Hakuba Travel Blog› entry 5 of 9 › view all entries
Away from the bustling city of Tokyo, we made our way to the snowy mountains of Nagano Prefecture. We decided to stay in the village of Hakuba which becomes a skiing resort in the winter, full of foreign visitors, and a holiday destination for the Japanese people in the summer. Our main goal of staying in Hakuba was to visit the monkey onsen in nearby Nagano. An onsen is basically a hotspring in Japanese.
We took the Shinkansen train for the first time during our visit, and the trip took almost 2 hours to Nagano Central Station. From the Central Station, we took a bus to Hakuba train station which didn't have a direct trip to Tokyo.
Hakuba was a cosy village with a neat bus service covering the entire place. Many restaurants are available with diverse themes and decent food around. Additionally, Japanese fuel stations has good shops which you can buy groceries and cooked meals too.
In the night, we booked the monkey onsen full day tour which included a visit to the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan and lunch. The tour guide was really good and kept us entertained. We left straight after breakfast in a coach and headed to the onsen.
After spending time with the monkeys we left for lunch to a small village called Obuse and had our meal in a nice country style restaurant which served decent food cooked on a clay oven/fireplace. It was a 3 course set menu and you can select either fish, meat or chicken as the main course. Nearby was a cluster of shops and groceries.
Departing from Obuse, we headed to our final destination before going back to Hakuba: Zenkoji Temple. The temple which is one of the oldest if not the oldest Buddhist temple in Japan housing an image of Buddha brought in the 7th century. The temple dates back to more than 1400 years. Around the temple was a cluster of shops too selling Japanese sweets and sourvenirs. The onsen was a highlight in our trip to Japan and it is worth while experience.