A city in Nagano Prefecture is giving away two of its hot spring resorts for free. With declining visitors and ongoing maintenance and operation costs, this disposal of the two assets will reduce the strain on the city’s finances.

The two onsen facilities are owned by Nakano City. Ponpoko Hot Spring is an 8-minute drive from city hall and near the ruins of a former mountain castle. The second property is Madarao-no-yu, a hot spring located a 6-minute drive from the Madarao Mountain Resort and ski fields.

The city has been operating the Ponpoko property since 1993. The 2-hectare property includes two log cottages, a main building of 730 sqm, a bath building of 453 sqm, mallet golf, club house, and parking lot. The onsen water is 43.7C at source. In 2021, 64,000 people used the day-onsen, down from 75,000 in 2019.

The Madarao property is on 5.5 hectares with a 1,190 sqm main building, three cabins, camp facilities, mallet golf, and parking lot. The onsen water is 25.1C at source. The day-onsen had 52,000 customers in 2021.

The conditions of the sale require the recipient to continue operating the facilities as day-onsens for five years. Interested parties must register by the end of February and have a 7-day window in March to submit their proposals. The city will announce the selected parties by the end of March.

Source: Nakano City News Release, January 10, 2023.