What to Do in Naruko Onsen

From onsens, to volcanoes, to fascinating old-world crafts, Naruko Onsen is a humble but fascinating pocket of Miyagi Prefecture. Located in the northwestern corner of the prefecture, Naruko is only around 70 kilometers from central Sendai, yet it feels worlds away from city life. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing hideout or want to soak in some of the best hot springs in the entire world, a visit to Naruko Onsen is definitely worth adding to your travel itinerary.

  • 01

    Naruko-kyo Gorge

    Naruko-kyo Gorge

    Naruko-kyo Gorge

    The village of Naruko is close to the famous Naruko-kyo Gorge, one of Tohoku Region's most scenic locations and a hub of outdoor activity including including hiking, skiing and sightseeing. Completely transforming with the seasonal changes, there is literally no bad time to visit the area, however if you’re around during koyo (the autumn season) you’re in for a really special treat. The gorge itself stretches over an impressive two kilometres east-to west, but the optimal autumn leaf viewing location is around the Narukokyo Resthouse sitting close to the western end of the gorge.

    Naruko Gorge
    place
    Miyagi Pref. Osakishi Narukonsen Hoshinuma
  • 02

    Kokeshi dolls

    Kokeshi dolls

    Kokeshi dolls

    Naruko’s most famous figure is arguably the Kokeshi doll. Incredibly cute, these traditional dolls are an embodiment of the incredible craftsmanship and skill of the local makers of Miyagi Prefecture. Though their original history is a bit of a mystery, many believe they came into being during the Edo period. Around this time many people living in the area would take wood from the trees that dotted the Miyagi hot spring area to craft themselves small toys and figures. Today you can learn all about the Kokeshi doll and even try your hand at crafting your own here at the Kokeshi museum.

    Japan Kokeshi Museum
    rating

    3.5

    37 Reviews
    place
    Miyagi Pref. Osakishi Narukonsen Shitomae 74-2
    phone
    0229833600
    opening-hour
    8:30-17:00[Dec.]9:00-16:00
  • 03

    Katanuma Lake

    Katanuma Lake

    Katanuma Lake

    Located in the town of Osaki sits Katanuma Lake, home to some incredible views and an abundance of hiking and nature walking opportunities. Sitting in the center of a volcano, Katanuma is said to be one of the most acidic lakes in Japan, with a pH level of around 1.6. The formation of the lake was said to have happened around 18,000 years ago when an explosive eruption laid the base of what came to be Katanuma.

    Katanuma Lake
    place
    Miyagi Pref. Osakishi Narukonsen Yumoto
  • 04

    Naruko-onsen-kyo Hot Spring Village

    Naruko-onsen-kyo Hot Spring Village

    Naruko-onsen-kyo Hot Spring Village

    Given that Naruko Onsen village is an historic hot spring town, it’s would be a crime not to take advantage of the area’s incredible natural hot springs. Boasting an incredible 1,000 year history, the land on which Naruko occupies is home to a variety of water sources suitable for a huge array of different skin and body types. With 400 hot spring sources in the Naruko-onsen-kyo Hot Spring Village alone, you’re never short of places to soak. The most difficult thing about visiting is simply choosing where to go!

    Narukonsen
    place
    Miyagi Osaki-shi Narukonsen Yumoto
    phone
    0229833441
  • 05

    Foot baths

    Foot baths

    Foot baths

    Beyond full body baths one of the other onsen experiences you have try when visiting the Naruko Onsen area is trying out one of the area’s many quaint foot baths. A remnant of old time Naruko, these public foot baths are still often used by locals to this day. Known for their healing properties the natural mineral filled hot water is the perfect way to repair your weary travelling feet while getting in touch with the town’s classic culture.

    Foot baths

    Foot baths

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