Nagano is known for its snowy mountains, rural Japanese villages, and natural scenery. Nestled somewhere within these picturesque landscapes is a collection of traditional Japanese inns—known as ‘ryokans’—perfect for a serene escape! What sets these ryokans apart are their exclusive private onsens, allowing guests to rejuvenate with an intimate experience.

If you’re heading to Nagano and can’t figure out where to stay—and are seeking a truly immersive experience—you’ve landed the right spot! In this blog post, I list the top 10 Nagano ryokans with private onsen that will provide you with a stay you’ll reminisce about for years to come.

Wafu no Yado Masuya | View on

Featuring beautiful Japanese-style rooms, Wafu-no-Yado MASUYA is a clean and contemporary ryokan in Yamanouchi awaiting your arrival. It features private (in-room) onsens, semi-open air, made of Japanese cypress wood, as well as private outdoor hot spring baths.

Here, you can book spacious rooms with Japanese-style futons or twin Western-style beds complemented by tatami-mat flooring. As a part of your stay, you can devour Asian breakfast and multi-course dinner meals served in private dining rooms. 

Masuya offers a sauna room as well as a powder room. Women can choose from 50 colorful light Japanese robes, called yukatas, and can also participate in a flower-pressing cultural activity—a speciality of this ryokan’s proprietress.

Needless to say, Masuya is famous among women for all its feminine touches!

Hotel Saginoyu | View on TripAdvisor

Embrace lakeside luxury at Hotel Saginoyu, a century-old onsen ryokan situated on the bank of Lake Suwa. Seven of its 49 guest rooms have their own private open-air hot spring baths, where you can let your worries melt away in a secluded paradise. Guests can also enjoy the onsen coming from the ryokan’s own spring source at its public open-air baths.

The ryokan offers a range of facilities, including a gallery of Japanese-style paintings as well as a courtyard with footbath. Tip: If you don’t prefer your room to be filled with light in the morning, request an east-facing room as the windows don’t have light-blocking curtains.

Matsumoto Jujo | View on

Journey to the historic Matsumoto and discover the elegance of Matsumoto Jujo, offering both Japanese and Western-style accommodation areas. From an inner courtyard view to mountain and garden vistas, there’s plenty to marvel at.

There are indoor/outdoor hot-spring baths that can be reserved for private use, excellent cuisines, and incredibly spacious rooms. Some guests appreciate the personalized welcome notes they receive on arrival, making them feel at home.

While you’re in the city, don’t forget to satisfy your inner history buff at the Matsumoto Castle and Matsumoto Folkcraft Museum, only a 10-minute drive away from this Nagano onsen ryokan.

Aburaya Tousen | View on

Another Nagano onsen ryokan in Yamanouchi is Aburaya Tousen: a luxurious contemporary Japanese-style accommodation. Here, you can choose from 11 types of hot-spring baths—these are mostly outdoor onsens, and offer wrap-around mountain views you’ll absolutely love.

You can also choose between Western-style and Japanese-style rooms (with tatami-mat flooring and traditional futons). Delving into seasonal local dishes at their private dining rooms is a must—and if you’re in for a drink or two, there’s also a quaint rooftop with a bar!

At the end of the day, you can curl up around the fireplace in the lounge. Even better, treat yourself to a (reservable) massage at their “bed rock bath” sauna. 

Kose Onsen | View on

Get lost in the verdant green depths of the national forest at the Kose Onsen Hotel. Housing natural hot-spring baths in the tranquil hills of Kose, this ryokan with private onsen offers a serene retreat. Enjoy the luxury of solitude by making a reservation to privately use the hot spring bath (free of charge). All you will hear is the rustling of trees and the gushing of river water as you immerse yourself into a hot bath.

Once done, devour seasonal dishes prepared with fresh ingredients by the hotel chef. The rooms have a seating area, TV, and electric kettle, and private bathrooms are fitted with a bath and shower as well as free toiletries.

Shimaya | View on

A budget traveler’s pick should be Yamanouchi’s Shimaya Ryokan, which is the most affordable pick on our list. It is a family-run accommodation with four floors—and no elevator. If you have mobility issues, be sure to request a room on one of the lower floors.

Here, you can enjoy wifi, parking, essential toiletries, and yukata robes as a part of free amenities. A traditional, reservable private onsen can be enjoyed at a fraction of the price of an in-room onsen—so you can snag a relaxing experience without creating a hole in your pocket. The best part? This outdoor onsen overlooks the Nagano mountains!

A traditional kaiseki multi-course dinner as well as breakfast, served in their retro-style dining room, can be arranged at an additional fee. If you want to explore the area, Shimaya offers free transfers to the Jigokudani Monkey Park as well as tourist information pamphlets for guidance.

Sakaeya | View on

Nestled in the center of the Shibu hot-spring area is Sakaeya—a modern traveler’s dream, and definity a splurge. If you’re willing to spend to have the ultimate experience (with a kaiseki breakfast and dinner included), this Nagano ryokan with private onsen is where to head. You will first be greeted with a complimentary sweet snack and green tea, setting you in the right mood for a memorable stay. Later, you can enjoy an on-site indoor/outdoor hot-spring bath (yukata robes are available), followed by relaxing in the lounge.

All the rooms are Western-style, fully air-conditioned, and have private bathrooms. Some special rooms with private onsens—remodeled just recently—have a modern Japanese design and sleek patio exteriors. If you’re celebrating, this Nagano onsen ryokan offers room decorations (at an added cost) and celebratory messages on dessert plates. You can also relax with a massage at the sauna or take a cold waterfall bath.

Be sure to grab a little something—reminiscent of your travels—from the souvenir shop before heading out!

Onyado Hishiya Torazo | View on

Teleport to the Edo-era amidst the wooden interior and traditional decorations of the Onyado Hishiya Torazo. Fun fact: This Nagano ryokan with private onsen in the Shibu hot-spring area has been operating since the 1840s and has been run by 13 generations! It features two indoor onsens as well as one picturesque stone outdoor onsen that can be reserved for private use.

The rooms are air-conditioned and have shared bathrooms with private toilets. There is also a shared lounge area with a tea station. A unique experience here is making paper crafts at the Origami Gallery. And if these aren’t enough to remind you of the memorable time spent here, you can always grab some traditional items from the on-site souvenir shop.

Hoshinoya Karuizawa | View on TripAdvisor

Escape the city and take a deep breath in the picturesque town of Karuizawa. Ref: the ryokan of Hoshinoya Karuizawa, nestled in a richly forested mountain setting. Spend a day on the woodland trails and treat yourself to seasonal cuisine. Finally, enjoy spa treatments inspired by Zen precepts, and watch your worries melt away in a cypress-bath soak in the privacy of your room.

Whether you want to chill in the library or have a champagne in the evening to enjoy a nightcap, the amenities of this Nagano onsen ryokan have a little something for every type of traveler. Such luxury also equates to higher costs, though!

Hotel Housei | View on

Traveling with a group? Hotel Housei is where to head for an in-room onsen—especially if you’re on a budget. This Nagano onsen ryokan is another one of Yamanouchi’s gems. The rooms are Japanese-style and offer beautiful mountainous vistas. The in-room onsens resemble a mini indoor public onsen, with attached showers as well as a large hot-spring fed bath for soaking.

You can enjoy free shuttle service to nearby attractions (including the Jigokudani Monkey Park), and local handicrafts can be purchased from the souvenir shop. You can also grab your favorite goodies from the vending machine and, when needed, seek assistance from the 24-hour front desk.


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