Hot Springs in Ishikawa
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Hidden Onsen in Japan: Discover Japan’s Best Secret Hot Springs
- Japan is the land of Onsen. These hot springs have been lauded for centuries for their health benefits and also for their rejuvenating effect on the mind and spirit due to the beauty of their locations. In this article we will guide you to the best hidden Onsen in Japan and some of them are even easily accessible from major cities like Tokyo, Osaka, and Kanazawa. Travel to sacred mountains, enjoy outdoor baths with milky waters, see the Hells of Beppu, and whatever else you can dream of! Read on to find out how to properly use a Japanese hot spring, where to find a private Onsen, and how to locate budget-friendly, local public baths. Get the Hidden Onsen Experience Near Tokyo If you’re spending your vacation mainly in Tokyo but still want to enjoy an authentic and historical Onsen town, then Hakone Onsen, in Kanagawa, is your answer. Surrounded by natural beauty such as mountains and the well-known Lake Ashi (Ashinoko), full of attractions like boat rides and cable cars, as well as great local cuisine, Hakone is a great day trip or weekend destination. There are a number of Ryokan and public baths in this picturesque area all sourced from natural spring water. Hakone For a classic Onsen vibe surrounded by nature we recommend Tenzan. This large complex has everything you need to enjoy your day including Tatami rooms for resting and a sauna as well as a number of baths only 1300yen. For a unique hot spring experience, we recommend Yunessun, a kind of Onsen theme park. Those who are shy, rejoice! This complex is bathing suit friendly! There are also a variety of special baths: a wine bath, coffee bath, and a green-tea bath, so which do you want to try? Tattoo wearers can enjoy the ‘Yunessun’ area (swimwear area) if their tattoos are covered by swimwear or a rash guard. They are available for rent.URL:・Tenzan Onsenkyo・Hakone Yunessun Hakone Yuneesun Hot Spring Fun close to Osaka Legends say that the gods themselves created the oldest Onsen town in Japan, Arima Onsen, in Hyogo Prefecture. Arima is in the mountains beyond Kobe and is surrounded by beautiful foliage and views as well as narrow alleyways perfect for strolling, this ancient town is also one of the few places in Japan where you can spot real Geisha. Unlike other hot springs, the water here is not of volcanic origin but rising naturally from the Earth’s bedrock, as a result it is especially full of nutrients. Arima Onsen Legends say that the gods themselves created the oldest Onsen town in Japan, Arima Onsen, in Hyogo Prefecture. Arima is in the mountains beyond Kobe and is surrounded by beautiful foliage and views as well as narrow alleyways perfect for strolling, this ancient town is also one of the few places in Japan where you can spot real Geisha. Unlike other hot springs, the water here is not of volcanic origin but rising naturally from the Earth’s bedrock, as a result it is especially full of nutrients. There are two types of springs native to the area, Kinsen and Ginsen, translated respectively as Gold and Silver. You can try both types at Kin no Yu and Gin no Yu, Arima’s public bath. It’s recommended to buy a two-for-one pass to use both for a discount. If you opt for this plan then you need to bring your own towel, but soap and shampoo are included in the price. URL:Kin no yu and Gin no yu Ginnoyu Head North for a Winter Wonderland Hot Spring Adventure Ginzan Onsen, in Yamagata Prefecture might be Japan’s most charming winter village. Witness traditional Japanese architecture hugging the river that runs through the center of Ginzan which also features a huge waterfall. The name means silver mine hot spring, referring to the town’s history. Cold weather and great spring water also mean that exceptional Sake is brewed in this area. For a modern public bath with interesting triangular shaped pools try Shirogane-yu. Or if you’re interested in private baths that can be reserved, Omokage-yu, it’s JPY2,000 for 50 minutes. URL:Ginzan Onsen(pdf) GinzanOnsen Nyuton zan Nestled in the mountains of Akita prefecture you’ll find Nyuto Onsen. This charming hot spring resort town remains relatively unknown, even in modern times. There is one natural outdoor spring, Ippon-matsu Onsen, located on one of the areas many hiking trails. Anyone can use it free of charge, but there is no changing room or any facilities. We recommend staying at one of the charming Ryokan in the area and purchasing the Yumeguri-cho pass so that you can use any of the local baths. Tsurunoyu is a popular choice and the oldest Ryokan in the area. There you will discover milky waters, indoor baths, and a large mixed outdoor bath with an infinity pool feel. Tsurunoyu Onsen Explore Onsen in Neighboring Beauties; Gunma and Nagano Kusatsu Onsen , in Gunma Prefecture, is a beautiful hot spring town that rose to fame after a German doctor recommended the waters for their health benefits. In Kusatsu you will find cobalt blue waters, hiking, skiing, and even an active volcano. It is claimed that the waters can cure any sickness (except love sickness of course). Try Otakinoyu which features wooden pools with different temperatures for those who find standard Onsen temperature a tad too hot. Or famed Sainokawara Rotenburo, one of Japan’s largest outdoor baths which can hold up to 100 bathers. Read More:・Kusatsu Onsen Overview・The Quintessential Onsen Experience: Kusatsu by Night・What to Eat in Kusatsu OnsenURL:Kusatsu Onsen Portal site Kusatsu Onsen Kusatsu Onsen Chiyono-yu In the year 989 a divine message was whispered about a water that can cure 40,000 illnesses, or so ancient legend says. The site of that water is Shima Onsen Overview, also in Gunma. Hinatami Yakushido, a Temple dedicated to the Buddha of healing is on the spot of the hot spring. This area has 42 wellsprings registered and most gush forth naturally. These springs are said to be beneficial for skin and digestion and spring drinking water is also available. There are three public baths open 7 days a week in this Onsen town, and they are called Kami no Yu, Kawahara no Yu, and Gomuso no Yu. Tourists may bathe from 9:00-15:00, after that they are reserved for locals. Read More:・What to Do in Shima Onsen・The Magic of SekizenkanURL:Shima Onsen Association Shima Onsen Hidden Onsen near Historical Kanazawa Travel to Kaga Onsen, in Ishikawa prefecture, for water that comes from one of Japan’s sacred mountains – Mount Hakusan. There are three main hot spring areas here, and a legend of a Buddhist priest on a pilgrimage that goes along with them. There is Yamanaka Onsen which is called “the rejuvenating” due to its revitalizing properties. Yamashiro Onsen, also known as “the versatile”, both secular and extravagant, it is known for its performing arts and festivals. Finally, Katayamazu Onsen, or “the rejoicing”. With its beautiful views of Mount Hakusan and large lake it is easy to see where it got its name. Kaga Onsen is just 25 minutes from Kanazawa by train, with local bus service to the various Onsen areas. Yamashiro Onsen Katayamazu Onsen Travel to the Ultimate Onsen Destinations; Shikoku and Kyushu Get spirited away at Dogo Onsen, in Ehime Prefecture. This hot spring is in the city of Matsuyama and the area around the Onsen still has the vibe of a hot spring resort without sacrificing the conveniences of city life. The design of this Onsen partially inspired Yubaba’s Bath House in Studio Ghibli’s Spirited Away. It is also known as a bath frequented by the Japanese Imperial family. Dogo Onsen Honkan has two types of baths as well as a number of different price plans. These could include tea and a snack, or even touring the bathing facility reserved for the Emperor. As of January 2019 it is under construction so if it is unavailable during your stay try nearby Tsubaki no Yu, which uses the same spring water.URL:Dogo Onsen Official Dogo Onsen Honkan Dogo Onsen Kamino-yu Finally, we invite you to visit the city of steam, Beppu Onsen, in Oita Prefecture. This Onsen has the largest volume of hot spring water in Japan and as a result the entire city gives off puffs of steam. Visit the Hells of Beppu while you are here to see a variety of different colored ponds ranging from cobalt blue to bright red. Hell bus tours are available and there are plenty of foot baths to rest your feet as you travel. Visitors are recommended to try Jigokumushi, or hell-steamed cuisine. At the Jigokumushi Kobo Steam Cooking Center (Jigokumushi Kōbō Kannawa) you are even welcome to bring your own ingredients. Try Takegawara Onsen, a public bath with a fee of 100 yen which also features sand baths. Or if you want to get messy before getting clean, head to Beppu Onsen Hoyo Land Kon-ya Jigoku for mud baths!Read More:・Nightlife in Beppu City・What to Do in Beppu・Kannawa Onsen - The Hottest Place in Beppu・Onsen Hopping in Kyushu Peppu Onsen How Do I use Hidden Onsen in Japan? Are there any rules? Smaller towns will likely have little to no English assistance so let us tell you the basics. Here are some Onsen instructions; at the entrance to the baths you will find two different colored curtains with Kanji on them indicating which gender the bath is for. It’s simple to remember, blue is for men, and red is for women. Generally, there will be a locker for your shoes outside, and on the inside you will find more lockers. These are for your clothes! How Do I use Hidden Onsen Visitors often feel shy about getting naked with strangers so you can use a small towel for modesty as you head to the bathing area. The most important notes are, shower and properly wash your body and hair before getting in the bath, and do not put your towel into the bath. A final important note is that most Onsen in Japan do not allow visitors with tattoos. We hope that you can visit some of these Onsen during your stay in Japan. Happy bathing! ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
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 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 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 Stained glass windows in Yamashiro Onsen Yamashiro Onsen Bathhouse 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 Laid back and easy-going surroundings make for a relaxing stay 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 Katayamazu City Spa Katayamazu City Spa 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 Natadera Temple 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 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 ©NAVITIME JAPAN. Travel Info Check out our travel tips to make your trip better!
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We came here originally for the onsen and loved the surroundings. There is the gorge, the nature walks, and the bridges. Then there are the lacquer wares where one can get the best make in Japan from...
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Wow! The location of this Ryokan is beyond belief. With a large rock wall behind it the Ryokan nestles into and beside the sea. We had a two story room with the bedroom upstairs. Stunning! Truly a...
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We stopped over at this Onsen on a day trip around the Noto peninsula and absolutely loved it. It is a modern, clean, spacious and quiet Onsen with classical music as background sound. We stayed for...
Long, thin Ishikawa prefecture runs along the Sea of Japan up into Noto Peninsula. Highlights of the seaside towns lining the west coast include Kanazawa, often described as a "Little Kyoto" thanks to its old wooden tea houses and geisha culture as well as its picturesque Japanese garden, Kenroku-en.
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