A really unique and affordable place, with a genuinely wonderful host. I found this by chance and we were all so amazed by our stay. The place is older and homely, but the rooms and facilities are all fine.
We started our stay by taking up the owner, Miyasaka San, offer of dinner, and it was a very generous and wide ranging meal (sashimi, tempura etc), of around 9 dishes set out for each of us.
Then Miyasaka San gave us a history lesson on Kyudo (Japanese archery). A few days later we were lucky enough to have a lesson with him, and he also performed the Kyudo ceremony which was an amazing experience.
He also kindly drove us up to the entrance of the monkey park walk.
We were here in May, late spring and still saw some blossoms of the vast apple tree farms around. The area is a quiet charming chain of smaller ‘towns’ and the real treat here are the 9 public onsens you can visit. Read up on them.
This would be a great place to visit in winter for skiing, to get away from the real overrun popular places.
You get to Yamanochi-Machi by taking a train to Nagano, and then switch to a local train to Yudanaka which is at the end of the line. This is genuinely a rural place, and staying at this ryokan will only add to the experience.
We hope to return one day.