Nagano’s Ryokans Recognized by

January 26th, 2013 by
Category: Accomodations, Information, which features travel reviews from people around the world, announced their Travelers’ Choice 2013 Awards.

For the B&B / Inns category of the Top 25 that received the award, 7 are from here, Nagano Prefecture. That’s the most of any prefecture — more than even Kyoto! That goes to show the high level of customer service provided by ryokans in Nagano.

The 7 ryokans from Nagano that received the award are:

Biyu no Yado, Shimaya Ryokan and Matsuya from Yamanouchi Town by the snow monkeys,

The venerable Hanaya Ryokan in Bessho Onsen,

Historical Fujioto Ryokan in Tsumago, a post town along the old Nakasendo Road,

Friendly Seifuso in Matsumoto in between the castle and Asama Onsen,

and a certain little inn here in our onsen town, Togura-Kamiyamada.

Of the thousands of inns throughout Japan, 7 of the Top 25 as selected by‘s reviewers are in Nagano. So when you think about where to experience a stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan, Nagano Prefecture is a great place to consider. Travelers’ Choice 2013 Top 25 B&Bs and Inns in Japan

7 Responses to “Nagano’s Ryokans Recognized by

  1. My husband & I are considering a Japan holiday (our 1st) with our 3 children, aged 15,15,&13, from 13/4/13 to 24/4/13, & would like to spend about 4 nights in Shiga Kogen. None of us have ever skied before. We would love some advice on how to arrange a package with accommodation, breakfast & dinner, ski hire & beginner ski lessons in english. Could anyone help us please?

  2. Sue-san, Thanks for the inquiry.
    Regarding accommodation at Shiga Kogen, the website lists a few under “Accommodations – Northern Nagano”. Look for the ones in Yamanouchi Town, where Shiga Kogen is located. (NOTE: Some of the inns listed for Yamanouchi are down in Shibu-Yudanaka Onsen, approx. 30 minutes by car below the ski areas at Shiga Kogen.)
    One that’s listed there as well as that won the TripAdvisor award mentioned is Biyu no Yado. While their inn is down in Shibu-Yudanaka, they have a sister establishment up at Shiga Kogen called Shiga Palace Hotel. The dates for your trip are towards the end of the ski season. Depending on snow conditions you may regret committing 4 nights up at Shiga Kogen, so having a Shibu-Yudanaka alternative might be worth it. Biyu’s website is I suggest you start there. I hope you enjoy your time in Nagano!

  3. Sue, I wrote the below then realised the dates you were looking at. The season is pretty much finished then and English ski school will be quite hard to come by.

    I suggest getting in touch with Mark at Lodge Nagano in Nozawa Onsen. He might be able to help you with a package and possibly an English speaking instructor. lodgenagano at Tell him Nic said to get in touch.

    For more info on Nozawa Onsen see


    Myoko Kogen might be a good option as they have an excellent English ski school. Check

    From Myoko it’s fairly easy to make a trip to the Snow Monkeys, Zenkoji Temple and other sites.

    Check the accommodation options in Akakura Onsen which is right by the mountain and ski school.

  4. Hi Sue, Richard and guys,

    I heard a rumor there was a skifield at Myoko where the snow was deeper than the skilift was high – anybody know details how to get there? – Myoko sounds awesome too.

    End (and start) of season Shigakogen has snow. Skiing at Yokote until June, skiing or boarding at Ichinose until start of May (season starts Kumanoyu from Novemeber – although don’t want too many people – welcome if interested in trying to Speak Japanese^-^). Mid season – Nozawa is best deep snow and still very keen to visit Myoko….it’s big high and deep snow….from what I hear^-^. Not sure when season finishes? – possibly long.

    Sugadaira-skifield must also be great near May and June – very very dry snow (not much of it but still). I think Sugadaira had the coldest recorded temperature of any skifield around here last year -30deg Celius!!!! (cold enough to freeze the important parts of anything)….so guess good.
    Going up to Sugadaira (not sure if many foreigners go there or not – maybe an adventure!!), probably best to stay down at Kamiyamada-Togura onsen for a night or 2, and use as a base to see snow monkeys…get setup before heading up for the big freeze.
    Saw some gentle back country video from NHK camera-man of Sugadaira – looked nice. Maybe good for skins too(?) – not a tourist big booming ski field but worth a try? Here is a place to start if keen on some cherry blossoms and spring skiing in Sugadaira etc…
    Kamesei Ryokan – a couple of quite a romantic stories there^-^

    A friend (Scott) up in Hokaido Prince Hotel – Furano was saying there is about 600 different skifields in Japan!! – Not many cater for foreigners but exciting if you’re in for some pioneering – like that Sneider(?) who visited Nozawa and Shigakogen about 100years ago (See Okushigakogen Ski Museum or maybe Mark / Nic can tell some more about Nozawa?)…oh just stumbled on this

    I am also interested in a trip to Tateyama – Kurobe, anybody from Matsumoto direction have any information how to get there from Snow Monkeys? Maybe a gondola + special bus?? Any help appreciated.

    Any information about Myoko and Tateyama would be super please.

    from Craig

  5. Craig-san, Thanks for your concise comment. Regarding Myoko and Tateyama, this is, the official website for Nagano Prefecture. Myoko and Tateyama are in Niigata and Toyama so a little outside the specialty of this particular site. Info on Kurobe (and by extension, Tateyama) available at (Warning: machine-translated English). Route doesn’t open ’til April 16th. Thanks for the plug for our onsen town, Togura-Kamiyamada.

  6. Congratulations, Tyler-san, for winning the top 19th place in the Tripadvisor! You were too modest not to mention your own ryokan-inn on your blog, but I suspected as much when you didn’t name the ‘a certain little inn’!
    It was also surprizing to read another comment on another award-winning ryokan in Nagano, which the visitor said their first impression on entering their room had changed completely after the warm hospitality of the ryokan. The ‘warm hospitality I can assume, but as for their astonishment on entering their room which they first thought dirty and later recognized its long and affectionate history,,, It gave me a chance to look back to things once more before introducing them to visitors from different culture even if I personally or as a Japanese love them.

  7. Mariko-san, Thanks for your kind comments. Regarding not mentioning our own inn, this blog has a policy against self-promotion. But with so many of the winning inns being from Nagano, I thought this news was too valuable to not post on Go-Nagano.
    And I think you’re right about the importance of friendly hospitality. Some inns likely made the list for their historical value and/or luxuriousness. But for others, it is obvious that the efforts of the innkeepers to make their guests feel at-home are what made the biggest impression. Take Fujioto in Tsumago for example. Their inn is actually so historical that the walls between guestrooms are literally paper-thin. This is a culture-shock probably even for domestic guests, let alone foreigners. But when our family stayed there, the father and daughter team running the inn were so friendly, it was if we’ve known eachother for years. And Shimaya in Yudanaka Onsen. The inn’s facilities are by no means the fanciest in town. But I have personally seen how Yumoto-san takes the time to make sure his guests fully experience their stay at his inn. It’s that personal touch that makes the difference.
    I feel honored to have been included with innkeepers like them by this TripAdvisor recognition.

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