in a thin yukata because you have been thoughly roasted.

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As you can see it was still rather cold.

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Anyhow, after our stay at the town was over, we decided to take the short hike to visit the monkeys.

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The forest definitely helped to set the scene.

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Snow covered trails and all.

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And welcome to the valley of the monkeys.

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See that steam?  That’s where the water for the onsen comes out.

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And here we are, almost there.  Stay tuned for the next post.

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4 responses to “Nagano – Onsen town

  1. Is it far from Tokyo? Do you have to book where you stayed in advance? Can I go on a weekday?

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