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Discover Yamanouchi partner city of Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc

A Japanese version of Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc

Saint-Gervais and Yamanouchi, these two mountain towns have many points in common and share the same values, notably the desire to develop and promote responsible tourism, respectful of their inhabitants and their natural heritage. Discover the partner town of Yamanouchi, a destination well known for its hot springs, its two ski areas, its Japanese macaque population, its typical gastronomy and its sumptuous mountain landscapes offering an ideal environment for hiking and fishing!

Winter sports 2 renowned ski areas

Yamanouchi is a popular destination for winter sports, thanks to the presence of two renowned ski resorts on its territory, notably Shiga Kogen, which is Japan’s largest and one of its most renowned winter sports resorts. Shiga Kogen hosted the alpine skiing events at the 1998 Nagano Winter Olympics, a testament to the quality of its facilities and slopes. Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy a wide range of runs suitable for all levels, as well as breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. In addition, the region offers many other winter activities, such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and snowmobile excursions, making it a complete destination for winter mountain enthusiasts.

Hot springs (Onsen)

Yamanouchi is famous for its onsens, notably Shibu Onsen and Yudanaka Onsen. These thermal baths have a long history, dating back centuries, and are renowned for their mineral-rich waters with healing properties. The onsens are often surrounded by beautiful natural scenery, offering a serene, relaxing atmosphere. Shibu Onsen, for example, is a charming spa village with cobbled streetsand traditional ryokans, where visitors can enjoy a circuit of nine public baths, each with its own unique features. Yudanaka Onsen, meanwhile, is famous for having welcomed famous writers and artists seeking inspiration in its thermal waters. The public baths at Yudanaka Shibu Onsen are a must-see attraction for those wishing to discover Japanese bathing traditions. Yudanaka Onsen offers public baths accessible to all, often adorned with magnificent sculptures and traditional decorations. These baths are open to visitors, who can wander around the village and discover them one by one, while enjoying the historic architecture and charming atmosphere.

Hiking and nature An ideal environment for trekking

The Yamanouchi region is a paradise for hiking and nature lovers. The surrounding mountains, such as Shiga Kogen, offer a multitude of well-marked hiking trails, suitable for all levels of ability. In summer, the mountains are transformed into a mosaic of colors with varied alpine flora, while the forests are home to diverse wildlife, including deer and rare birds. Popular routes such as the Yokoyu Valley Trail offer spectacular views of rivers, waterfalls and mountain landscapes. In autumn, the forests take on golden and red hues, making hiking a particularly enjoyable and visually captivating activity. The Shiga Kogen region, including the Tanohara wetland, is rich in biodiversity and unspoilt natural landscapes. These areas are home to a variety of plant and animal species, making up a unique and precious ecosystem. Walking through these marshes and ponds allows visitors to connect deeply with nature, while enjoying the peace and quiet of this protected area.

3 good reasons to Visit Yamanouchi

Hot springs and thermal baths

Strolling the cobbled streets of Shibu Onsen in yukata (traditional bathrobe) and discovering the various baths is a relaxing and unique activity.

Jigokudani Monkey Park

Watching these monkeys in their natural habitat is a captivating experience for animal lovers and photographers alike.

Natural landscapes and outdoor activities

Yamanouchi is located in a mountainous region offering magnificent natural scenery and a multitude of outdoor activities.

Jigokudani Monkey Park Dive into a world apart

Jigokudani Monkey Park is one of Yamanouchi’s most iconic attractions. Set in a mountain valley, this park offers a fascinating view of the snow monkeys, or Japanese macaques, who come to bathe in the hot springs in winter. The macaques have learned to use the onsens as a means of warming themselves, providing unique and captivating scenes for visitors and photographers alike. The park is accessible via a picturesque trail through dense forest, allowing visitors to appreciate the natural beauty of the area too. In winter, the sight of monkeys surrounded by snow, basking in the warm waters, is particularly magical and attracts tourists from all over the world.

Culture and history a rich cultural heritage

Yamanouchi has a rich cultural and historical heritage, reflected in its many temples, shrines and traditional buildings. The village of Shibu Onsen, for example, is known for its cobbled streets lined with historic ryokans and public baths, some dating back over 400 years. Visitors can stroll these picturesque streets, dressed in traditional yukatas, and discover Shibu Onsen’s nine public baths, each with its own legend and specific benefits. The region regularly organizes festivals and cultural events that allow visitors to immerse themselves in local traditions, such as tea ceremonies, folk dances and Noh theater performances.

A rich agricultural heritage

Agriculture plays a crucial role in Yamanouchi’s economy, with production ranging from apples and grapes to mountain vegetables. Local farms often practice sustainable farming methods, and it’s possible to visit some of them to learn about traditional cultivation techniques.

La Sora Terrace the summit of the Ryuoo ski resort

Sora Terrace, located at the top of Ryuoo ski resort, offers a unique experience with breathtaking views of the sea of clouds enveloping the surrounding mountains. Accessible by gondola, the terrace is an ideal place to admire sunrises and sunsets, creating memorable timeless moments!

Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc Glisse Mountain Thermalism Bien-vive