Shibu Onsen Activities

Shibu Onsen Activities

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Shibu Onsen Activities

If you’ve got some time outside of eating kaiseki meals at your ryokan and eating powder whilst skiing or snowboarding at Shiga Kogen, there are various things to do around Shibu Onsen. Even just wandering the main street and little laneways with the many historic buildings is a feast for the eyes.

Snow Monkeys

Shibu Onsen is very close to the snow monkeys. During summer it’s only approximately 2km from the centre of the village to the trail head of the snow monkey park, whilst during winter you’ll want to drive, or some ryokan will provide shuttles to and from the trail head to save you messing with the bus. 

Hot Springs

Most of the Shibu ryokan have their own onsen. Otherwise guests of Shibu Onsen ryokan can visit the little Sotoyu Public Baths. There are 9 of them and each are reputed to provide different healing qualities: stomach and intestinal ailments; skin conditions; cuts/acne; gout; neuralgia; eye disease (not sure whether you’re supposed to put your eyes in the bath!?); general injuries; women’s health issues; and rheumatism/neuralgia. Of course the hot spring baths will probably also make you look gorgeous! Some of the onsen are really hot, so hopefully you’re already acclimatised to hot baths.

Your hotel will be able to provide you with a map of the town and the baths. Take a towel, and you’ll need to get a key from your hotel. And to fully get into the experience, you can walk up and down the street in your yukata robe and wooden thongs and clip clop along the road.

Of the 9 public onsen, only Oyu public bath house is available for day trippers to use. You can purchase a ticket at the Shibu Onsen Information Centre, and then someone who is part of the Shibu Onsen association has to take you to the onsen and let you in. You’ll get the full cultural experience of inefficient processes!

There are also foot baths near O-yu and at the east end of the village if you don’t want the full soak.


Some of the shop fronts in Shibu Onsen look quite daggy yet there are also a few shops that are well presented and have some nice souvenirs.

Other Activities Shibu Onsen

There are various small temples in Shibu Onsen to have a look at. The Onsenji Buddhist Temple sits at the east end of the village and the statues of the 3 monkeys that don’t hear, speak or see evil, seem popular for a picture.

There are also small temples above the main street to the north if you wander up the sets of stairs, including a pet temple.

The small Amagawa Shrine across the river is also picturesque.

The Tamamura Sake Gallery and Museum is nice so you can look at some of the historic sake making memorabilia, but better still, you can taste lots of sake and do a lot of kanpai-ing! Just down the road is the brewery, if you want to add beer into the mix (remember that mixy makes you sicksy)!