10 Best hostels/guesthouses in Nagano

Nagano prefecture Accommodation
Writer's Profile
Writer’s Profile

Bryce was born in California, but raised from the age of 3 near Seattle, Washington. He’s been living in Tokyo for about 7 years, and graduated from Temple University, Japan with degrees in economics and international business. He loves traveling of course, but also cooking, snowboarding, some video games as well. His biggest interest is songwriting/music production, more specifically electronic music… (think Skrillex, Marshmello, Daft Punk, etc.) He also has terrible humor as you’ll notice, but he hopes you’ll enjoy it!

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Welcome to the heart of Japan’s alpine paradise, Nagano, where the soaring peaks meet the tranquility of traditional villages. Nagano is a prime location for those who love the winter and snowboarding or snow skiing with their variety of snow resorts. However, winter is not the only great time to be there, so be sure to consider going there for other seasons! Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, into snow sports, or just looking for a cozy retreat, Nagano offers a wonderful variety of memories to be made. Dive into the local experience by choosing the perfect hostel or guesthouse that not only offers a comfortable stay but also reflects the unique charm of the region.

1. Couch Potato Hostel

Nestled in the heart of Matsumoto, Couch Potato Hostel is not your average resting spot. Embrace the laid-back atmosphere surrounded by vintage decor and mismatched couches that transport you to an era of casual elegance. This hostel effortlessly blends modern convenience with retro flair, all in a nice cabin-like package. With its central location, it’s the ideal base for exploring Matsumoto Castle and not too far from Nakasendo Trail. Unwind in their communal spaces adorned with local art, creating a haven for the creative souls.

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2. Bellscabin Guesthouse

Step into Bellscabin Guesthouse, a hidden gem in the charming town of Karuizawa. Word on the street is that this region is great for beer lovers as well! In fact, Nagano is pretty well known for beer in general. This spot is quite unique, it definitely captures the sort of “vacation house” vibe, though it is pretty retro! You’ll surely be cozy and the atmosphere is very charming. Its a great spot for any time of the year, but it certainly does seem to lend itself to the winter more, based on the looks!

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3. Yamairo Guesthouse

Yamairo Guesthouse, tucked away in the Hirugami Onsen area, is a rustic escape from the hustle and bustle to say the least. The aesthetic is very reminiscent of old Japanese architecture and has a very industrial/wooden interior that’s sure to be as memorable as it is relaxing. As rustic and industrial as it is, surely there is no lack of cleanliness and comfort. Not to mention, they have a bar with some great drinks and tasty food to enjoy!

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4. Farmer’s Guesthouse Polepole

Escape to the rustic charm of Farmer’s Guesthouse Polepole, perhaps the more lively version of the previous option. The also dark wooden interior gives off that rustic vibe, yet there is a significant amount of quirkiness and character that fills the air with their unique decorations and design. It’s definitely a great place to enjoy that cabin sort of experience and keep cozy any time of the year.

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5. Hill Top

For those seeking a retreat surrounded by nature, Hill Top in Nagano Prefecture is your answer. If you’re interested in Nakasendo trail, this is also a great choice for you as it is located in Kiso, one of the main areas along the trail. The hostel itself is sparing with the decorations and offers humble comfort with simple elegance. This location is certainly one of the best to check out if you’re trying to escape the city!

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6. Hakuba Goryu Pension & Log Cottage Arumu

Indulge in the cozy charm of Hakuba Goryu Pension & Log Cottage Arumu, a log cabin oasis in the heart of Hakuba. It’s right next to one of the Hakuba main slopes, Goryu 47, hence the name. The warm wooden interiors create an inviting atmosphere, echoing the surrounding forested mountains. Unwind in the communal lounge, complete with a fireplace and panoramic windows that frame the snowy landscapes, or one of their relaxing baths with a pleasant view. 

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7. Hakuba Skala Inn

Hakuba Skala Inn, located at the base of the Hakuba Valley, is another lovely cabin-style establishment that is seemingly family run. The location is extremely well reviewed for their impressive service as well. Complete with a lounge that includes a bar, library, and wood burning stove, you’ll surely feel cozy and ready for a hot chocolate in this place. Not to mention, their beds look incredibly comfortable and spacious, there’s no way you’ll have a hard time resting up after a day of riding.

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8. Ringoya

Another homey spot that gives off the vibe of staying at a family home, Ringoya is a great option nestled in the Hakuba Valley. This traditional soba-making house turned guesthouse is a retreat for those seeking cultural immersion. The aroma of freshly made soba noodles wafts through the air, creating an authentic experience, while certainly sparking up some appetites. The rooms, adorned with woven tatami mats, provide a tranquil space to unwind, Japanese style.

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9. Guest House Yanagiya

Yanagiya is a charming home in Ena, Gifu. while it is not actually in Nagano, its close enough to the area and memorable enough to take a spot on the list. This warm, wooden home is filled with quaint decorations and a very authentic structure and design. You’ll certainly feel the traditional vibes of a Japanese home and feel relaxed and taken care of no matter what. Gifu is also an incredible area to check out if you’re interested in nature, among other things. It is home to a few iconic things, such as the train-track bicycling adventure and the insanely expensive strawberries!

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10. Nori’s Sharehouse Hakuba

For those focused on riding the slopes, this is another great option for you. Located at the base of the Tsugaike resort, Nori’s Sharehouse is a pleasant spot to rest your feet after a day of hitting the stacks. It’s a cozy spot, and there may not be letters written home about its style and design, but it’s certainly well reviewed for its comfort, hospitality, and great proximity to nature. Take one of their free bikes out for a different kind of riding, or take advantage of the barbeque!

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Japan Wonder Travel Tours 

Japan Wonder Travel is a travel agency that offers guided tours throughout Japan. 
From private walking tours to delicious Food and Drink tours, we can help you organize the best tours just for you! If you want to explore Japan and learn more about the history and backstories of each area you are visiting, our knowledgeable and friendly English speaking guides will happily take you to the best spots! 
In addition, we can provide you with any assistance you may need for your upcoming trip to Japan, so please feel free to contact us if yu have any questions or need some help! 

Tokyo Tsukiji Fish Market Food and Drink Tour
Explore the most lively and popular fish market in Tokyo and try some of the local’s favorite street foods and sake with one of our friendly and knowledgeable English speaking guides! 

tsukiji tour

Tokyo 1–Day Highlights Private Walking Tour (8 Hours)
There’s no better way to explore an area than taking a tour with a knowledgeable local guide. You will have the chance to learn about the history and interesting background stories of Tokyo, as well as discover some hidden gems which can be hard to do without a guide.

Asakusa Tokyo private tour

Mt. Fuji Day Trip Bus Tour from Tokyo
Experience the breathtaking views of Mt. Fuji by visiting the highlights of the area on our guided sightseeing bus tour! Departing from Shinjuku in central Tokyo, you can travel comfortably to all of the best spots in the area by bus.

mount fuji chureito pagoda

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Happy traveling!

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