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North west of Nagano City lies the fertile valley of the Chikuma River. This region is well known for its fruit farms and in particular apples the size of your palm! Peaches, blueberries and plums also grow in abundance.

At the end of the private Nagano Dentetsu train line is Yudanaka, a hot spring resort which sits perched in the hills intermingled with Yamanouchi town. There are many hot springs here and the most famous is Shibu Onsen at Jigokudani, which is the chosen home to more than one hundred Japanese snow monkeys, Japan's indigenous primate.

Snow monkeys

The park is located in "Hell Valley" so named because of its hot steam vents, sulphurous streams and other volcanic activity which all serve to naturally heat the spring waters bubbling through the rocks to form hot spring pools. One of these "onsen" baths is for use exclusively by the monkeys that can be seen bathing throughout most of the year, but especially during the cold winter months, when the air temperature drops below freezing and the valley is covered by a thick layer of snow.


Nearby Shiga-kogen offers skiing opportunities in the winter and some good walking routes through the summer months.

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Audley Travel specialist James

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    Our expert guides to exploring Yudanaka

    Written by our specialists from their own experiences of visiting Yudanaka, these guides will help you make the most of your time there. We share both our practical recommendations and the best ways to appreciate Yudanaka at its best.

    • Visiting Japan with your children
      Snow monkeys of Yudanaka

      Visiting Japan with your children

      Visiting Japan with your children

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    Accommodation choices for Yudanaka

    We've selected a range of accommodation options for when you visit Yudanaka. Our choices usually come recommended for their character, facilities and service or location. Our specialists always aim to suggest properties that match your preferences.