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Transportation    Arts and Crafts    Hot Springs

Kokkaido     Tohoku     Kanto     Chubu     Kinki     Chugoku     Chugoku     Shikoku     Kyushu

 

Hot Springs

Like a giant sponge soaked with hot water, Japan literally leaks from thousands of hot springs right across the country. And at some 1,800 of these hot spring areas, a large number of special hot spring resorts have sprung up over the 2,000 years or so that the Japanese have being enjoying a good, hot bath. Japan's hot spring resorts, known as onsens in Japanese, are among its most enjoyable destinations for visitors, and offer a mind-boggling array of variations on the seemingly simple act of soaking in hot mineral waters.

Hokkaido

  • Jozan-kei Spa
    Location:Jozan-kei-onsen, Minami-ku, Sapporo-shi, Hokkaido
    Description:Situated in a scenic canyon that offers great natural beauty in every season, Jozan-kei Spa has abundant charms.
    Access:About 1 hr. 10 min. by bus from JR Sapporo Sta.

    "Sapporo's back parlor" is alongside a ravine. The symbol of Jozan-kei Valley is kappa, the water sprite.
    Jozan-kei (valley)-onsen Hot Spring is located in the southwest of Sapporo along an upstream ravine by the Toyohira-gawa River. Called "Sapporo's back parlor," the spa is surrounded by mountains. It was discovered by a monk called Jozan, and was named after him for the efforts he made to develop it. The spa is known for its plentiful waters, 200,000 liters of which flow every hour. The waters contain a large variety of minerals, including boric acid, sulfur and salt. The symbol of Jozan-kei Valley is the water sprite or kappa. The kappa is an imaginary Japanese animal that lives both on land and in water. It is a funny-shaped hobgoblin, with a plate on its head, webbed hands and feet, and a pointed mouth. It became the guardian spirit of this place from a legend about a young boy who is supposed to have been taken off to the land of the kappa, where he lived happily. Over 20 kappa stand in various poses around the spa town, including the "Great Kappa King." There is also a Kappa Pool, which becomes very lively during the Kappa Festival that takes place in early August. There are plenty of facilities for visitors nearby, such as the nature walkway alongside the ravine and Sapporo International Ski Resort. Jozan-kei Valley is also a hub for tourists going over the Nakayama-toge Pass to Lake Toya-ko, and the town is lively throughout the year.

    Getting there
    Shin-Chitose Airport is 1 hour 30 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport, and 1 hour 55 minutes from Kansai International Airport. Sapporo Station is 36 minutes from the airport by Rapid Train on the JR Chitose Line. The JR bus from Sapporo Station to Jozan-kei Valley takes 1 hour 20 minutes.

     

  • Noboribetsu Spa
    Location:Noboribetsu-onsen-cho, Noboribetsu-shi, Hokkaido
    Description:Surrounded by primeval forest, Noboribetsu Spa expresses the essence of Hokkaido.
    Access:About 37 min. from Minami-Chitose Sta. to Noboribetsu Sta.

    Jigoku-dani Valley, fuming with volcanic gas Noboribetsu primeval forest with mixed broad-leafed trees
    Noboribetsu in southwestern Hokkaido contains Noboribetsu-onsen, Karurusu-onsen, Noboritbetsu-rinkai-onsen Hot Springs, and has a rich variety of scenery including forests, lakes and marshes. It has been designated a part of Shikotsu-Toya National Park. Noboribetsu-onsen is one of Hokkaido's best-known hot springs, and is surrounded by virgin forest 200 meters above sea level. It has over 10 kinds of water, containing minerals such as hydrogen sulfide, salt, and iron. The quality of these minerals means the spa ranks among the world's most exceptional hot springs. The most impressive scene at the hot spring is Jigoku-dani Valley (hell valley), where yellowy gray volcanic gas is given off from the surface of the rocks. This makes the whole place smell strongly of sulfur, and gives it an image of hell. The valley is a 450-meter diameter volcano mouth, which produces 3,000 liters of hot water a day. In the northeastern part of the hot spring grow many sorts of wide-leafed trees, including oaks and a bamboo grass called kumaizasa. This is called Noboribetsu Genshirin, or primeval forest, and has been designated a natural monument. Around Shiho-mine Peak to the west, there is a bear farm where you can see brown bears. From the mountain summit you can view Lake Kuttara-ko, whose clear water is the second most transparent in Japan.


    Getting there
    Shin-Chitose Airport is 1 hour 30 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport. Noboribetsu Station is 37 minutes from Minami Chitose Station by special express on JR Muroran Honsen Line. The JR bus from Noboribetsu Station to the hot spring area takes 13 minutes.

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Tohoku

  • Hanamaki Spa
    Location:Yumoto, Hanamaki-shi, Iwate-ken
    Description:Set amid mountains including Manju-zan, this is one of the best spas in the Tohoku region of northeast Japan.
    Access:About 25 min. by bus from JR Shin-Hanamaki Sta.

    Hanamaki-onsen-go Village - well-known in Tohoku for its prominent accommodation facilities, and the setting for many famous Japanese fables
    Hanamaki City, located in the center of the Kitakami Basin in the mid-western part of Iwate Prefecture, is a city of parks centered on hot spring zones dotted along the Dai-gawa River, a tributary of the Kitakami-gawa River, and the valley of Yunosawa. Around a dozen hot springs, beginning with the Hanamaki-onsen Hot Spring and including Dai, Shidodaira, Osawa, and Namari, are known collectively as the Hanamaki-onsen-go Village which has many different types of accommodation and is a favorite spot for tourists in the Tohoku region (the northeastern region). In the village are Hanamaki Airport, providing the only air access to Iwate Prefecture, and Shin-Hanamaki Station on the Tohoku Shinkansen Line. Together they form the gateway to Iwate Prefecture. Hanamaki is also known as the home of fable writer Kenji Miyazawa, who was born here at the beginning of the 20th century. Kenji's large number of poems and fables are enjoyed by many readers even today for the fresh use of language, unrestrained imagination, and deep social insight. In Hanamaki, there are many places that appear in Miyazawa's fables, including his parents' house, the Miyazawa Kenji Memorial Museum, Kenji Miyazawa Dowa Mura (the village of fables), Poran-no-hiroba Square, and the IHATOV Center. These places attract visitors all year round.

    Getting there

    Three hours 15 minutes to Shin-Hanamaki Station from Tokyo Station by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line, and 5 hours 45 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station with a change at Tokyo Station by the JR Tokaido and Tohoku Shinkansen Line.

     

  • Akiu Spa
    Location:Akiu-machi, Taihaku-ku, Sendai-shi, Miyagi-ken
    Description:Akiu Spa, situated on the banks of the Natori River, offers a quiet retreat amid abundant greenery.
    Access:About 50 min. by bus from JR Sendai Sta.

    Modern hotels in the middle of greenery - a place to relax surrounded by nature
    Akiu-onsen Hot Spring is in the center of Miyagi and has prospered along the banks of the Natori-gawa River, which flows from Sendai Bay into the Pacific Ocean. It is an old hot spring whose origin is in the 6th century. Though Akiu is near the center of Sendai, over 90 percent of the town consists of mountain and forest. There are modern hotels in the middle of the greenery, giving it a quiet appearance. Along Natori-gawa River, there are many beautiful spots, from Rairai-kyo Valley with its mysterious, eye-catching crags, to Akiu-o-taki Falls and Futakuchi Valley. Rairai-kyo Valley is near the entrance of Akiu-onsen Hot Spring, and is beautiful in the green of spring and when the leaves are tinted by autumn. But in winter, when snow piles up on the five waterfalls and rocks, the scene is like an India ink painting. Akiu-o-taki Falls is 55 meters high, and if you go down the walkway to its basin and look up, you can feel its vast scale. The great sound and the spray have become symbols of Akiu-onsen Hot Spring. If you walk 15 minutes from the Akiu-onsen-Yumoto bus stop, you will come to the vast natural forest of Tenshukaku-Shizen-koen (Nature Park), where you can take a walk looking at mountain streams. This is a place where the townspeople relax, and there are facilities like Shinrin Sports-koen (park) and a golf course.

    Getting there
    Sendai Station is 2 hours from Tokyo Station by the JR Tohoku Shinkansen Line. Take the Miyagi Kotsu bus for Akiu-onsen, which reaches Akiu-onsen-Yumoto in 50 minutes.

     

  • Ginzan Spa
    Location:Ginzan-Shinbata, Obanazawa-shi, Yamagata-ken
    Description:Traditional wooden inns line both banks of the crystal-clear Ginzan-gawa River. Enjoy the natural therapeutic powers of the waters of Ginzan Spa.
    Access: About 45 min. by bus from Oishida Sta. on JR Ou Line.

    Famous hot spring that healed the fatigue of silver miners Beautiful dark blue porcelain made from clay rocks of the Ginzan, the silver mountain
    Ginzan-onsen Hot Spring is located along the Ginzan-gawa River in Obana-zawa in Yamagata Prefecture bordering Miyagi Prefecture. Graceful three- to four-story wooden inns stand in a row on both sides of the limpid stream of the Ginzan-gawa River that gives off steam from the hot spring. It has the air of a hermitage village. The name Ginzan means "sliver mountain," because a silver mine was discovered there around 500 years ago. This hot spring town makes you feel like you have strayed off into a movie scene in a Japanese period adventure film. The Shirogane-koen Park with a promenade at the end of the street lined with inns is the best course for a relaxed walk after you have enjoyed the hot spring. You will enjoy the sights of 22-meter high Shirogane-no-taki Falls at the entrance, Raion-no-taki Falls upstream, Choja-keikoku Valley with its monolithic riverbed, and Nobezawa-Ginkodo silver mine cave where you can take a 30-minute adventure tour through illuminated mine tunnels. In 1980, production of the evanescent porcelain Kaminohata-yaki pottery was resumed. Legend has it that this pottery was produced only for 10 years from 1831. It is made from the clay rocks unique to Ginzan-onsen Hot Spring. You can see this beautiful dark blue porcelain here.

    Getting there
    Take the JR Tohoku and Yamagata Shinkansen Line for 3 hours and 2 minutes from Tokyo Station to Oishida Station. Then take a bus for 40 minutes from Oishida Station to Ginzan-onsen.

     

  • I waki Yumoto Spa
    Location:Joban-Yumoto-machi, Iwaki-shi, Fukushima-ken
    Description:The hot spring of Yumoto Spa gushes from the pit of an abandoned coal mine. Extensive leisure facilities are available.
    Access:About 2 hr. 10 min. from Ueno Sta. to Yumoto Sta. by JR Limited Express Super Hitachi then about 6 min. walk.

    A former coal-mining area offering hot spring resorts that include Japan's first hot spring leisure park
    Iwaki is situated in the southeastern part of Fukushima between the Abukuma Mountain Range to the west and the Pacific Ocean to the east. It's the most heavily populated city in the prefecture, and in its center is an area in which modern buildings stand together with old storehouses and residences. In the north of the city is the Iwaki-shi Flower Center, whose grounds contain about 260,000 plants. The garden also contains six green houses, where visitors can enjoy a year-round view of cattleya and butterfly orchids. Other natural attractions include the Setogaro Cliff and Natsui-gawa Valley, consisting of fantastically shaped rocks and precipices. The scenery of waterfalls, deep pools, and fast-flowing streams are fascinating. In summer, visitors to Iwaki can enjoy watching the Jangara Nenbutsu-odori (dance) performance, a unique festival in which young men in yukata (informal cotton kimonos) with tucked-up sleeves, headbands and white tabi socks dance and parade through the city chanting a Buddhist invocation. Situated in the southwest of Iwaki is the Iwaki Yumoto-onsen Hot Spring area (also known as Mihako-no-yu). Once a thriving center of coal mining, this area has a 1,900-year history of tradition and is counted as one of Japan's three oldest hot springs. The sulfurous hot water, which is said to be effective for neuralgia and women's ailments, is drawn in huge quantities from the former Joban Coal Mine. A noteworthy attraction in the area is the Spa Resort Hawaiians, Japan's first spa resort, which uses the local hot-spring water to provide visitors with herbal baths and a wide variety of other baths.

    Getting there
    Iwaki is 2 hours and 20 minutes from Ueno Station (Tokyo) by Limited Express on the JR Joban Line. Yumoto Station is 2 hours and 10 minutes from Iwaki Station by Limited Express on the JR Joban Line.

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Kanto

  • Kinugawa Spa
    Location:Fujiwara, Fujiwara-Machitaki, Shioya-gun, Tochigi-ken
    Description:Kinugawa Spa, on the Kinu-gawa River, is one of the largest and most prominent resort areas in Japan. Here you will find a wide selection of fully-equipped modern accommodations.
    Access:About 2 hr. by limited express from Asakusa Sta. to Kinugawa-onsen Sta. onTobu Line

    The hot spring town along the Kinu-gawa River Valley  Oku-Kinu renowned for its hideaway "secret spas"
    Kinugawa-onsen Hot Spring is located along the river valley that lies between Mt. Dai-hyuga-san and Mt. Shaka-ga-take, on the upper stream of the Kinu-gawa River that runs through the central part of Tochigi. Those resorts form a town and it has been 300 years since the first spa opened. The scene of the valley changes its color by azaleas in spring and red leaves in autumn. Ryu-o-kyo Valley stretches for about 3 kilometers between Kinugawa-onsen and Kawaji-onsen Hot Spring further up the river and is provided with Ryu-o-kyo-shizen-kenkyu-ro (the nature searching path) along which you can take a walk and enjoy the grand scenery at the same time. You can also take a 40-minute boat ride down the fast-flowing part of the Kinu-gawa River and take a look at the 100-meter high cliffs. The sight is especially popular among tourists when leaves put on their autumn colors. Oku-Kinu is the general term for all the hot springs scattered all over the head-spring zone of Kinu-gawa River at the southeast of Mt. Kinu-numa-yama. Hot springs such as Hatcho-no-yu, Kani-yu, Tejiro-zawa, Kawamata stud the area and called "the home of secret spas." Surrounded by forty-eight bogs of various sizes, Oku-Kinu-shizen-kenkyuro is the place to feast your eyes on the alpine plants that come out in the marshland.


    Getting there
    By Limited Express on the Tobu Isesaki-Nikko-Kinugawa Line for 1 hour and 30 minutes from Asakusa Station (Tokyo) to Kinugawa-onsen Station. By bus for 1 hour and 46 minutes from Kinugawa-onsen Station to Oku-Kinu-onsen-go.


     

  • Kusatsu Spa
    Location:Kusatsu-machi, Azuma-gun, Gunma-ken
    Description:The Kusatsu Spa resort area boasts Japan's most bountiful natural hot spring, situated in the heart of Joshin'etsu National Park. It has been renowned for centuries throughout Japan for the healing powers of its waters.
    Access:About 1 hr. 10 min. by JR limited express "Kusatsu" from Ueno Sta. to Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi Sta. then about 30 min. by bus to Kusatsu-onsen.

    Hot spring found by a German doctor Highland routes for hiking
    Kusatsu is located at the southeastern foot of Mt. Shirane-san in the northwestern part of Gumma. The city became well known about 120 years ago when Dr. Balz, a doctor of medicine from Germany, found its hot spring to be very effective. In Kusatsu-onsen Hot Spring, there are eighteen public baths. Each bath has a different effect and different fountainhead. Most of them operate twenty-four hours a day. In the center of the hot spring town, Yubatake, one of the fountainheads, and Netsu-no-yu, where yumomi (stirring hot water with paddle-like wooden boards to cool it down) demonstrations are shown, are crowded with many tourists throughout the year. There are many places for tourists to visit where they can learn a lot about the nature and the hot spring. The Kusatsu Alpine-Plant Museum and the Kusatsu Hot-Spring Museum are but two of these. Mt. Shirane-san is the generic name for the active volcanoes Mt. Shirane-san, Mt. Hon-Shirane-san, Mt. Komenashi-yama and Mt. Yokote-yama, all of which belong to the Nasu Volcanic Zone. The crater on the mountaintop consists of Yugama, Kogama, and Mizugama, and from their slopes columns of smoke rise. Near the mountaintop, Shiga-Kusatsu-kogen Route is available for tourists to enjoy hiking, and this is also a popular ski resort. Manza-onsen Hot Spring, at the western foot of the mountain is well-known as a hot spring of high quality milky-white water.

    Getting there

    Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi Station is 1 hour 10 minutes from Ueno Station by the JR new limited express Kusatsu. Then take a bus from Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi Station to Kusatsu-onsen, which takes 30 minutes. Then take another bus from Kusatsu-onsen-bus terminal to Shirane-kazan, which takes 35 minutes. Tokyo Station is 2 hours 30 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station by the JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. Ueno Station is 7 minutes from Tokyo Station by the JR Yamanote Line.

     

  • Hakone Yumoto Spa
    Location:Yumoto, Hakone-machi, Ashigara-shimo-gun, Kanagawa-ken
    Description:Among the many hot springs of the Hakone area, Hakone Yumoto Spa is the most venerable of all, with a history dating back more than a thousand years.
    Access:About 15 min. from Odawara Sta. to Hakone Yumoto Sta. on Hakone Tozan Tetsudo Line

    The historical zone, home of renowned spas One of the best international holiday resorts

    Hakone is the name that refers to the whole area, surrounding Mt. Hakone-yama that is situated in the southwestern part of Kanagawa, and is part of the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. Hakone is an internationally well-known holiday resort that includes many renowned spas and Lake Ashino-ko, which was created by Mt. Fuji's repetitive volcanic activity. In Hakone, there are said to be "Hakone Thirteen Spas", or some even say "Hakone Seventeen Spas" altogether distinguished from each other by their distinctive ingredients and different healing effects. The Hakone Barrier was built on the Tokaido Highway(The road from Edo to Kyoto) in 1619 in order to fortify the capital Edo (former name of Tokyo) against various foreign clans from the west and to maintain public peace. The Hakone Barrier used to terrify travelers as they were thoroughly inspected before they were allowed to continue traveling along the Tokaido, the main transport artery of those days. For this reason, Hakone used to be called "the border between the east and the west". The original barrier which has been restored with related information, including armor and weapons, is open to the public nowadays. There are many other interesting sites in the surrounding area of Hakone. Visit Onshi Hakone Park, for instance, to see the up-side-down Mt. Fuji reflected in the surface of Lake Ashino-ko nearby. Hakone Museum proudly presents its collection of approximately 50 pieces of pottery. Enjoy a pleasant walk through Hakone Sengokubara Shissei Kaen where a beautiful garden of hydrophytes welcomes you. The conservation and protection of nature and the historical sites are well maintained in Hakone. The wetland plant colony is listed as a natural monument. Rows of cedar trees stretch for 2 km along the old Tokaido and the group of stone statues of Buddha is enshrined in Hakone.

    Getting there
    About 40 minutes by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line from Tokyo Station to Odawara Station. About 15 minutes by Hakone Tozan Tetsudo Line from Odawara Station to Hakone Yumoto Station.

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Chubu

  • Unazuki Spa
    Location:Unazuki, Unazuki-machi, Shimoniikawa-gun, Toyama-ken
    Description:Unazuki Spa, on the banks of the Kurobe-gawa River, represents the best of the Hokuriku region. It is especially famous as a spot for viewing gorgeous autumn colors.
    Access:About 1 hr. 55 min. by limited express from Echigo-Yuzawa Sta. to Uozu Sta. on JR Hokuriku Honsen Line then about 35 min. by limited express from Shin-Uozu Sta. to Unazuki-onsen Sta. by Toyama-chiho-tetsudo Honsen Line.


    A hot spring resort where the bronze statues of Takaoka Copperware stand  The Snow Carnival in winter presents Snow Fire Works
    In the northeastern part of Toyama, at the mouth of Kurobe Canyon, Unazuki-onsen is the largest hot spring in the prefecture. Located on the river terrace of Kurobe-gawa River, Unazuki-onsen Hot Spring developed together with the development of power sources. It is the starting point of the Kurobe Canyon Tetsudo Line, which runs between Unazuki and Keyaki-daira in the deep V-shaped valley. It is also the base for those who want to explore other scenic spots.  Boiling hot spring water, 98 degrees Celsius, is brought from upstream Kuronagi-onsen Hot Spring to Unazuki. The fountain in front of the station is unique in that it gushes out hot water of 45 to 50 degrees centigrade to a height of 1 to 2 meters. Most of the hotel facilities are along Kurobe-gawa River or along Unazuki Valley, and the beauty of the valley may be enjoyed from the hotel lobbies or from the big public baths as well. The 27 bronze statues on the streets are Takaoka Doki Copperware of Takaoka, which has been one of the most famous local crafts of Toyama since the 17th century. Another treat in Unazuki is the local beer served at its restaurants. The original beer, which uses the clear water of Kurobe-gawa River and barley of Unazuki, has a very rich taste. The Snow Carnival in winter presents Snow Fire Works and more than 100 skiers participate in the Torch Downhill by skiing down the slope with torches in their hands.

    Getting there
    From Tokyo Station, take JR Joetsu Shinkansen Line to Echigo Yuzawa Station and change to JR Hokuriku Line to Toyama Station, 3 Hours 30 Minutes. From Osaka Station, take JR Hokuriku Honsen Line to Toyama Station, 3 Hours 10 Minutes. From Dentetsu Toyama Station to Unazuki-onsen Station, 1 Hour by Toyama-chiho-tetsudo Honsen Limited Express.

     

  • Kaga Onsen-go Spa
    Description:Numerous hot springs dot the Kaga Onsen-go resort area. They include Yamanaka Spa, which has a history of more than a thousand years, Yamashiro Spa set at a higher eleveation in the Kagaheiya area, and a number of modern accommodations at Katayamazu Spa.


    A lagoon, which changes its color 7 times a day 1,300 year old hot springs
    The Kaga-onsen-go hot spring district is located at the southern hem of the Kanazawa Plain that surrounds Kaga in southern Ishikawa. This district has 4 hot spring sites, Yamashiro, Awazu, Yamanaka and Katayamazu, and is called the inner parlor of the Kansai Region. Yamashiro hot spring is believed to have been discovered 1,300 years ago. It is noted for the quarter named Yu-no-kuruwa where long-established inns characterized with red latticework are gathered around a gorgeous public bathhouse Soyu Yokuden. Another old hot spring Awazu is a popular sightseeing spot with its Yunokuni Mori or a forest of hot springs, where visitors can enjoy Kutaniyaki pottery, Wajima Japanese craft ware, Kaga Yuzen printed silk, gilded crafts and many other traditional arts and crafts of Ishikawa. Yamanaka hot spring is encircled by the Mizunashi-gawa River, Mt. Yakusi and Mt. Higashi. Katayamazu hot spring stretches along the Shibayama-gata Lagoon, which changes its color 7 times a day, and offers a panoramic view of the Hakusan mountain range on fine days. Both hot springs receive a ceaseless flow of visitors who seek these wonderful scenic sites. Yamanaga is also known for Yamanaka Japanese craft ware and its unique culture.

    Getting there

    An hour from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Komatsu Airport. Take JR Joetsu Shinkansen Line for 1 hour and 35 minutes from Tokyo Station to Echigo-Yuzawa Station, then take a limited express on JR Hokuetsu Kyuko Line for 2 hours and 25 minutes to Kanazawa Station. Take a limited express on JR Hokuriku Main Line for 30 minutes to Kaga-onsen Station. If you are coming from Osaka Station, take a limited express on JR Hokuriku Main Line for 2 hours and 20 minutes from Osaka Station to Kaga-onsen.

    • (Yamashiro Spa)
      Location:Yamashiro-onsen, Kaga-shi, Ishikawa-ken
      Access:About 1 hr. 30 min. by limited express from Maibara Sta. to Kaga-onsen Sta. on JR Hokuriku Honsen Line then about 10 min. by Hokutetsu Bus to Yamashiro-Nishiguchi Bus stop

    • (Yamanaka Spa)
      Location:Yamanaka-machi, Enuma-gun, Ishikawa-ken
      Access:About 1 hr. 30 min. by limited express from Maibara Sta. to Kaga-onsen Sta. on JR Hokuriku Honsen Line then about 20 min. by bus to Yamanaka-onsen

    • (Katayamazu Spa)
      Location:Kataymazu-onsen, Kaga-shi, Ishikawa-ken
      Access:About 1 hr. 30 min. by limited express from Maibara Sta. to Kaga-onsen Sta. on JR Hokuriku Honsen Line then about 10 min. by Hokutetsu Bus to Katayamazu-onsen

       

  • Wakura Spa
    Location:Wakura-machi, Nanao-shi, Ishikawa-ken
    Description:Wakura Spa offers the most bountiful springs and the most extensive accommodations in the Noto Peninsula. It is becoming well-known abroad as well as in Japan.
    Access:About 12 min. by bus from Komatsu Airport to Komatsu Sta. then take a Limited Express "Shirasagi" on JR Hokuriku Honsen Line for 38 min. to Wakura-onsen Sta.

     

  • Yudanaka, Shibu Spa
    Description:Surrounded by mountains, the Yudanaka Spa resort area features modern hotel spas. Shibu Spa, meanwhile, is dotted with traditional Japanese wooden inns and bustling public bathing areas.

    • (Yudanaka Spa)
      Location:Yudanaka, Yamanouchi-machi, Shimotakai-gun, Nagano-ken
      Access:About 45 min. by limited express from Yudanaka Sta. to Nagano Sta. on Nagano Dentetsu Line.

    • (Shibu Spa)
      Location:Shibu, Yamanouchi, Shimotakai-gun, Nagano-ken
      Access:About 45 min. by limited express from Nagano Sta. to Yudanaka Sta. on
      Nagano Dentetsu Line then about 8 min. by bus

       

  • Gero Spa
    Location:Mori, Koden, Yunoshima, Gero-cho, Mashita-gun, Gifu-ken
    Description:The Chubu region's most exclusive spa area is Gero Spa, situated in the Hida Mountains.
    Access:About 1hr. 37 min. by limited express from Nagoya Sta. to Gero Sta. on JR Takayama Honsen Line

    One of the three best hot springs in Japan Amateur Kabuki performances are held in the spring and autumn
    Gero-onsen Hot Spring, located in the middle eastern part of Gifu on the border with Nagano has been known as a spa since the 10th century. It is considered one of the three best hot springs in Japan and is renown to be very good for rheumatic ailments. The "Yu-meijin Yu-meguri Tegata" pass, that allows you to visit three other hot springs other than the one you are staying at, is available. Amateur Kabuki performances are held in spring by the Ho-o-za troupe and in autumn by the Haku-un-za troupe. This is a hundred year-old performing art peculiar to the local farming villages, and is a simple play performed by local people not only as stage carpenters and stage lighting engineers but also as actors. At the Ryujin (Dragon) Fire Festival held in midsummer, men controlling five dragons are sprayed with sparks of fire from handheld fireworks and torches, whilst performing valiant dances. For the following two days Gero-onsen-matsuri Festival is held. A portable shrine carried by women on the second day and approximately 2,000 fireworks on the third day are also very impressive. In the winter Ta-no-kami-matsuri Festival, designated as an important cultural asset is held. The Festival reaches its climax when men clad in hats adorned with flowers made with red, yellow and white rice paper dance in the shrine compound.

    Getting there
    About 1 hour 40 minutes from Tokyo Station to Nagoya Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. About 55 minutes from Shin Osaka Station to Nagoya Station. About 1 hour 37 minutes from Nagoya Station to Gero Station by JR Takayama Honsen Limited Express.

     

  • Atami Spa
    Location:Atami-shi, Shizuoka-ken
    Description:Practically everyone in Japan knows the legendary Atami Spa, a large resort area on the coast facing the Pacific Ocean.
    Access:About 40 min. from Tokyo Sta. to Atami Sta. by JR Tokaido Shinkansen

    An international hot spring resort with many museums 33,000 liters of hot spring water pours into the city every minute
    Located at the root of the Izu-hanto Peninsula, Atami and Ito that face Sagami Bay are areas with modern hotels, Japanese inns with historical backgrounds and various amusement facilities standing next to each other, forming one of the leading hot spring resorts in Japan. In Atami there is the famous Atami Hot Spring, Izu-yama-onsen Hot Spring, Izu-Yugawara-onsen Hot Spring and Ajiro-onsen Hot Spring, and at the heart of the Atami Hot Spring resort is the Oyu Geyser that spouts up a huge quantity of hot water. Also, atop the hill on the mountainside of Atami Station is the MOMA Museum that possesses approximately 3,500 mainly oriental paintings and applied arts. There is a Noh theater and a golden tearoom annexed on the compound of the Museum. In Ito, the Ito Hot Spring on the Matsu-kawa River that runs through the city boasts of an abundant quantity of hot water that reaches 33,000 liters every minute, one of the largest in the Kanto region. There are many museums of various sizes in the city: Ikeda 20th Century Museum that specializes in arts created with the theme "human" by artists of the 20th century; and a sound museum, the Izu Music Box Museum, that exhibits antique music boxes from all over the world as well as about 80 automated musical instruments.

    Getting there

    About 40 minutes from Tokyo Station to Atami Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. About 1 hour from Atami Station to Ito Station by JR Ito Line. About 2 hours 15 minutes from Shin Osaka Station to Atami Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line.

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Kinki

  • Shirahama Spa
    Location:Yuzaki, Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro-gun, Wakayama-ken
    Description:Shirahama Spa, overlooking the deep blue sea from the coast of the Shirahama-hanto Peninsula, is a resort area renowned for its wealth of history and facilities.
    Access:About 15 min. by bus from Shirahama Sta. to Shirahama-onsen

    A large spot of leisure facing the Pacific Ocean with wall-like bluffs and tiered Senjo-jiki (thousand "tatami" matted rock)
    Nanki, a generic name for the entire southwestern part of Wakayama, is a large spot of leisure containing various amusement facilities, beaches and places where you can enjoy marine sports, golfing and tennis. Shirahama-cho, a center town of Nanki, is a typical hot-spring resort facing the Pacific Ocean in the Kii-hanto Peninsula and is known as one of Japan's three largest spas together with Beppu in Oita and Atami in Shizuoka. Collectively called the Shirahama-onsen Hot Springs comprises the Yuzaki-onsen Hot Spring, long known for open-air bathing in manually hollowed rock tubs and other hot springs at Shirahama opened early in the 20th century, Higashi-Shirahama, Tsunashirazu and others.  In and around Shirahama are many places of natural beauty visited by a large number of tourists throughout the year, such as Engetsu-jima Island, an uninhabited rock isle with a round sea cave open in the middle of it, and Sandan-beki (three-tiered wall) with 50 to 60-meter-high precipitous rock walls extending about 2 kilometers from south to north. Another must-see is Senjo-jiki, a huge multi-tiered rock that looks like a thousand "tatami" matted (senjo-jiki) floor created by the erosion of soft sandstone by raging waves.

    Getting there
    An hour and 5 minutes to Nanki-Shirahama Airport from Tokyo Haneda Airport in Tokyo. Twenty-five minutes from Nanki-Shirahama Airport to Shirahama Station by bus. Two hours and 30 minutes to Shin-Osaka Station from Tokyo Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. Two hours and 15 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station to Shirahama Station by JR Kisei Honsen Line.

     
  • Arima Spa
    Location:Arima-cho, Kita-ku, Kobe-shi, Hyogo-ken
    Description:The waters of Arima Spa, one of the oldest hot springs in Japan, bubble from the foot of the mountain Rokko-san. Relax and enjoy the soothing atmosphere of a spring that has been welling up for thousands of years.
    Access:About 35 min. by bus from JR Shin-Kobe Sta. to Arima-onsen

    Rokko Mountains that afford an overwhelming million-dollar night view of Kobe Arima, one of the oldest hot spring resort dating back to the 8th century.
    Located in southern Hyogo and on the northern coast of the Osaka Bay, the Rokko Mountains belong to Seto-nai-kai National Park and are the best sightseeing and health resort in the Hanshin (Osaka-Kobe) district. The highest of the mountains is Mt. Rokko-san, 931 meters above sea level, affording a night view of Kobe so beautiful that it is admired as "million-dollar night view." Mt. Rokko-san area was originally opened as a place for foreigners' cottages, followed by rapid development into a health resort since when a cable railway was put in service. It boasts a 100 year old golf course, the oldest in Japan, a man-made skiing ground, the Rokko Ranch run by Kobe City where Kiso horses (Japanese breed), Tokara horses and other horses are grazed on an spacious ground, drawing upward of 7 million visitors a year. Located in what is called "Ura-Rokko" (back of Rokko) in the north of Kobe is the Arima-onsen Hot Spring Resort, one of the oldest in Japan, said to have been opened when Buddhist monks built a sanitarium there in the 8th century. The spa contains a variety of hot springs including salt-rich spring with a salt content as high as twice that of seawater, carbonated spring with the flavor of soda-pop and radium spring. Arima-onsen is very popular as it is referred to as "The back parlor of Keihanshin" (Kyoto, Osaka and Kobe).


    Getting there
    About 3 hours and 10 minutes to Shin-Kobe Station from Tokyo Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line. To Rokko, 20 minutes from Shin-Kobe Station to Hankyu Rokko Station by bus. Thirty-three minutes to Hankyu Rokko Station from Hankyu Umeda Station by Hankyu Dentetsu Railway. Twenty-five minutes from Hankyu Rokko Station to the top of Mt. Rokko-san by bus. To Arima-onsen Hot Springs, 35 minutes from Shin-Kobe Station to Arima-onsen by bus. Fifty-five minutes from Osaka Station to Arima-onsen by bus.

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Chugoku

  • Tamatsukuri Spa
    Location:Tamatsukuri, Tamayu-cho, Yatsuka-gun, Shimane-ken
    Description:Tamatsukuri Spa, the pride of the San'in region, has been welcoming visitors for over 1,300 years.
    Access:About 2 hr. 25 min. by limited express from Okayama Sta. to Tamatsukuri-onsen Sta. on JR Sanin Line then about 7 min. by bus

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Shikoku

  • Dogo Spa
    Location:Yuno-machi, Dogo, Matsuyama-shi, Ehime-ken
    Description:Therapeutic Dogo Spa is one of the top hit spring facilities in western Japan, and is said to date back three thousand years.
    Access:About 20 min. from Matsuyama Sta. to Dogo-onsen Sta. on Iyo Tetsudo Line

    Symbolic of Dogo-onsen Hot Spring, Dogo-onsen Honkan Original Communal Hot Spring Bath House
    Japan's oldest hot springs with a history of 3,000 years
    Located in the west of Ehime and in the northeastern part of Matsuyama, Dogo-onsen Hot Spring is Japan's oldest noted spa said to have been opened about 3000 years ago. In the center of the hot-spring town where numbers of inns and hotels are clustered, the Dogo-onsen Honkan, a communal bathhouse. The building was erected in 1894 and is the symbol of Dogo today. With the magnificent three-storied castle-styled wooden structure that has been designated to the first important cultural property as public bathhouse in Japan, it boasts its time-honored and dignified appearance amid modern hotels and shops. It has a watchtower called "Shinro-kaku" on the roof, and the sound of the time-telling drum that it beats three times a day, or morning, noon and evening, is reverberated all over the spa town. In the Dogo-onsen Honkan, you can make yourself comfortable in the grand hall or in a private room even in case of only taking bath. In the neighborhood of the Dogo-onsen Honkan are historic temples like Ishite-ji and Hogen-ji, cultural institutions and the spa streets lined with souvenir shops. If you take one of the rikishas that appear in front of the Honkan building at dusk, you can enjoy a joyful sightseeing guided by the dashing young rikisha man and taking pictures.


    Getting there
    About 1 hour and 25 minutes to Matsuyama Airport from Tokyo Haneda Airport; about 50 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport. About 45 minutes from Matsuyama Airport to Dogo-onsen Hot spring by bus. About 3 hours and 20 minutes to Okayama Station from Tokyo Station by JR Tokai-Sanyo Shinkansen Line; about 40 minutes from Shin-Osaka Station by JR Sanyo Shinkansen Line. About 3 hours from Okayama Station to Matsuyama Station by JR Seto-ohashi-Yosan Line by limited express. About 20 minutes from Matsuyama Station to Dogo Onsen Hot Spring Station by Iyo Railway train.

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Kyushu

  • Unzen Spa
    Location:Unzen, Obama-cho, Minami-Takaki-gun, Nagasaki-ken
    Description:Well-known in Japan and abroad as restful and cosmopolitan, Unzen Spa is situated at an elevation of 700 m. Hot spring water can be seen gushing out of the ground in many places.
    Access:About 15 min. by bus from Nagasaki Airport to JR Omura Sta. then about 12 min. to Isahaya Sta. on JR Omura Line. Take a Shimabara Tetsudo for 1hr. 10 min. from Isahaya Sta. to Shimabara Sta. then about 50 min. by bus(bound for Unzen, Nagasaki) to Unzen

    Cool weather in summer makes this place a popular summer resort Fumes burst out from the ground at Unzen-onsen Hot Springs
    Unzen is the name of the region in the center of the Shimabara-hanto Peninsula which belongs to the volcanic region of Mt. Unzen-dake. Its principal peak is Mt. Fugen-dake and the area is part of Unzen-Amakusa National Park. In 1990, Mt. Fugen-dake erupted after 198 years of silence and the lava dome of Mt. Heisei-shinzan was formed. The dramatic shape of the new mountain may be seen from observation points at Nita-toge Pass and from Mt. Myoken-dake. Unzen-onsen Hot Spring is on the southwest side of Mt. Unzen-dake, at 700 to 800 meters above sea level. The hot spring is divided into three sections: Koyu, Shin-yu and Sho-jigoku, and is a popular summer resort because of the cool weather in summer. Sulfuric gas colors the ground red and yellow where fumes have burst out, and more than thirty hot springs are scattered in the deserted landscape of Unzen. Shimabara City faces Shimabara Bay on the east coast of the Shimabara-hanto Peninsula. It prospered as the town around Shimabara Castle, built in the 17th century, and old temples and the sites of lower-class samurai houses used until the 19th century, still remain today. Missionaries were active in Shimabara in the early 17th century, and many locals became Christians. However, the administrator of that time banned Christianity and Shimabara was known for its harsh oppression of Christians.

    Getting there

    From Tokyo Haneda Airport, 1 hour 55 minutes to Nagasaki Airport. From Osaka Itami Airport, 1 hour 20 minutes. From Nagasaki Airport, 15 minutes by bus to JR Omura Station. From Omura Station, 12 minutes by the JR Omura Line to Isahaya Station. From Isahaya Station, 1 hour 12 minutes by bus to Unzen-koen. From Shimabara Station to Isahaya Station, 40 minutes by the Shimabara Tetsudo Line.

     

  • Beppu Spa
    Location:Beppu-shi, Oita-ken
    Description:Beppu Spa is one of the top hot spring resorts in Japan. Visitors can enjoy many forms of entertainment and amusement in addition to the plentiful hot springs.
    Access:About 15 min. from Oita Sta. to Beppu Sta. on JR Nippo Honsen Line

    Largest Hot Water Gush Volume in Japan Strange Sights To See On Tour of Hell
    Beppu is located in the central part of Oita, on the coast of Beppu Bay faces the sea, with Mt. Tsurumi and the rest of the Tsurumi Volcanoes in the rear. Hot water gushes at many spots in the city. Beppu ranks first in gush volume in Japan and is in a high place in the world in the number of sources and the variety of chemical properties. The Beppu-onsen Spa consists of eight hot spring areas including Hamawaki, Beppu, Kankaiji, Myoban and Kannawa, which are collectively called "Beppu Hatto". In addition, there are many modern spa resorts also supplied from the rich sources in those areas. The Tour of Hell along a path in the Kannawa area is the highlight of sightseeing in the Beppu Spa. Eight spots including the Umi-jigoku (sea hell) made up of bright cobalt blue hot water, the Chi-no-ike-jigoku (blood pond hell) where hot water containing red melted clay gushes out and the Tatsumaki-jigoku (tornado hell), a geyser, are usually on the itinerary of the tour. On the outskirts of Beppu are comfortable resort areas with many leisure activity facilities such as the Takasaki Shizen-dobutsu-en(Mt. Takasaki Monkey Land Natural Park) featuring a specifies of monkey native of Japan designated as a Natural Monument and Lake Shidaka-ko amid Mt. Tsurumi-dake, Mt. Yufu-dake and other mountains.

    Getting there
    An hour 40 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Oita Airport. An hour from Osaka Itami Airport. Fifty-five minutes by bus from Oita Airport to Oita Station. Twelve minutes from Oita Station to Beppu Station on the JR Nippo Honsen Line.

     

  • Ibusuki Spa
    Location:Ibusuki-shi, Kagoshima-ken
    Description:Ibusuki Spa, on the shores of Kinko Bay, offers the hospitality of Kyushu. This resort is especially famous for its sand baths.
    Access:About 20 min. walk from Ibusuki Sta. on JR Ibusuki-Makurazaki Line

    The largest crater lake in Kyushu Sweating in a steaming-hot sand bath
    Ibusuki, located in the southeastern end of the Satsuma-hanto Peninsula, is a typical tourist resort in Kyushu, full of the atmosphere of southern countries, blessed with mild weather, and surrounded by hibiscuses. It is known especially for its natural steaming sand baths heated by subterranean geysers. Bathers clad in kimono lie, covered up to their neck, in sand. After about 10 minutes, the comfortable weight and cozy heat of the sand stimulate their blood circulation, causing them to break out in a sweat over their whole of their body. It is cool, though, around their faces, so that children and adults can enjoy themselves. One of the attractions in Ibusuki is Lake Ikeda-ko, the largest lake in Kyushu. It is a crater lake, formed by the subsidence of land when Mt. Kaimon-dake erupted, 19 kilometers around and 265 meters deep. By the lake in spring, rape blossoms are in their best, and you can enjoy the sight of the beautiful contrast between the blue lake and bright colored blossoms. In Chiran-cho, to the northwest of Ibusuki, there are samurai residences, surrounded by stonewalls, lined up about 700 meters along the road, remaining as they were about 250 years ago.

    Getting there
    Kagoshima Airport is 1 hour 50 minutes from Tokyo Haneda Airport, 1 hour 10 minutes from Osaka Itami Airport, and 1 hour 5 minutes from Kansai International Airport. Then take a bus from Kagoshima Airport to Ibusuki, which takes 1 hour 10 minutes. Hakata Station is 5 hours from Tokyo Station by the JR Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen Line. Nishi-Kagoshima is 4 hours 55 minutes from Hakata by the JR Kagoshima Honsen Line Limited Express. Ibusuki is 1 hour from Nishi-Kagoshima by the JR Ibusuki-Makura-zaki Line Rapid Train.

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  Information provided by Japan National Tourist Organization.

 

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