Travel to the Majestic Mountains and Hot Springs of Shinetsu. Enjoy Nature in Nagano & Niigata | Guidable - Your Guide to a Sustainable, Wellbeing-centred Life in Japan

Travel to the Majestic Mountains and Hot Springs of Shinetsu. Enjoy Nature in Nagano & Niigata

By Alex Gray Jun 30, 2020

Shin’etsu is the local name for the area comprising Nagano and Niigata Prefectures. This region is known for its beautiful mountains, refreshing hot springs, ski resorts, and the world-renowned Snow Monkey Park. Go skiing in the powdery snow-capped mountains of Myoko, Niigata in the winter, and mountain trekking in the summer. Soak in exquisite hot springs, walk mountain trails, go horse riding, and forest-bathe in Nagano. Nagano is also famous for Karuizawa, a slow-paced, nature-filled vacation spot for city-dwellers. If nature and baths aren’t your thing, Karuizawa is a great place to shop in boutique stores and shopping outlets. 

Travel to Shinetsu to Enjoy the Mountains and Hot Springs of Nagano and Niigata

We have four outstanding accommodations to introduce. Luxurious resorts with mountain views or cozy log houses amidst the trees, whatever your style or preference, we know you will find something you like. A vacation home, you will want to visit again and again. 

LOTTE Arai Resort

Are you looking for a favorite resort you can visit all year round? Well, look no further than LOTTE Arai Resort, a premium mountain resort. Outdoor activities in the summer, skiing in a white wonderland during the winter, in all seasons there’s something for everyone!

LOTTE Arai Resort is in Myoko, Niigata, 2 hours from Tokyo by Shinkansen. It’s easy to get to with a free shuttle bus from Joetsumyoko Station (reservations required). The resort is next to the Myoko-Togakushi Renzan National Park, home to Mt. Myoko, an impressive stratovolcano mountain. As well as various mountains, onsen (hot springs), local towns, vineyards, and lakes are all nearby attractions not to be missed. 

The 257 rooms at the resort are stylish and comfortable. With seventeen different rooms to choose from, there’s bound to be something for you. From Superior, Deluxe, Premier, Grand, and Presidential, sizes vary from 23.1㎡ to 319.4㎡. Rooms include plentiful amenities so you can leave yours at home! Rest well on your he:on bed to send you to a perfect slumber. Wake up to a stunning view of Mt. Okenashi from your full-length windows, and take in that fresh air. 

With on-site restaurants, lounges, food courts, a bakery, bars and pubs, and a karaoke bar, guests are spoilt for choice when looking for dining options. There are options for both Japanese and Western cuisine, and in winter the Korean and steak restaurants that have been closed due to the Coronavirus are expected to re-open. Available on the resort are hot springs, a pool, spa ski rental and shopping, conference rooms, and even a winery that will re-open in time for the ski season.

LOTTE Arai Resort in Summer 

Visit LOTTE Arai Resort in the summer “green season” to breathe in the fresh mountain air and enjoy outdoor activities. See the mountain in its lush, green glory. 

There are plenty of activities offered by the resort, both Adventure and ACE (Active & creative Entertainer) experience-based activities. If you like heights, you can swing through the forest at Tree Adventure. Check out the beautiful views on the River View course, but careful, don’t look down! For an even bigger thrill, adrenaline seekers can try out the Zip Tour, a line that slides down from 950 to 710 meters altitude in three, wonderous minutes. As of January 2018, this is the longest zip line in Asia at 1,501 meters in length. Marvel at the stunning views of the Takada plains and the Hokushinetsu mountains while you pass by, or take the Kokenashi Lift for a calmer ride. The Zip Line is a separate activity that changes depending on weather and speed towards the 170-meter drop. The Tubing Zone has an incline of up to 17 degrees, features six courses. Bounce on trampolines, climb in bouldering and play games with family and friends such as giant chess, floor curling, Olympic sport Boccia, and more in the playground. 

As for the summer ACE activities, you can cycle around the woodland roads, relax in wood-surrounded hammocks, cook your dinner at the BBQ area, walk in the forest, take a sake brewery course, origami, bug hunting, and woodcraft. End your day with sparklers in the plaza. Outside the resort, travel by car or public transport to Nagano’s Hokushin for lake and temple sightseeing, shop at Takada Shopping Street or Roadside Station Arai, or join the hop-on Joetsu One Day Course. 

LOTTE Arai Resort in Winter

In winter, the resort turns into a beautiful, white wonderland. Ski or snowboard on the famous powdery snow, or join the fun winter activities. 

Skiing and snowboarding at LOTTE Arai Resort is the ultimate experience with high levels of powder snow accumulation to boast about. Glide through the fifteen different ski courses, with a total of 2.12㎢ total skiing area and eight areas of ungroomed snow, the longest ski-run distance being 5.2km. With the course ratio at 25% for beginners, 40% for intermediate and advanced at 35%, there’s a course for everyone. Can’t ski? The resort has a snow school that offers skiing lessons in English and Japanese for beginners. No ski wear? No worries! Rent your gear or treat yourself to some new clothes at the rental shop.

Not into skiing or snowboarding? Try out Snowshoe or Snowmobile Tours! Snowshoes allow you to hike in the snowy landscapes and natural beauty of Mt. Okenashi, without sinking through the snow. Pass through the trails or play in the newly fallen snow. Riders of all experience can join the Snowmobile Tours. Fly through the forests of Okazawa with a woodland expert and take in the wilderness. For adventure nuts, Zip Tour, Zip Line, Tubing, and the indoor playground are all available in the winter months as well as the summer.  

ACE activities include the winter addition of calligraphy and snow igloo making. Making snow igloos, also known as “kamakura,” is free for guests and consists of an explanation about the tools and a photograph of your creation. The brewery, shopping, and Joetsu course are also available in winter. 

With beautiful scenic walks among the blooms in spring and vibrant red foliage in autumn, LOTTE Arai Resort has something for everyone in all seasons! Are you ready to take the trip? 


Relax in beautiful, nature-filled Karuizawa at Logtei. Take in the delightful wooden aroma that transports you to a serene forest. Feel the comfort and warmth of the log house setting and spend your time, unlike that of a typical vacation home.

Logtei is a log house accommodation and restaurant 400 m from Naka-Karuizawa Station in Karuizawa Town, Nagano Prefecture. At just 5 minutes from the station, you can’t beat Logtei’s ease of access. It is a very convenient location close to popular shopping outlets and tree-lined Kyu-Karuizawa Ginza Street with its cafes and eateries. Hoshino Onsen and Harunire Terrace, a riverside site with restaurants and specialty shops, are a mere 20-minute walk away. 

There are three cottages available at Logtei: Couples Cottage, Family Cottage and Center Cottage. The Couples Cottage sleeps up to 3 people, Family Cottage up to 6 and Center Cottage up to 23! All rooms have a TV, toilet, bath/shower, fridge, microwave, and amenities such as a hairdryer, toothbrush, shampoo, and towels. The Family Cottage Deluxe also has a kitchen. Plans with or without meals are available. Breakfast is a buffet-style, should you choose to add it on, and dinner options are yakiniku, shabu-shabu, or sukiyaki (with a salad bar).

The Center Cottage fits groups of 10 to 23 people so is perfect for business, university club, or school trips. Additional services available to the Center Cottage sleepers include a coin laundry, lounge, access to the BBQ terrace, and a stone bath to relax after a day of sightseeing or shopping. You can even book massages if you are staying for a business trip. 

In addition to the baths in each cottage, there is one private bath available for reservation. The spacious family bath accommodates four people and is open to book 24 hours a day. In the winter months, Logtei can help you with your rental ski wear, boards, and shoes, so you will be prepared to set off in nearby ski resorts. 

As the Log House Restaurant is also on the premises, you will not go hungry! Bringing in outside food from the supermarket and convenience store is allowed, but why would you want to if you can eat at the BBQ restaurant! The restaurant specializes in meat dishes such as yakiniku, sukiyaki, shabu-shabu, and has a special discount offer on ending soon! Customers who quote the Logtei homepage will be given a 5% discount from now until the end of July. 

If you are looking for a comfortable place to stay, a home-from-home, then Logtei is waiting for you. With your own space and privacy, and all the facilities on offer, you can use this wooden lodge wonderland as a vacation home, one you want to come back to year after year.

Resort Garni CORU

Another Nagano recommendation for your escape from the city is Resort Garni CORU in Nagawa Town. Relax in a lodge situated in the beautiful Nagano woods at an altitude of 1,500m. Enjoy trekking in the mountains, horse riding, and even cosplay photoshoots!

Resort Garni CORU is in the beautiful area of Himekidaira, famous for its beautiful trekking spots. CORU is in the middle of Utsukushigahara, Mount Kirigamine, and Yatsugatake with excellent access to mountain trekking. It even has a Kita Yatsugatake Ropeway & Accommodation Pack Plan for mountain lovers that include a ropeway round-trip with accomodation and lunch. From there, you can experience full-scale climbs to famous Mt. Kita-Yokodake, Mt. Shimakare, and Mt. Chausu.

Resort Garni CORU offers seven types of rooms for all styles of travelers: those traveling alone, as a couple, with families and in groups. Rooms provided include a Semi-Double, Double Room, Twin Room, Japanese Room, Family Room, Japanese Room with Loft, and a Condominium. The Condominium room is the largest and popular with long-stay travelers. It has a system kitchen, refrigerator, stove, and dishes, perfect for your long-term stay in Japan. Each room has a washbasin, hairdryer, toothbrush, razor, face towel, TV, and refrigerator. There is a private tatami bath available for rental by room, and a shared bathroom on the first floor for rooms without private bathrooms. 

Other facilities include a dining space where meals are taken for those on a meal plan with a free-drink area. There are several plan options to choose from: the Standard Plan with half board that includes breakfast and dinner, two nights and three meals plan, a B&B plan with breakfast, a no-meal stay only plan, and a visit plus horse riding activity package. You can choose the package right for you, depending on your stay. 

As well as trekking, there are other ways to enjoy the beautiful nature of Resort Garni CORU. One example is horse riding, something usually not easily experienced in daily life in the city. CORU provides a 20% discount coupon to be used at the affiliated facility, Minowa Equestrian Club. Experienced and beginner riders are welcome to enjoy leisurely mountain-view rides. An accommodation package is also available as a special price one-day all-you-can-ride + 2 nights with lunch! Riders can bring their own, or you can rent boots and a riding helmet. 

Another popular activity is the cosplay photoshoots. Nagawa Town is a beautiful area with idyllic natural surroundings and traditional buildings perfect for your background. Resort Garni CORU offers a cosplay plan with free early check-in and late check-out (worth 3,000 yen), so you can change before heading off to create your photo masterpiece. You will need to make a reservation with the Nagawa Cosplay Circle, check out the website for more details. 

Whether it’s sleeping in serene woodland, hiking breathtaking mountains, trotting down forest paths, or creating your other-world photogenic background, Resort Garni CORU has some unique things to offer. You’d struggle to find them all in one place elsewhere. 

Karuizawa Club Hotel Karuizawa 1130

Karuizawa Club Hotel Karuizawa 1130 is a resort hotel nestled in the deep forest of the Joshinetsu Kogen National Park. At 1130 meters above sea level, magnificent vistas can be enjoyed right from the resort. Take in nature’s beauty in Kita-Karuizawa Kogen. Relax in a resort surrounded by nature, your private vacation home. Wonder at unspoiled nature in all four seasons. Dine on exquisite meals and relax in the open-air baths. 

The private baths are a luxury not to be missed. Rooms with a bath on the 7th and 8th floors allow you to enjoy the dynamic view of Mt. Asama in all its glory, and the surrounding forests. Enjoy natural hot spring water in the ‘open-air forest baths’ (2nd and 3rd floors) and ‘terrace open-air baths’ (4th floor), which come with Shigaraki-yaki pottery baths. You can enjoy the natural hot spring water from the privacy of your own room. Rooms are cozy yet spacious, feel at home in your private vacation home. The resort offers fifteen different rooms depending on the size of your party and your bath and view preference. Feel like you are bathing outside in the woods with the ‘open-air forest bath’ room, or travel with your beloved pet and stay in the Dog Room. 

If you prefer to choose a room without a private bath, Hotel Karuizawa 1130 has you covered. Bathe in the open-air Onioshi onsen. With its sodium sulfate skin-beautifying waters running directly from Mt. Asama, it is one of the popular natural hot springs in the prefecture. Your spa time doesn’t have to stop there; the resort also offers massages, facials, and other luxurious spa treatments. 

 Hotel Karuizawa 1130 ensures there’s something for everyone with its variety of facilities. As well as a spa, there’s a pool with jacuzzis and water slides. There are banquet halls that can be used for meetings or parties, a rooftop panoramic terrace, restaurants, shops, a lounge, a kid’s room, and a ping pong area. And that’s only indoors. Outside enjoy the herb garden with more than 20 kinds of herbs, take a Segway trip, book a tennis court, or a bicycle to explore the natural surroundings. 

You won’t go hungry with four different restaurants to choose from. Recommended is the Continental Restaurant “La Belliere”. The menu is a chef’s original, based on French cuisine with Italian and Japanese flavors. Japanese Cuisine “Yamaboshi is a Japanese restaurant with foods prepared from local ingredients sourced in mountains, rivers, and farms. Private rooms and sunken seats available make it the perfect place for families and groups to meet for dinner or gatherings. Lounge “danro” is the place to relax. Bathe in the natural morning light, enjoy snacks, sweets or drinks throughout the day until evening. 1130 Tsumagoi TANTO is a buffet restaurant with a wide variety of Japanese and Western dishes, including seasonal vegetable dishes and local specialties. Breakfast is also a wonder with various options of vegetables, antipasti, Japanese side dishes, breads, and desserts. Accommodation & dining packages are offered online, giving you an all-inclusive stay if you so wish. 

Are you itching to soak in the open-air baths and relax on the rooftop terrace overlooking mountainous vistas? Now you can! This natural haven is just two and a half hours drive, one hour and forty minutes using public transport from Tokyo. If using the train, there is a free shuttle bus you can book from Karuizawa Station so it couldn’t be more simple. See you there! 

The Mountains and Hot Springs of Shinetsu Are Calling

If you are an adventurous type who loves mountains and woodland or someone who enjoys a more relaxed holiday taking a dip in a hot spring, Shinetsu area is waiting for you! If you are already in the local area why not check out some of our recommended stay in Nagano and Niigata? We’d love to hear which ones you love the most.