Matsukawa Valley Hot Springs
Matsukawa Valley is blessed with many ‘onsen’ (natural hot springs), known for their therapeutic properties set within the rural and alpine beauty of the region. Approximately 30 minutes by bus from Suzaka Station, Yamada Onsen is a 200-year old hot spring town with the greatest concentrations of onsens and ‘ryokans’ (traditional guesthouses).
The main bathhouse in the center of town (pictured above) is open to the public with other private baths located within easy walk. Nearby Yamada Onsen, Takino-yu is another notable destination, famous for its outdoor ‘Great Buddha Bath'(pictured below) – an expansive pool set among the natural rocks and seasonal beauty of the surrounding forest and river below.
Takino-yu’s outdoor is somewhat unique in that it is not segregated by gender, with the expansive pool size providing a sense of privacy and distance. If this is not for you, another option is Okuyamada Onsen (pictured below), located at the Yamaboku Wild Snow Park. Reached by bus from the town of Yamada Onsen, Okuyamada Onsen is at an altitude of 1500 meters, affording fantastic views of the surrounding landscape. It’s cloudy waters are soothing with its heat particularly enjoyable in winter.
Matsukawa Valley’s many onsens are open all year round and the best way to soak in the beauty and relaxation of the region.
All year round
Via public transport from JR Nagano Station: using the Nagano Dentetsu Line headed to JR Yudanaka Station and get off at Suzaka Station. At the station, take the bus bound for Yamada Onsen, approximately 30 minutes. Get off at the final stop Yamada Onsen. Matsukawa Valley is located along the river. Takino-yu and Okuyamada Onsen can be accessed by local bus services running from Yamada Onsen.