JAPAN Inspiration Gallery 1 Japan
Back to Listing

Yudanaka

If visiting the Japan Alps in the winter months then the snow monkeys are a must see, and even in the milder months they are very entertaining. They manage to be at once noble and comical, 'kowai' (alarming) yet 'kawaii' (cute) – much like Japan itself, in fact. They have become a major visitor attraction so expect crowds and rather staged attempts by the wardens to keep them in the baths by throwing in food. Although camera-wielding tourists can be off putting, seeing baby monkeys interact with each other and cuddle into their mothers up close makes it a very worthwhile stop when making your way through the Japan Alps. Also, the walk to the monkey park is scenic in itself, as one follows a winding pathway through the pine tree forest, passing a traditional 'torii' gate Shinto shrine along the way.

Following the monkeys’ lead, and luxuriate in the natural piping hot spring water of this village yourself. We suggest making your way to the nearby Shibu 'onsen' village at the foot of the hill, by crossing the red bridge over an aquamarine river, to experience a blissful soak. Numerous traditional ryokan onsen line the cobbled streets in a charming manner, and steam rises from under your feet to fill the fresh, chilly air around you. Join the few fellow onsen visitors in their traditional ‘yukata’ robes and wooden sandals wandering down the street, and take your pick between the public bath houses. Each onsen is separated by gender and their mineral rich waters vary in unique healing properties, which are believed to cure different ailments. Anime fans will be particularly thrilled by the multi-story wooden buildings that house the onsen here, as these architectural structures date back over 400 years, meaning that the village is reminiscent of the award-winning Ghibli film, 'Spirited Away'.

Yudanaka is a sleepy town – ideal for a rural rest and conversing with friendly locals keen to practice their English, but sadly good restaurants are thin on the ground here so we recommend staying in a 'ryokan' inn or 'minshuku' B&B to be served delicious breakfasts and dinners. A stay here will also guarantee a quintessential Japanese rural experience, complete with traditional kimono, slippers and futon beds.

Approximately one hour by local train from Nagano city, Yudanaka is a welcome addition to any itinerary in the Japan Alps. As it is the only place in the world with an 'onsen' exclusively for monkeys, we recommend it for all ages. One can also stop off at the town of Obuse en-route to admire one of the best collections of Hokusai’s artworks.

Features in the following itineraries

Yudanaka Japan (2).jpg Yudanaka Japan (2).jpg
Yudanaka Japan (3).jpg Yudanaka Japan (3).jpg
Yudanaka Japan (1).jpg Yudanaka Japan (1).jpg
Yudanaka, Japan (5).JPG Yudanaka, Japan (5).JPG
Yudanaka, Japan (7).JPG Yudanaka, Japan (7).JPG
Yudanaka, Japan (6).JPG Yudanaka, Japan (6).JPG
Yudanaka, Japan (4).JPG Yudanaka, Japan (4).JPG
Yudanaka Japan 1 Yudanaka Japan 1
Yudanaka Japan Yudanaka Japan
Yudanaka Japan 3 Yudanaka Japan 3
Yudanaka Japan 6 Yudanaka Japan 6
My favourite thing is to go where I've never been.
Diane Arbus

I had a very lovely time and was looked after splendidly. My first visit to India could not have been better, save for being longer! But I shall return at some point and I shall look to you to make the arrangements.
- Matthew Nicklin, North India
So many highlights to choose from! The hotels were amazing but Maya Villa was a highlight… I loved just hanging out in the hammock reading my book and watching the peacocks chase the cows!
- Krista Weir, Sri Lanka
Ampersand’s details preparation, attention to detail and interaction before and during our trip show exactly why good travel agents have a role in today’s internet/direct booking age. Shalmali was a delight to work with – before and during our trip.
- Mr David Wallace, North India
Everything you did for us whilst we were away was hugely appreciated, and Ampersand has been exemplary in every way. I'll always recommend you!
- Mr Richard Stoughton, Sri Lanka
We had a wonderful holiday - everything was perfect. Thank you for helping us to make a thoughtful plan to enjoy and make most out of our trip. The places we visited, the guides, the transportation and driver, the hotels selected... Everything was great!
- Jaime Benitez, South India
Without question, you put together the best trip I have ever taken. We were shown around like visiting dignitaries, the hotels were fantastic and the itinerary was just right. Everybody I know will hear about how amazing Ampersand is!
- Leslie Siben, India
I thought the Ampersand team was outstanding. We couldn’t have hoped for anything more.
- Mr Geoffrey Johnson, India
Difficult to articulate just how good the service from you and your team really was. We know you will continue to do well and hope we have the chance to seek your assistance again before long.
- Mr & Mrs Manson, North India

From our Instagram

The exhilarating city of #Tokyo has a world-renowned culinary scene & rightfully so! 🇯🇵
.
Be tempted to join ‘salarymen’ for an evening drink and #yakitori in restaurants and bar likes this 🏮🏮
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Cascading rice terraces greet you in #Ubud 🍃🍃🍃
.
Balinese women make daily offerings of vibrant flowers and fruit to the gods 🍊🍐🍌🍎🌺💐
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
From mid May to mid October, The Ultimate Travelling Camp’s wonderful #ChambaCamp in #Thiksey (#Ladakh) will be open! 🏞
.
Our specialists stayed at this one-of-a-kind luxury tented camp last year and adored it - we guarantee that you will too 🏕
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Sunsets at the @gallefacehotel are the best welcome to #Colombo, especially when watching their flag ceremony from the iconic checkerboard terrace with a G&T in hand 🌅
.
We also love the wonderful @maniumpathy_boutique_hotel, which is truly an oasis of tranquility within this city 🌿
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Peek into the Himalayan Kingdom of #Bhutan & discover its extraordinary natural beauty with us 🇧🇹
.
Vibrant hues compliment earthy tones at every corner, especially within the hotly-anticipated #SixSensesBhutan lodges & at the beautiful @gangteylodge 🍂✨
.
📸 captured by @jamesjayasundera along his @sixsensesbhutan journey
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
#Milaidhoo is magic at all hours - be it in broad daylight, at sunset or under a starry sky - as our General Manager @emilyjanegillman witnessed last week!🏝
.
The ultimate beach destination, the #Maldives can easily top or tail a tailor-made Ampersand tour & makes for a perfect honeymoon 🇲🇻
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Atmospheric rural villages, mirror-still lakes and gracious locals sum up #Myanmar (#Burma) for us 🌅
.
📸 courtesy of @zayyarlin84
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Perched up high in the Himalayan Kingdom, the new #SixSenses lodges sit in prime positions in #Bhutan
.
Our favourites are the sleek properties in #Paro and #Thimphu, for these offer phenomenal sweeping views over the pristine valleys below to the mountains beyond, which sit perfectly at eye-level
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience
Happy #Holi to all of you! 🇮🇳✨
.
‘Traditionally to welcome the coming of spring, this joyful festival is filled with colour, music, dancing and great energy’ @the_ampersander
.
#AmpersandTravel #LuxuryIsInTheExperience

Let us keep you up to date

Sign up to our newsletter and never miss out on unmissable exclusive luxury experiences