Nozawa Onsen (meaning Nozawa Hotsprings) is a small Japanese village located in mountainous northeastern Nagano Prefecture, roughly an hour's drive from Nagano City. Bordered by Mount Kenashi to the north and Chikuma River to the west, the longest river in Japan, the altitude of Nozawa Onsen is around 600m above in the village, and 1,650m at the peak of Mount Kenashi.
Within the town there is 13 free hotsprings for anyone to enjoy, all having a different design and style of their own. Be careful though, some of the water temps go above 49 degrees centigrade!!!
Nozawa Onsen also held some events during the Nagano Olympics in 1998 and put the tiny little town on the mark. In previous years it was a bit of a journey to get to Nozawa Onsen changing trains and buses a few times, however since around late 2014 the Shinkansen station was completed at Iiyama, making the trip from Tokyo and quick and easy journey done in a few hours.
Nozawa is also famously known for it's special pickles, Nozawana! They grow everywhere in the area and can be bought as a souvenir to take home!
Located just a few minutes walk from the bus terminal in the town centre you'll find Shichirohei Coffee. They're a cafe, bar, and restaurant catering to guests all year-round through the summer and winter months! The cafe is actually hand-made by the owner, with all the interior and exterior creating a warm and lovely good-feel place to sip on good coffee and eat great food.
Their Chef, hailing from Tokyo, has years of experience in French and Japanese cuisine. He's managed to pull off a unique menu that fuses traditional Japanese cuisine with French fine dining.
Extremely popular in the warmer months are their special smoothies affectionately known as "Schichiroppy". This one is caramel and nougat, perfect for those hot summer days!
Cafe St. Anton
Located on the main restaurant and souvenir strip of Nozawa Onsen, Cafe St. Anton offers imaginative European and Japanese cuisine with an enticing menu that is sure to please. The hotel & restaurant also offers a variety of homemade jams and juices during from their store facing the street.
Chef Ken prepares excellent paired dishes that pick up local ingredients and fine-tune them to a high level chef art! Beautifully tender beef topped with cacao nibs and crisp root vegetable.
The cafe also serves scrumptious gelato all designed and made in-house!
Daimon Soba is a long established restaurant in Nozawa Onsen serving up delicious soba to visitor and locals alike. Located just a few minutes walk up a narrow street from the bus terminal, it's a convenient location to grab some lunch and hit a couple of onsens after wards.
Delicious zaru soba with a side of mountain vegetable tempura!
They also serve plenty of beer here in the summer and winter months! They green vegetable you see is the local Nozawana pickles, only found in Nozawa!
Nappa Cafe is located a short walk up the hill from the bus station in town. It's worth the walk though as there is a spectacular view of the mountain and town surrounds! Great coffee and light meals are the regular fare here.
A really great dish to try here is the green curry. It comes with mountain steamed riced, fresh local vegetables with a special house dressing! YUM!
Something to not even question here is the ice coffee - a must in the hot summer months!
Why not head to Nozawa Onsen, eat good food, soak in an onsen, and take up the beautiful scenery!