Shibu Onsen is a small hot springs village that’s located in Nagano prefecture.
There are lots of accommodation options where you can soak in hot springs.
There are also options where you can soak in hot springs during the day.
You can find both public and private options.
Shibu Onsen is pretty near Nagano city, and you might consider spending a night or 2 in Nagano.
Nagano is about a 4 hour bus ride from Tokyo. (See my Tokyo to Nagano bus ride.) You can get there quicker by taking a shinkansen bullet train (1.5 hours), which means you can get there with a JR pass. (See how to figure out if a JR pass will be worth it for you.)
Shibu Onsen is also near the Jigokudani snow monkey park.
I walked through Shibu Onsen after a visit to the monkey park.
Basically, this part of the trip was this walking route:
- Jigokudani monkey park to Shibu Onsen
- Walk through Shibu Onsen village streets
- Shibu Onsen to Yudanaka station (to get a train back to Nagano Station)
Or, if you want a more traditional Japanese experience, you might also consider spending a night (or 2!) in this small Japanese village. You can find ryokan accommodation options here which can give you that Japanese atmosphere.
According to the Shibu Onsen Ryokan Association:
Shibu Onsen is a hot spring resort that has a history as long as 1,300 years.
Cobblestone lanes are surrounded by traditional wooden ryokan (Japanese inns), which makes this quaint old town attractive to many visitors.
You will feel the atmosphere of a Japanese onsen village while strolling on these streets in your yukata (light cotton kimono).
Where to stay in Shibu Onsen
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Top places to stay in Shibu onsen
Options at Kokuya including private outdoor hot spring bath
There are also public onsen hot springs you can visit during the day if you don’t want to stay the night.
There is a small tourist information office in Shibu Onsen, and this could be a good first stop to make for recommendations!
Japanese language tips for onsen
Onsen means hot springs in Japanese.
Onsen in Japanese
Hot springs foot bath in Japanese
If you see this, it means there’s a foot bath. It says ashiyu in Japanese.
Onsen egg in Japanese
This says onsen tamago in Japanese, which means hot springs egg.
The google translate app has a feature where you can take a picture of Japanese writing and it will translate it for you.
The walk through Shibu Onsen village streets
And there’s a walk around Shibu Onsen!
Also have a look at taking a walk around the chestnut town of Obuse that’s pretty near Shibu Onsen!
HAPPY HOT SPRINGS VILLAGE VISIT TO SHIBU ONSEN!
How to spend winter in Japan
More quick tips for planning your trip to JapanThere are affiliate links on this page that take you to partner websites.
Among the top 3 things people get specific for a trip to Japan
- JR pass for quick and easy long distance train travel (see price here and see here how to calculate train routes to figure out it's worth it for you)
- Pocket wifi to make travel in Japan easier (see price here)
- Travel insurance for natural disasters just in case especially for travel disruptions (see price here and see here for past natural disaster that affected foreigners)
Food in JapanIf you are in Japan for FOOD, then be sure to see where to try different types of Japanese food! (Sometimes for cheaper!)
And also have a look at some of these cooking classes in Japan too.
If you're looking for a route for winter in Japan, here are some ideas!
- 10 day Japan winter itinerary
- Tokyo to Nagano bus
- 2 days in Nagano with snow monkey pass // Stay at this Nagano hostel (private rooms available)
- A few days in popular ski resort area Hakuba (go here for at least a day even if you don't ski for the winter landscape in the mountains!) // Stay at this Hakuba hostel (private rooms available)
- Hakuba to Takayama (Hakuba to Matsumoto train / a few hours in Matsumoto / Matsumoto to Takayama bus)
- A few days in Takayama with day trips: Shirakawago / Shinhotaka ropeway on a sunny day // Stay at this Takayama hostel (private rooms available) and eat regional Takayama ramen
- Takayama back to Tokyo OR Takayama to Nagoya airport to fly to Hokkaido for more winter landscapes!
Hokkaido winter itinerary (train to get around - there are JR Hokkaido passes available, and you can use a regular JR pass too)
- Sapporo to Asahikawa (Asahikawa for penguin walk at zoo)
- Asahikawa to Abashiri (Abashiri for drift ice cruise)
- Abashiri to Obihiro (night in Obihiro and go to Lake Shikaribetsu ice village the next day)
- Obihiro to Sapporo
- Sapporo to Noboribetsu onsen hot spring town (day trip)
- Sapporo to Hakodate // Stay in this Hakodate hostel
- Hakodate to Tokyo on shinkansen bullet train through the underwater tunnel! (Regular JR pass will be worth it if you take this train ride along with one more long distance train ride within 7 days)
When the JR pass is worth itIn general, 2 long-distance shinkansen train trips will likely end up making it so the JR pass will be worth it. But here's how to calculate it to be sure. See the current price of a JR pass from an official vendor.
Natural disasters in JapanUnfortunately, Japan can be prone to natural disasters which means risk for travel delays. So be sure to look at travel insurance for natural disasters.
My travel insurance took care of my accommodation and food costs when I was forced to stay extra days in Japan because of a typhoon. There have been a few typhoons that have hit Japan in the past couple of years and they can cause real travel disruptions!
See how much insurance costs for your trip.
More for your Japan itinerary
- 5 days in Kyoto
- Cost of climbing Mt Fuji from Tokyo
- Where to go for famous Mt Fuji views as seen in pictures
- Know before you go to Hiroshima
- One day in Miyajima with famous floating torii views
- 3 days in Okinawa, Japan's tropical islands
- Cherry blossom photo walk
- When is the JR pass worth it for train travel?
- Tokyo to Kyoto train
- Hostels in Japan