On a snowy, cold winter day, people in other places in Japan may stay inside and bury themselves beneath the quilts of their kotatsu. Here in Nagano, we embrace the snowy scenery instead and head for the hills to soak in one of the many ‘notenburo’ — onsen baths with scenic views.
Last weekend, I took our kids to Yomase Onsen’s famous ‘Tomi no Yu’ for the first time. Located above Shibu Yudanaka Onsens at the entrance of the Kita-Shiga ski area, Tomi no Yu’s bath features an amazing view of the Zenkoji Plain with Nagano City down below, along with glimpses of the 5 Northern Nagano Peaks as well as the Northern Alps in the distance.
The day we went, it was snowing so unfortunately we couldn’t enjoy much of a view. But the kids loved hopping out of the bath, jumping in the snow surrounding the rim, then hopping back into the onsen. I, on the other hand, simply let the piping hot onsen waters warm my body to the core as snow flakes gently fell on my face.
The experience inspired a little haiku:
Soaking in the bath
Face looking up to heaven
Snow flakes gently fall
Tomi no Yu doesn’t have an indoor bath, and the washing area is rather spartan, but the outdoor bath with its spectacular view makes up for it. If you want to enjoy one of Nagano’s premier onsen baths with a view, then make sure to check out Tomi no Yu.
Located approx. 30 minutes by car from Nagano City (Nakano IC on the Joshin’etsu Expwy). Also accessible by bus from Nakano Station on the Nagano Dentetsu Line, or in the winter by busses from Nagano Station going up to the ski resort in Kita-Shiga. Website is here.