The best Onsen in Nagano 2024

Nagano Prefecture is located in the center of Honshu, the Japanese archipelago, and is rich in nature, with more than 80% of its area being mountainous.

It is surrounded by mountains reaching up to 3,000 meters in height, creating a mild and comfortable climate. In summer, the prefecture is famous as a summer resort, and in winter, it attracts many tourists from outside the prefecture to enjoy winter sports due to the abundant snowfall.

With eight neighboring prefectures, the prefecture boasts the largest number in Japan, making it a popular tourist destination due to its easy accessibility to many directions.

Taking advantage of its cool climate and natural location, Nagano Prefecture has a thriving agricultural industry. Nagano boasts one of the highest production of vegetables, flowers, and fruits in Japan. Shinshu apples and grapes are especially popular, and are loved by many people as brand-name fruits.

Nagano Prefecture also has a fascinating culinary culture, including local cuisine.

The prefecture is rich in local cuisine, including the nationally famous Shinshu soba (buckwheat noodles), Nozawana (wild vegetables), and Oyaki (Japanese Stuffed Dumplings). Shinshu soba is one of Japan's three most famous soba dishes, and is a must-try when visiting Nagano Prefecture.

Along with gourmet food, visitors can also enjoy touring the Onsens in the prefecture.

Nagano Prefecture is known as one of the top Onsen destinations in Japan, and is visited by many people from Japan and abroad.

The number of Onsen resorts in Nagano Prefecture is the second largest in Japan, and visitors can enjoy a wide variety of Onsen, from their history and location to the quality of their water.

Nozawa Onsen, a resort area where winter sports can be enjoyed along with Onsens, and Bessho Onsen, the oldest onsen in Nagano Prefecture, are just a few of the many other attractive onsen resorts scattered throughout the prefecture.

Enjoy a stroll through the elegant Onsen town, or take an open-air bath while gazing at the snow-capped mountains, and enjoy the rich variety of Onsen in Nagano Prefecture.

Get to know Nagano


Nagano Prefecture is located almost in the center of Japan and has established very good accessibility from various directions.

The main access methods include airplanes, bullet trains, and trains, and it is possible to travel from major cities in a relatively short time. From Tokyo, the easily accessible Shinkansen is convenient, taking approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes to Nagano City.

From Osaka, it takes about 4 hours by connecting the Tokaido Shinkansen and limited express trains.

With smooth travel routes from other cities, Nagano Prefecture is a very convenient base for travel in Japan.

If you wish to fly to a remote location, use Matsumoto Airport. From Matsumoto Airport, flights operate to Sapporo, Osaka, Kobe, and Fukuoka. Flights to Osaka are seasonal, so please check in advance if you wish to use this service.

Travel within Nagano Prefecture is also easy by train or bus, so you can enjoy sightseeing without stress.

From Tokyo

<Shinkansen> Tokyo Station→Nagano Station (about 1 hour and 20 minutes)

<Bus> Shinjuku BT→Nagano Station (about 3 hours and 50 minutes)

From Nagoya

<Shinkansen> Nagoya Station → Tokyo Station → Nagano Station ( about 3 hours and 30 min.)

<Express> Nagoya Station→Nagano Station (about 3 hours)

From Osaka

<Shinkansen> Shin-Osaka Station → Nagoya Station → <Express>Nagano Station (about 4 hours)

<Express> Shin-Osaka Station → Tsuruga Station → <Shinkansen> Nagano Station (about 3 hours and 30 minutes)

From Sendai

<Shinkansen>Sendai Station→Omiya Station→Nagano Station (about 2 hours and 20 minutes)


Nagano Prefecture has a rich natural environment and a rich history.

During the Warring States Period, the famous battle of Kawanakajima took place, one of the most famous battles in Japanese history. In the Battle of Kawanakajima, Shingen Takeda and Kenshin Uesugi, two famous warlords of the time, fought a fierce battle. The battle lasted 12 years and is still talked about today.

The site of the battle, Kawanakajima Battlefield, is now a park that is used by people as a place for social education and as a tourist attraction.

There are many other fascinating historical sites to trace the history of Nagano Prefecture.

Places worth seeing abound, such as Zenkoji Temple, one of Nagano City's most popular tourist attractions, and Matsumoto Castle, a national treasure and one of the five most famous castles in Japan.

Zenkoji Temple, located in Nagano City, was founded approximately 1,400 years ago and is home to Japan's oldest and most historic Buddhist statues. Zenkoji's gate and main hall have a stately appearance, and when you stand in front of them, you will be overwhelmed by the power of the temple.

Various events are held there, and the temple is visited by about 6 million people annually, making it a very popular tourist spot.

On the other hand, Matsumoto Castle is also very attractive and allows visitors to enjoy the history of Nagano Prefecture.

Matsumoto Castle is located in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture, and is one of the longest existing castles in Japan. The scenery of Matsumoto Castle is extremely beautiful, and together with the carefully landscaped gardens, one can enjoy a sense of elegance.

In recent years, the castle has been lit up at night using projection mapping. Matsumoto Castle also hosts a variety of events throughout the year, and the annual Ice Sculpture Festival held in winter is very popular.

Along with the history of Nagano Prefecture, visitors can enjoy the culture of Onsen, which has been loved for centuries.

Bessho Onsen, one of the most famous Onsen in the prefecture, is located in Ueda City and is said to be the oldest Onsen in Nagano Prefecture. The history of Bessho Onsen is very long, with records dating back to the Heian Period in the 800s AD.

It is said that many figures in Japanese history visited Bessho Onsen to heal their bodies. Today, Bessho Onsen still retains its elegant townscape and attracts many tourists.

Thus, Nagano Prefecture is an attractive tourist destination where visitors can enjoy both historical spots and Onsen.

Onsen areas

Nozawa Onsen

Nozawa Onsen is an Onsen resort located in Nozawa Onsen Village in northern Nagano Prefecture.

The surrounding area is one of the most popular in Japan, with its rich nature and elegant townscape. Nozawa Onsen has a long history and is known to have been loved by people since ancient times.

In the Onsen resort area, visitors can tour the Onsen, which is filled with steamy water. The sight of local wild vegetables being boiled in an "ogama" is one of Nozawa Onsen Village's most popular attractions.

The attraction of Nozawa Onsen is the "soto-yu tour," where visitors can enjoy the Onsen to their heart's content.

There are 13 public bathhouses, called soto-yu, in the hot spring resort area, where visitors can experience a variety of hot springs for free, and a new 14th (fee-based) facility opened in December 2011, offering even greater variety.

Nozawa Onsen springs are sulfate and sulfur springs. The benefits are wide-ranging, including neuralgia, rheumatism, muscular pain, sensitivity to cold, and bruising.

In addition to Onsen, there are various sightseeing spots such as temples, shrines, and Buddhist temples, as well as the Nozawa Onsen Ski Resort. In particular, the Nozawa Onsen ski resort is one of the most popular in Japan and is crowded with skiers in the winter.

Nozawa Onsen is one of the most popular Onsen resorts in Nagano Prefecture, where visitors can enjoy a wide range of activities, from visiting the Onsens to enjoying the Onsen baths.

Check Nozawa Onsen Guide

Bessho Onsen

Bessho Onsen is an Onsen resort located in Ueda City, Nagano Prefecture.

Bessho Onsen has the longest history of any Onsen resort in Nagano Prefecture, with records dating back to the 800s A.D., and it is believed to have gushed out before that time.

The onsen town is lined with traditional ryokan (Japanese-style inns), and the emotional landscape is somehow calming. There are many places of interest nearby, including Anraku-ji Temple, designated as a national treasure and famous for its three-story octagonal pagoda, and Kitamuki Kannon Hall, which is believed to be the Kannon (Goddess of Mercy) that protects people from bad luck.

Bessho Onsen has three public bathhouses, Ishiyu, Daishiyu, and Oyu, where you can casually enjoy a day trip to the Onsen. Each is inexpensive, so it is recommended that you enjoy visiting all of them during your stroll.

There is also a free footbath in the Onsen resort area, where you can experience the Onsen water and heal your feet after a long day of walking.

In Bessho Onsen, there are also spots where you can drink the Onsen water. Drinking an appropriate amount is said to be effective in decreasing stomach acid and relieving constipation, so why not give it a try if you see one?

Shirahone Onsen

Shirahone Onsen is an Onsen resort located in Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture.

Because the Onsen is located in the mountains, the surrounding area is rich in untouched nature, and the murmuring of the river is very pleasant.

The Onsen has a long history as an Onsen resort, and it is believed to have gushed forth during the Kamakura period (1185-1333), around 1200 AD. The name "Shirahone Onsen" comes from the fact that the Onsen's ingredients adhered to the bathtub and looked like white bones.

Shirahone Onsen, characterized by its cloudy water, contains hydrogen sulfide and calcium in its composition, and turns cloudy white when exposed to air. Some of the water is clear without becoming cloudy white, so it is recommended to try several different Onsen.

The simple hydrogen sulfide spring water is effective for relieving fatigue, liver disease, women's diseases, and beautiful skin. The mildly acidic and hypoallergenic water is characterized by its light and smooth texture.

Drinking Shirahone Onsen is also effective for improving organ function and constipation. Onsen porridge, a local specialty cooked with Onsen water, is also highly recommended.

Why not enjoy Nagano's Onsen atmosphere in a hidden Onsen where you can truly relax in a quiet and tranquil natural environment?

Hirugami Onsen

Hirugami Onsen is an Onsen resort located in Achi Village, Shimoina County, Nagano Prefecture.

Achi Village was recognized by the Ministry of the Environment in 2006 as the first place where the stars can be seen most brilliantly, making it a very famous spot for astronomical observation. In particular, the starry sky seen from the open-air baths is spectacular and will make you forget all your daily stress.

Hirugami Onsen is also known as an Onsen for beautiful skin.

The spring is an alkaline simple sulfur spring with a pH of 9.7 and has a wide range of benefits, including neuralgia, muscle pain, joint pain, stiff shoulders, and movement disorders. After bathing, old keratin is removed from the skin, leaving it smooth and beautiful to the touch.

In addition, visitors can enjoy the blooming peach blossoms at Hirugami Onsen, which are at their best in April. The peach blossoms are at their best in April, when they bloom along the national highway facing the Onsen resort, and the Hanamomo Festival is held from mid-April to early May, attracting many tourists to enjoy the beautiful scenery.

With its serene scenery and beautiful Onsen water, Hirugami Onsen is one of the representative Onsen resorts in Nagano Prefecture.

Kamisuwa Onsen

Kamisuwa Onsen is an Onsen resort located in Suwa City, Nagano Prefecture.

It is known as one of the best sightseeing spots in Nagano Prefecture, with inns and hotels lined up around Lake Suwa, which is the symbol of Suwa City.

There are other attractive spots such as "Suwa Taisha Shrine," which is closely related to the origin of Kamisuwa Onsen, and "Kirigamine Plateau," where you can enjoy the changing seasons.

Among them, the Lake Suwa Geyser Center, located overlooking the lake, is a recommended sightseeing spot where you can see a 5-meter-high geyser up close and enjoy a casual footbath.

In addition to sightseeing, visitors can enjoy the abundant Onsen water at Kamisuwa Onsen. The Onsen boasts one of the largest quantities of Onsen water in Japan at 15,000 kL per day, and the quality of the water is simple Onsen water.

The main benefits include neuralgia, muscle pain, joint pain, sensitivity to cold, insomnia, and more.

The time you spend relaxing and healing your body's fatigue while gazing at the magnificent view of Lake Suwa will be an unforgettable memory of your trip.