2011 Taiwan Nagano 2 Japan

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The highlight of this short trip to Nagano was to stay in Yudanaka Onsen, which is one of the most well known hot springs in Japan.

(1)「湯田中渋温泉郷」(Yudanaka Onsen)

This is the hotel where I stayed. They offered multiple plans but I used 18,000 yen weekday plan. The price includes two meals. The plan was very attractive to me because they were happy to take lone travelers. Similar plans I found all required minimum of two persons.
The hotel is not a modern built. The sign said the hotel was built in 1923 so that the building was 88 year-old (at least its foundation was). The hotel earns a high mark in review not because of the building but because of the food they provide and the hospitality they offer.
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Not many guests were there on regular weekdays. My name (新村) was shown on a welcome board.
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This is the guest room where I stayed, just for myself. A bath room is also inside the guest room.
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You need to pass a bridge to get to a hot spring bath. There were two hot spring baths. One for men and another for women. The role was swapped once in a day so that guests could try both.
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This was one of the hot spring baths inside the hotel. The guests in the hotel also could use the community-maintained public hot spring baths as well.
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I arrived on the last day of a festival and there were fireworks, which lasted more than an hour.
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(2)「志賀高原」 (Shiga Highlands)

Shiga Highlands are known for hiking in summer and skiing in winter. The elevations are all above 1000m (3000 feet) so it is cool in summer and gets abundant snow in winter. In recent years, some small ski resorts in Shiga Highlands were forced to shut down the operation due to the ever-shrinking skiing population in Japan.
It provides well-marked hiking trails ranging from less than one mile hiking courses to full day hiking courses. But many people were actually huddling around a lake nearby to hotels.
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I saw many senior hikers, like the couple in the photo. Currently pensioners are only people spending money in Japan. They are spending money to stimulate the economy in Japan.
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In ancient times, it was believed that gods lived in every high mountains.
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The highest peak I climbed was 2108m high (6916 feet).
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A lake in the middle of Shiga Highlands.
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A couple completing their hike for the day. The mountain was colored by fall foliage. Fall season in this area is short. Snow is coming to high mountains soon.
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This is one of the public hot spring baths that were maintained by the community in Yudanaka Onsen. Note that there was a small shrine for a deity.
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