Yudanaka and Shibu are a pair of onsen resort towns at the base of Shiga Kogen near the Jigokudani Wild Monkey Park (home of the Snow Monkeys). If you go by train to the snow monkeys, you’ll likely pass through Yudanaka Station. Yudanaka, as with many resort towns, is struggling with shops and inns closing up due to not having anyone to take over the businesses as the current owners retire.
Nagano’s largest bank has teamed up with an investment fund to create a civic improvement organization called Waku-Waku Yamanouchi. (“Waku-waku” means to be excited.) They purchased 4 such businesses, renovated them, and are in the process of reopening them repurposed as guesthouses, a restaurant, an art-themed boutique-ryokan, and a coffee shop. I recently toured the new shops and certainly found them to be “waku-waku”!