Of all the ryokans in Nagano, one in particular stands out as world-class: Myojinkan in Tobira Onsen on the outskirts of Matsumoto City. While their address technically reads 'Matsumoto City', the inn is definitely in the hinterlands.
It's at the end of a narrow mountain road and the location is so isolated, there isn't any cell phone reception. (Actually, that's become a sales point for the inn. So much so that when NTT built a transponder tower nearby, the owner installed a blocking mechanism so the lobby is cell phone-free.)
You have to build a pretty darn attractive ryokan to get people to come so far out to the boonies, and Saitoh-san, the 30-something year old owner has done just that. The other junior innkeepers and I from Togura Kamiyamada Onsen spent the night there as our end-of-the-year excursion, and were treated to Myojinkan's fabulous treatment as well as talk by Saitoh-san himself.
Saitoh-san, thank you for your hospitality!
明神館のＨＰはこちらClick here for Myojinkan's website.