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While Japan is known for having incredible landscapes all over the country, we think no other place deserves the title of “Winter Wonderland” than Nagano! After all, Nagano Prefecture hosted the world-famous 1998 Winter Olympics. While this place is beautiful all year round, it absolutely dazzles during the winter months! From former Olympic facilities, unique temples and shrines, tons of gorgeous mountains, and even quirky destinations like ninja schools, Nagano has it all.

Winters in Nagano can get pretty cold, with temperatures dropping as low as -5°C (23°F). This can get pretty tough, especially for travelers not used to experiencing winter temperatures. But worry not — we have the perfect solution for you. After all, what better way to warm up than to take a nice long bath in a traditional hot spring? These ryokans all have their own onsens to warm you up even in the coldest winter months!

1. Shinshu Zenkoji Yakuoin


Our first ryokan on the list is one of the best ones if you want to explore the rich temple culture of Nagano. It’s very close to Zenkoji Temple, one of the most important Buddhist temples in the area which dates back to the 7th Century. It can be hard to explore new places without doing some prior research.

Lucky for you, Shinshu Zenkoji Yakuin even provides its guests with a volunteer tour guide who can show you around Zenkoji! Not only will you get to tour the beautiful surroundings, but Syou’ll also get to learn more about Buddhism in Japan thanks to an English-speaking guide.


Shinshu Zenkoji Yakuoin offers delectable multi-course vegetarian menus, utilizing only the freshest seasonal ingredients. If you’re hesitant on eating vegetarian food, that’s only because you’ve never tried this ryokan’s dishes! Trust us, it’s vegetarian food like you’ve never had before!

One of the best things about Shinshu Zenkoji Yakuoin is its quiet and tranquil environment. That’s the best kind of atmosphere to relax in, especially when using their beautiful hot spring baths.

Book It Here: Shinshu Zenkoji Yakuoin

2. Yokokura Ryokan


Up next, we have a ryokan lifted straight from a storybook page! Like a cozy cottage in the woods, Yokokura Ryokan will make you feel right at home as soon as you step inside. The staff is super friendly and accommodating, guests will be treated like true family. Yokokura Ryokan is the kind of accommodation that’s full of character.

At over 150 years old, this ryokan has been serving the community for over a century, making it a true staple in the Nagano hospitality industry. If you want to experience the true traditional ryokan, then you’d be hard pressed to find anything more traditional than this!


Yokokura Ryokan’s baths run nice and hot, ready to warm you up in the wintertime. This ryokan also serves both breakfast and dinner, homecooked with love by the talented staff. Its location is also pretty good, since it’s near a lot of the really cool spots in the area like the Togakushi Temples, Mirror Lake, Middle Shrine, and more.

On top of all of that, Yokokura is relatively inexpensive compared to the other ryokans on this list — without sacrificing the quality of service!

Book It Here: Yokokura Ryokan

3. Senjukaku


If you’re looking for something a little more grand but still super accessible, head on over to the beautiful Senjukaku! This charming ryokan will captivate you the moment you set foot on the property. The gorgeous landscaping paired with the carefully curated interior design is just to die for. Senjukaku has that old-school luxury vibe that just oozes class and glamor.

Best of all? This ryokan has a large collection of onsens — indoor, outdoor, public, private — you name it, they’ve got it! Make sure to maximize your stay by trying out all of their different hot spring baths around the property.


Another great thing about Senjukaku is it’s only a short walk away from some of Nagano’s most iconic sights — including the famous Snow Monkey Park! Perhaps you’ve seen photos of those adorable white-furred monkeys bathing in some of Japan’s hot springs. Well if you stay at Senjukaku, you’re only a few minutes away from seeing this awsome sight in person!

The staff are all super accommodating and speak pretty good English, so you won’t have trouble communicating. On top of that, this ryokan serves absolutely delectable meals that we can’t recommend enough. If you have any dietary restrictions, just make sure to inform the staff and they will go above and beyond to accommodate you!

Book It Here: Senjukaku

4. Besshoonsen Nanjyo Ryokan


If you’re booking a ryokan for the ~vibes~, then we can’t recommend Besshoonsen Nanjyo Ryokan enough. Just look at those photos! This ryokan takes aesthetics and atmosphere very seriously. After all, they believe that having the perfect environment will help their guests enjoy their vacations and relax even more.

Located in a small village full of temples and hot springs, Besshoonsen Nanjyo Ryokan fully embodies the grace and peacefulness of its surroundings. This ryokan boasts amazing gardens as well as a collection of indoor and outdoor hot springs to make each guest feel as relaxed as possible.


This ryokan is especially popular with the locals, which should tell you just how great their services and facilities must be. Aside from the usual ryokan facilities, they also have a little souvenir corner where you can get local crafts and other goodies to remind you of this trip.

The inside is beautifully decorated with art featuring agricultural and pastoral scenes to truly make the guest feel as if they’re on a well-deserved nature trip!

Book It Here: Besshoonsen Nanjyo Ryokan

5. Tateshina Shinyu Onsen


Speaking of luxury, up next we want to highlight another gem of Nagano hospitality: Tateshina Shinyu Onsen! This is a huge property that will keep you relaxed and entertained all day long. They have a lounge, library, indoor and outdoor onsens, balconies, and more!

We especially recommend checking out all of the onsens here, because they all have varying views. Some look out onto the forest, some have fantastic views of the nearby river, while some feature majestic views of the mountains! Just imagine lounging in a hot spring bath while looking out at those views. In winter, you can even witness the snowfall!


The attentive and accommodating staff over at Tateshina Shinyu Onsen will do everything to make their guests feel as pampered as possible. They even provide a free shuttle service to and from the nearby train station — perfect for those who brought some heavy luggage!

With huge rooms and top-notch facilities, Tateshina Shinyu Onsen provides a magical stay for each and every guest that you will surely look back on for years to come.

Book It Here: Tateshina Shinyu Onsen

6. Myojinkan


If you want a ryokan that can double as a spa, then Myojinkan is perfect for you. First of all, the location is exquisite. It’s one of the best places to stay in to be able to appreciate the natural beauty of Nagano’s surroundings. That in itself will be enough to make you relax!

But if you want more, Myojinkan is also known for their incredible spa services. In the “Aroma Room,” you can avail of world-class massages as well as facials. Now that’s the way to feel pampered!


Another great way to relax at Myojinkan is to experience their different hot spring baths all around the property. Taking a nice long bath while staring at those gorgeous vistas is one of the best ways to spend your vacation.

For food, Myojinkan serves everything kaiseki-style, meaning multiple courses of delicious dishes. They have both traditional Japanese cuisine as well as Western options that you can choose from.

Book It Here: Myojinkan

7. Shibu Onsen Kokuya


Up next, we have one of the titans of the hospitality industry when it comes to Nagano. Shibu Onsen Kokuya has been standing for over 400 years! It’s a true heritage ryokan, but you wouldn’t even realize it because all of the parts of the property are so clean and well-maintained.

The owners and staff really put a lot of love into cherishing and preserving such a historic building, all to keep serving the Nagano community and the tourists who pay this area a visit. Shibu Onsen Kokuya is located in the center of the most interesting part of town, close to a lot of cool establishments, temples, and restaurants for you to check out.


Like these pictures show, Shibu Onsen Kokuya is very well-known for their top-notch onsens! Some rooms come with private onsens, which we definitely recommend getting if you get the chance. But if not, you can also check out their public onsens which you be yours privately for 45 minutes at a time!

In terms of food and service, Shibu Onsen Kokuya provides only the best quality for all of their guests. They serve excellent breakfasts and dinners featuring a wide array of high-quality traditional Japanese dishes!

Book It Here: Shibu Onsen Kokuya

8. Yorozuya


Up next, we have a ryokan that combines that old-school traditional glamor with more modern aesthetics and style. Yorozuya is undoubtedly one of the most stunning properties on this list. It’s a huge property that also has a rich heritage behind it.

Despite the age of the building, everything is very well-maintained to ensure this great ryokan stands dignified. This ryokan’s varying styles can even be seen in their selection of onsens, some of which look more modern while some look more traditional. Both are fantastic, as Yorozuya ensures that each guest can have the most comfortable and relaxing experience during their stay.


Yorozuya provides each guest with a set of yukata, complete with accessories, to wear around the property. These summer-style kimonos are best for taking cool photos around the traditional ryokan! It’s also relatively close to Nagano’s representative spot, the Snow Monkey Park. That way, you can sightsee around the area more comfortably, knowing your stay is just a short walk away.

Book It Here: Yorozuya

9. Aburaya Tousen


We can’t miss talking about Aburaya Tousen, one of the representative ryokans of Nagano. It’s known for having fabulous onsens! Whether you get the kind of room with its own private onsen or you use the ones available for all hotel guests, the hot spring baths at Aburaya Tousen are designed for maximum relaxation. But most of all, Aburaya Tousen is known for their food! You have the option to get breakfasts and dinners buffet-style, with a wide array of delicious food in both traditional Japanese and Western cuisines. You can even dine at their gorgeous rooftop bar!


You also have the option to get a private breakfast and/or dinner, where the menu is more personalized and you can interact with the staff more. The chef will even personally come to your table to tell you about the food! Whichever option you choose, dining experiences here at Aburaya Tousen are truly special. In fact, we think it’s worth it to stay at this ryokan just for the food and the experience!

Book It Here: Aburaya Tousen

10. Ichinoyu Katei


Finally, we have the gorgeous Ichinoyu Katei. This huge property has spacious, comfortable rooms as well as all kinds of facilities. Everything is very new and well-kept to provide a true luxury experience for all of their guests. They have beautiful onsens in different locations all around the property, even a rooftop one which is best for sightseeing!

On top of that, what makes Ichinoyu Katei stand out is their brand of service. They provide each guest with a yukata, and they will even go out of their way to guide you on wearing it properly so you look your best!


The staff at Ichinoyu Katei even personally picks up their guests at the nearby train station. The staff’s helpfulness and warmth will truly elevate your stay to the next level.

To cap it off, the meals served at this ryokan are also no joke. Everything is served beautifully, a feast for both the eyes and the tastebuds. Ichinoyu Katei is truly one of the most exquisite hotels you will ever stay in — ryokan or otherwise!

Book It Here: Ichinoyu Katei

We hope you enjoyed our guide to the best ryokans in Nagano! Which of these ryokans is the one that intrigued you the most? Tell us all about it in the comments!

Nagano is a beautiful area. It’s a lot more quiet than your average Tokyo or Kyoto, but it’s still full of amazing cultural sites and beautiful natural landscapes that will rival any place in the world. Especially during winter, Nagano just completely transforms into another world. We highly recommend visiting this place and staying in one of these amazing luxury ryokans! Treat yourself!