Shibu Onsen is a small, hot-spring district town in Nagano Prefecture that opens up behind a curtain of stream, revealing traditions and architecture of years passed still standing tall and proud.
This town was discovered 1,300 years ago by a monk named Gyoki, who also has ties to the discovery of a number of other hot springs, including Nozawa Onsen. Fast forwarding to the late 1500s, Takeda Shingen, one of the biggest warlords of Japan’s feudal period took over the area as one of his territories and brought back wounded soldiers to recuperate in the hot springs here. Because of his strong influence over the area, there are still artefacts and documents of his tales found at the local temple. From then on, Shibu Onsen has been a part of Japanese history as a postal town between Zenko-ji, a Buddhist temple and Kusatsu – another famous hot spring town.