The way to Yudanaka
We have arrived at Yudanaka Station after having an amazing 50 minute of watching the beautiful mountain sceneries through the windows of the train from Nagano Station. There were apple farms, colorful and breath-taking landscapes. I didn’t even realize that we have arrived already at our destination.
The Japanese Lifestyle
We stayed our first night at Hotel Yudanaka, where we have experienced a very unique vibe. I had the chance to wear a kimono and sleep on a Japanese bedroom.
Yudanaka is a very preserved yet friendly little town. For dinner, we went to Japanese GOEN Restaurant and enjoyed delicious soup and yakitori where I had the chance to make a my own chicken meatballs with vegetables and finish with noodles and Sake to add a little bit of character.
The next day the hotel served us their Japanese breakfast–which I didn’t like that much because I normally don’t favor pickles for breakfast–( but coffee was good!) After breakfast, the accomodation normally include free ride to the Snow Monkey Mountain trip.
Along the way, we passed by a brewery that opens around 11am for tasting, a buddhist temple and (my favorite of them) the small street adventure with so many little Japanese stores and restaurants along the way. If you are also looking for ATM, you can find it inside the post office.
By the way, the snow welcomed us when we arrived but the next days, the weather got more dry and sunny which made our trek to the snow mountain easier. We finished the night with a bath at the hotspring inside the hotel which was also very interesting to try. I had to be naked with all the other women and enjoyed 10mins of relaxation.
The Snow Monkeys
Female snow monkeys live together while male snow monkeys only join the group when during mate season. They stick together to keep each other warm especially during winter. Just like humans, they are very protective of their children.
A night to remember
We decided to have another night in Yudanaka and moved to another hotel called Shimaya. It was owned by amazing old Japanese couple who were bery accomodating and always try to help out to make every one of their guests trip easier. It was atleast 5-10mins walk from the station. Just like the other hotel, it also had a Japanese style bedrooms. We went to Takayama for dinner, a local restaurant very close to the Japanese GOEN (all walking distance). When we entered the restaurant, there were only locals. The vibe was super authentic Japanese.
We ordered another Japanese soup which turned out to be the food for Sumo wrestlers. (But ofcourse smaller serving good for 2). It was managed by old Japanese Couple as well which the chef was the husband and the wife was the one taking care of the service. Before we left the restaurant, I had a photo only with the chef because the wife was too shy to join the picture.
The group of Japanese guys came over to us after eating to give us a basket of fresh apples from their farm. It was so kind and sweet of them. And just like the other night, we reserved the hotel’s private ONSEN (hotspring), a 3 minute walk from the hotel to bond together since other ONSENS don’t allow couples to be together and we had the whole little cozy place for the night before going back to the hotel. It was such an amazing and unique experience. The cold weather and the hotspring, the wonderful mountains, the amazing culture and food, everything was worth it.