Meditate on the Zenkōji Plain from an amazing hot spring
Yomase Onsen is a small hot spring oasis with incredible views from Kita Shiga Kogen’s 1,352-metre Mt Kosha. With snowflakes melting on them as they fall, skiers and snowboarders soak in its famous Tōmi-no-yu outdoor baths (rotenburo) during the deep powder days of winter; when it’s blue skies, they overlook the impressive peaks of the North Japan Alps, rising above the Zenkōji Plain – an especially magnificent a sight at sunset, and during the evening.
The Tōmi-no-yu is part of the Hotel Selan, which also has a private outdoor bath for families and couples. Available in 50-minute sessions for just ¥2,500, it enjoys the same beautiful views as the Tōmi-no-yu and is a popular choice.
During the winter in nearby Jigokudani Monkey Park, the snow monkeys are doing exactly the same, huddled together in their own hot spring baths. The trail-head to the park is around ten minutes from Yomase Onsen by car; alternatively, a free shuttle bus operates between Hotel Selan and Yudanaka Onsen, from where the trail-head is a 15-minute bus ride away.
The Yomase Onsen ski resort shares Mt Kosha with X-Jam Takai Fuji, the home of one of Japan’s biggest snow parks. Their open-access lift pass creates an expansive 117-hectare, 25-slope playground for all riders, with kids parks, ungroomed runs and 47 different snow park terrain features. The X-Jam park is evenly balanced with two beginner to intermediate sections, and two intermediate to advanced sections; jump sizes range from 2 to 14 metres, and the park also has two half-pipes.
Yomase Onsen is 20 minutes by car from Iiyama Station, which is connected by bullet train to Tokyo in 2 hours. Alternatively, a winter shuttle bus connects Yomase Onsen with Yudanaka in 30 minutes, from where Nagano Dentetsu line trains reach Nagano in 45 minutes.
How close is Yomase Onsen to?
Tokyo: 2 hrs 20 min; Iiyama: 20 min