The other day, I went to Yudanaka-Shibu Onsen for a seminar. I got a chance to see a couple of ryokans that I had really wanted to see: Yudanaka’s Yoruzuya and Shibu’s Kanaguya.
Kanaguya’s 4-story wood building is spectacular. Some say it’s like from out of an anime movie — I say the anime movies copied Kanaguya. Part of it is even a registered National Cultural Treasure.
Up until now I had only seen Kanaguya from the outside. This time, I got to take a tour of the inside, too. Kanaguya is in a league, a universe all to itself. There’s no way words can convey how impressive Kanaguya’s interior details are. I’ve attempted to express a little of it by these pictures, but you’ll just have to go and see for yourself to fully appreciate it.
Next we went to Yorozuya in neighboring Yudanaka. The “Momoyama Bath” there is also a registered National Cultural Treasure. And what a bath it is. The indoor bath’s building is like a shrine — a shrine for the onsen god. And the outdoor bath is more like an onsen pond, it is so huge. Again, I was just in awe at the scale.
I consider myself fortunate to have gotten to see Kanaguya and Yoruzuya, and now appreciate the depth of Nagano’s Onsen Ryokan culture that much more.
Yudanaka-Shibu is approx. 1 hr. by car from Togura Kamiyada, or 45 min. by exress train from Nagano Sta.
Cultural Treasure Ryokan websites: Kanaguya; Yorozuya
Fellow Nagano Inbound Ambassador, Zeno-san’s ryokan is also in Yudanaka-Shibu Onsen: 16th generation Kokuya.
The best guide to Yudanaka-Shibu: Zeno’s Guide