Hot Spring Bathing in the Kaga Region of Ishikawa

Hot Spring Bathing in the Kaga Region of Ishikawa


2019.11.02

NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR

Hot Spring Bathing in the Kaga Region of Ishikawa

Kaga Onsenkyo is a cluster of four well-known hot spring towns nestled between the Sea of Japan and Mt. Hakusan, one of Japan’s three sacred mountains (alongside Mt. Fuji and Mt. Tateyama), in the prefecture of Ishikawa. The surrounding area is thick with lush green forests and rugged mountainous landscapes, making it a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of big cities like Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.
Locals have been bathing in the high quality natural hot spring waters of the Kaga region for over a thousand years, earning it respect and recognition among onsen lovers from all corners of Japan.

  • The Daishoji River and its beautiful surroundings

    The Daishoji River and its beautiful surroundings

    Quaint scenes from the Kaga Onsenkyo region

    Quaint scenes from the Kaga Onsenkyo region

    Legend has it that the hot springs of Kaga Onsenkyo were discovered by a Buddhist monk during a pilgrimage through the area in the eighth century. They have since been held in the highest regard, with many people believing they possess an assortment of healing properties that help improve digestion, muscle pain and various skin conditions.
    The hot spring resorts that make up Kaga Onsenkyo are Yamashiro Onsen, Yamanaka Onsen, Katayamazu Onsen and Awazu Onsen. Each has its own public bath in the town center as well as a cluster of privately-owned bath-houses, hotels and traditional Japanese Inns.

    All four towns have their own unique style and atmosphere, meaning traveling between them to sample the local bathes is a fun and enjoyable activity that offers something different at each stop.

    Staying for at least one night is recommended, allowing enough time to visit all four towns as well as sample the area’s culture and food.

    The town of Yamashiro Onsen

    The town of Yamashiro Onsen

    A small floating shrine in Lake Shibayamagata

    A small floating shrine in Lake Shibayamagata

    Visitors to the Kaga Onsen araea usually choose to spend the night at a local ryokan – a type of traditional Japanese inn with tatami mat floors, futon bedding and sliding paper screen doors. Most ryokan also have private hot spring bathes and typically offer traditional Japanese cuisine for breakfast and/or dinner. There are many ryokan to stay at in the area, as well as some more modern hotel accommodations.

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    Yamashiro Onsen

    Yamashiro Onsen has managed to retain the feel of a traditional Onsen town from the Meiji period (1868-1912). There’s a large wooden public bath-house in the town-center, decorated with stained-glass windows, this bath-house has become a symbol of the town. It is flanked on all four sides by an array of independent shops and eateries that look as if they’ve been frozen in time. There are also various hotels and Inns around the town that range in size and price, from average to high-end.

    The public bath-house in Yamashiro Onsen

    The public bath-house in Yamashiro Onsen

    Stained glass windows in Yamashiro Onsen

    Stained glass windows in Yamashiro Onsen

    Yamashiro Onsen Bathhouse

    Yamashiro Onsen Bathhouse

    Yamashiro Onsen Bathhouse

    Yamashiro Onsen Bathhouse

    Yamashiro Onsen
    place
    Ishikawa Kaga-shi Yamashiro Onsen
    phone
    0761771144
  • 03

    Yamanaka Onsen

    Yamanaka Onsen is a quaint town nestled in a mountainous landscape, thick with forests, it is also where the traditional culture of Yamanaka Lacquerware prospered. A number of small bath-houses and Japanese Inns line both sides of the Daishoji River, affording a range of places to stay with spectacular views over the surrounding countryside.

    Nestled in thick forest is Yamanaka Onsen

    Nestled in thick forest is Yamanaka Onsen

    Laid back and easy-going surroundings make for a relaxing stay

    Laid back and easy-going surroundings make for a relaxing stay

    Yamanaka Onsen
    place
    Ishikawa Kaga-shi Yamanaka Onsen
    phone
    0761780330
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    Katayamazu Onsen

    Katayamazu Onsen is a small town that sits on the side of the Lake Shibayamagata, allowing stunning views across the water towards the peaks of nearby the Hakusan mountain range. The main attraction of Katayamazu Onsen is the ultra-modern hot spring facility that also sits on the banks of the lake. The surrounding town has a selection of places to stay and also a handful of public bath-houses.

    The ultra-modern hot spring spa in Katayamazu Onsen

    The ultra-modern hot spring spa in Katayamazu Onsen

    Katayamazu City Spa

    Katayamazu City Spa

    Katayamazu City Spa

    Katayamazu City Spa

    Also close by and worth a visit is the Nakaya Ukichiro Museum of Snow and Ice

    Also close by and worth a visit is the Nakaya Ukichiro Museum of Snow and Ice

    Katayamazu Onsen
    place
    Ishikawa Kaga-shi Katayamazu Onsen
    phone
    0761741123
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    Awazu Onsen

    The town of Awazu Onsen is said to have been discovered by the very same monk that discovered Natadera Temple (see below) some 1300 years ago. The town is also home to Hoshi Ryokan which is considered the oldest hotel in the world, founded in 718!

    The town has an assortment of onsen hot spring facilities which are considered particularly good for one’s circulation and a variety of skin conditions. There is also a foot bath in the center of the town that is free to use for the public and visitors to the town.

    The foot bath in Awazu Onsen

    The foot bath in Awazu Onsen

    The foot bath in Awazu Onsen

    The foot bath in Awazu Onsen

    Awazu Onsen
    place
    Ishikawa Komatsu-shi Awazumachi
    phone
    0761651834
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    Natadera Temple

    The main Temple at Natadera

    The main Temple at Natadera

    No trip to this part of Japan is complete without a trip to the magnificent Natadera Temple, a sprawling temple that days back to the early 700s. It is believed that the temple was founded by a Buddhist monk who visited nearby Mt. Hakusan in search of a goddess who was rumored to reside there, when he discovered the goddess was in fact Kannon he carved a large wooden statue of her in the grounds of the temple, this remains the main point of worship at Natadera Temple. It has been a popular stop-off for traveling monks and Japanese authors ever since.

    The entrance to Natadera

    The entrance to Natadera

    The grounds consist of several buildings, a three storied pagoda, a Japanese garden with pond and a large rockface that has several meditation caves carved into its side. Towards the back of the temple is the wooden statue of Kannon mentioned above.
    A well-maintained stone path leads visitors through the grounds of the temple, allowing great views of moss-covered gardens, various stone monuments and also access to a viewing platform that looks down upon the main temple and vast, rugged rockface.

    Kondo Hall which houses a large statue of Kannon

    Kondo Hall which houses a large statue of Kannon

    The Japanese garden and pond at Natadera Temple

    The Japanese garden and pond at Natadera Temple

    Looking out over the vast rockface from the view-point platform

    Looking out over the vast rockface from the view-point platform

    A trip to Natadara Temple is an excellent way to split your time up between visiting onsen towns. It offers relaxing views in a quiet and serene space, making it the perfect companion to hours of relaxation in hot-spring baths.

    The general area around Kaga Onsenkyo is also known for the production of Kutaniyaki ceramics and Yamanaka Lacquerware, both of which can be found in a number of local shops and hotels. These extra treats along with high quality local cuisine make the Kaga Onsenkyo region well worth consideration on your trip through this part of Japan!

    Nata-dera Temple
    rating

    4.5

    214 Reviews
    place
    Ishikawa Pref. Komatsushi Natamachi Yu 122
    phone
    0761652111
    opening-hour
    8:30-16:45[Dec.-Feb.]8:45-16…

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