Visiting a traditional onsen town in Japan should be on the bucket list for all visitors. The traditional ryokan, stunning landscape scenery, and reputable hospitality of the locals all come together to create the most enticing weekend trip away.
Nozawa onsen is a historic onsen town located in Nagano. Its history of over 1000 years makes it one of the region’s oldest onsen towns. You can feel how deep the cultural roots run in this town as you take in the beautifully maintained building structures and undisturbed natural beauty surrounding it.
Nozawa onsen is extraordinarily popular during winter as it becomes a lively snow destination for locals and tourists alike. After a long day on the ski fields, there’s nothing better than to kick back and relax in a steaming hot onsen with the snow-capped mountains looming in the distance as your view.
If you’re looking at booking a ryokan in Nozawa, look no further. We’ve pulled together a list of the 10 best ryokan in Nozawa Onsen that you should try in 2023.
1. Nakajimaya Ryokan
This rustic ryokan is reminiscent of something straight from historical Japan. It’s got a charming traditional interior that’s flanked by greenery during the warmer months and covered in snow during winter – it’s an absolute stunner!
There is a natural onsen on-site for both genders to enjoy, and guests can organize traditional Japanese cuisine for dinner in the charming dining room.
It’s located only a short walk from the main street of Nozawa Onsen bus stop, in a secluded street that offers peace and tranquility.
Guests Tips: If you’re looking for the ultimate onsen experience, try the onsite one, and then hop across the road to try the other ones. The walk to the base of the ski field is only a few minutes but it is uphill so be wary, especially if you have young kids or lots of equipment.
Book It Now: Nakajimaya Ryokan
2. Residence Yasushi
Residence Yasushi is the perfect amalgamation of old-school aesthetics that meets contemporary convenience. The exterior of this onsen is gorgeously simplistic and the interior makes optimum use of carpet and timber flooring, the option of western bedding or futons, and modern bathrooms.
Let’s not forget the charming private onsen that can be booked by guests! To make the most of your stay, we suggest speaking to the front desk about the option of securing the onsen for some R&R whilst you’re there.
Guests Tips: They provide a yukata here for afternoon strolls so make sure you leave some time in your itinerary to get dressed up and take in the ambiance outside!
Book It Now: Residence Yasushi
The grand exterior of Tokiwaya onsen looks as though it were pulled from a studio Ghibli film, with throwbacks to Japanese architecture, timber aesthetics, and warm-lit windows. However, don’t let it fool you, because the interior is super welcoming!
All guest rooms are larger in size than the average room in Japan, with ample space for you to relax. You have the option of futon bedding or western-style bedding, with low furniture and shoji wallpaper sliding doors.
The most impressive feature of this onsen would be its location. It’s literally in the middle of Nozawa Onsen, with the famous Oyu onsen a stone’s throw away (10m!). It is a 90-minute bus ride from JR Nagano, and free parking is available for all guests.
Guests Tips: The breakfast is worth booking if you don’t have plans for the morning – super traditional and only using the freshest ingredients.
Book It Now: Tokiwaya
Shirakaba is definitely one of the best ryokan in Nozawa onsen!
It’s an adorable Japanese inn that will instantly charm you with its stunning timber-built entrance. This traditional ryokan is one of the most popular options in the area, with it being only a short walk from the main street, private bathrooms included in all guest rooms, and stunning views of the surrounding hills.
It also boasts an indoor onsen that can be accessed by all guests of the property. The traditional breakfast and dinner served here are one of the best, so we highly recommend booking that with your stay!
Guest Tips: It’s a great location for those looking to access the Nozawa ski fields. Book the traditional breakfast, it was one of the best meals during the entire Japan trip.
Book It Now: Shirakaba
5. Toemu Nozawa
For a relaxed, cozy, no-frills stay at Nozawa Onsen, look no further than Toemu Nozawa. This old-school ryokan will bring the vibes of traditional Japan from the moment you enter the ryokan right to your guest room.
Stunning shoji wallpaper sliding doors combine with the tatami mat flooring to create the ultimate Japanese aesthetic. The futon bedding has been touted as one of the most comfortable to sleep on, and there is also a beautiful public onsen bath to relax into after spending a long cold day at the slopes.
It also boasts a fantastic location, with it being central to 13 free communal hot spring baths that you can check out!
Guests Tips: Highly recommended as accommodation for groups visiting the ski fields. There are free snacks in the common living area and they also offer free transport to the bus stop.
Book It Now: Toemu Nozawa
6. Nozawa Dream Central
Nozawa Dream Central is a budget-friendly accommodation option that ticks all the boxes and even includes 5-star service!
Firstly, it’s central, being a close walk to many restaurants, bars, and onsen baths. It also boasts a storage cupboard, a flat-screen TV, and a shared bathroom for every guest room. Its guest rooms are slightly smaller than you may expect, but given its prime location to many other things, you likely won’t spend much time there!
A buffet breakfast is supplied for all guests every morning, and the hosts here are some of the friendliest you’ll ever come across.
Guest Tips: The hosts will go above and beyond to help you out, so don’t be afraid to ask them for advice and recommendation. It’s close to the shuttle bus pick-up stop for the gondola to the fields so if you’re looking to go skiing, this is a fantastic location.
Book It Now: Nozawa Dream Central
7. Masuya Ryokan
Masuya Ryokan is a sweet ryokan located in central Nozawa Onsen with some distinctly traditional elements that will make you feel like you’ve been transported back in time.
Think of adorable floral carpeting, stunning public onsen baths, tatami flooring in guest rooms, and low furniture to relax in. Masuya Ryokan serves a mean traditional Japanese breakfast and dinner, in the traditional dining room that exudes charm and elegance.
Book It Now: Masuya Ryokan
8. Ryokan Sakaya
Ryokan Sakaya is definitely on the fancier end of the spectrum. This elegant building boasts spacious guest rooms with stunning views of the mountains, a beautiful indoor public onsen (with views of the snow in winter), and a breathtaking outdoor onsen surrounded by nature.
All rooms offer a private bathroom with a bathtub, and guests can opt to book in a massage, relax in the sauna, or even reserve the private onsen at no extra charge. We highly recommend doing this when you’re checking in to ensure you nab a spot during your stay!
Guests Tips: It is only a short walk to the ski resort escalator, so definitely consider this place if you’re visiting the ski fields. We highly recommend booking the breakfast and dinner at the ryokan, as it may be a tad far to walk out to restaurants.
Book It Now: Ryokan Sakaya
9. Nozawa Onsen Azegamikan
Clean, spacious, comfortable – what else could you want in an authentic ryokan stay?
Nozawa Onsen Azegamikan offers large guest rooms that are fit for kings. With clean, well-maintained tatami mat flooring, low traditional Japanese furniture, and ample space to just rest and relax around the room, Nozawa Onsen Azegamikan is where you’d want to be after a long cold day in the mountains.
It’s also located just minutes away from the popular Ogama Hot Spring, the Yu Road travelator to the gondola, and the famous Takinoyu onsen facility.
Guests Tips: Remember to book the private onsen at the front desk, it’s an amazing experience. The breakfast is highly recommended for its deliciousness and convenience, albeit it’s a tad expensive.
Book It Now: Nozawa Onsen Azegamikan
10. Nozawa Dream
This adorably quaint ryokan is like a guesthouse and traditional Japanese inn rolled into one cuddly accommodation. Featuring a warm and welcoming common area for all guests, cozy guest rooms with the fluffiest futon bedding, and even a flat-screen TV, and a buffet breakfast, Nozawa Dream offers bang for your buck.
It’s located only a 5-minute walk from the Nozawa Onsen Snow Resort, and is also only a few minute’s walks from the center of the Nozwa Onsen town area – the perfect location for all travelers!
Guests Tips: The staff is super friendly and knowledgeable, so make sure you go to them if you need any advice or tips. The buffet breakfast is varied with lots of options for everyone, so make sure you don’t skip it! There is also covered parking located just a few minute’s away.
Book It Now: Nozawa Dream
We hope you enjoyed this extensive list of some of the best ryokan in Nozawa Onsen!
The difficult choice now would be: which one do you go with?
With the majority of them being centrally located, and offering some prime views within an authentic space, we know it’s going to be a tough one for you!
If you do decide to stay in one that we’ve listed, let us know how your experience goes!
And if you are now sure about what are the rules in a Japanese traditional inn, make sure to read our post about Ryokan Etiquette.