Monday, December 1, 2014

More Yudanaka

Besides having SNOW MONKEYS Yudanaka is a very cute hot springs town. Parts seemed a little neglected, which could explain the HUGE prevalence of Communist Party posters all over town. The Communist Party wins a lot of local elections in Japan, so it's not abnormal to see posters for it, but there were the most I had ever seen in one place...

Near the MONKEYS I saw some beer along with soda in a vending machine. This would never happen in the city. Could be that the town is so small that if anyone under 20 bought a beer, the town would know about it soon enough.

Would you like a mystery soda? Didn't have the change to get this...

Dirty gachapon that looked non-functional but did work.

Sake brewery with free tasting of all their varieties! I approve. I bought some too :)

Sake vending machine, also without the age verification card readers that are standard in the city.

Nagano hosted the Winter Olympics in 1998, spawning this gymnasium in Yudanaka. It's now completely abandoned.

A shrine that looked abandoned, but...I took a shot of the inside from the window and the inside looked clean, so maybe not?

A second shrine that has seen better days.

On the main road in town a lot of buildings were well kept, and there were many of the usual souvenir shops and more expensive ryokan. Here's a cute free foot bath. (Being May, it was already too hot for us!)

The town started a collab with Monster Hunter for some reason..

We did stay in a ryokan, but it was a rather...hilariously outdated one. Trying to be frugal doesn't work, if you stay in Yudanaka, I would recommend just forking out the money for a nicer ryokan. It seems to be how the city makes money these days besides the MONKEYS.

When it was time to leave, I took the bus back to Osaka from Nagano city, which is run by Alpico (Japanese only). It was a three-seats-to-one-row bus, with a generous level of reclining, so I was even able to get some sleep.

Yudanaka boasts the cheapest izakiya dinner I've ever had - 1100 for me when split with two others, and including several drinks. Didn't take any pictures because it was standard izakiya fare, but the proprietor was very nice and spoke some English too.

I found people in Yudanaka/Nagano to be extremely friendly and kind - more than anywhere I've ever been...after I returned I discovered an always friendly coworker was from Nagano too...surprise, surprise :) I am really not a winter person so I doubt I'd go for Nagano's normal tourist draw of winter sports, but I'd like to get back someday. If you'd like to visit, this is a guide in English by a local non-Japanese resident.