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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Back to the Top
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
Back to the Top
Location:Fujiwara, Fujiwara-Machitaki, Shioya-gun,
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.
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.
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
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
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
Hakone Yumoto Spa
Location:Yumoto, Hakone-machi, Ashigara-shimo-gun,
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.
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.
Back to the Top
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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
Location:Yudanaka, Yamanouchi-machi, Shimotakai-gun,
Access:About 45 min. by limited express from Yudanaka Sta. to
Nagano Sta. on Nagano Dentetsu Line.
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
Location:Mori, Koden, Yunoshima, Gero-cho, Mashita-gun,
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
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.
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
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.
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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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.
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.
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).
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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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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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
Access:About 20 min. from Matsuyama Sta. to Dogo-onsen Sta. on Iyo
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
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
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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.
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.
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
Largest Hot Water Gush Volume in Japan Strange Sights To See On Tour
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.
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.
Description:Ibusuki Spa, on the shores of Kinko Bay, offers the
hospitality of Kyushu. This resort is especially famous for its sand
Access:About 20 min. walk from Ibusuki Sta. on JR Ibusuki-Makurazaki
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.
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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provided by Japan National Tourist Organization.