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Hokkaido - Tohoku

Japan In-depth

Hokkaido

Jozankei-onsen Hot Spring
Jozankei-onsen is a hot spring village found in a green valley, located in Shikotsu-Toya National Park. The Sapporo Kokusai Ski Resort is nearby, as well as a number of sightseeing spots such as Hoheikyo Dam and Jozankei Dam. Jozan-gensen-koen Park is located in the center of town. There, you can enjoy forest bathing and a stroll on the promenade along the Toyohira-gawa River, which has hot water springing from its bottom, to the suspension bridge of Futami-koen Park and Kappa-fuchi Abyss known for the story of a legendary creature, kappa. Its Na-Cl Spring, which contains clear and colorless water of a mild salty taste, is one of the most popular qualities of any of the hot springs in Japan.

Address: Jozankei-onsen, Minami-ku, Sapporo, Hokkaido
Directions: 1h10min ride by Jotetsu Bus (Jozankei Line) from JR Sapporo Station to Jozankei.

Noboribetsu-onsen Hot Spring
Noboribetsu-onsen attracts people by its various springs incorporating nine different qualities, including the sulfur spring (the most popular one among all) as well as a ferruginous spring and an alum spring which makes the skin beautiful. This much variety is hard to find in hot springs anywhere else in the world. The water volume of the natural discharge is 10,000 t per day, while the water temperature ranges between 45°C and 90°C. Jigoku-dani Valley, designated as one of Hokkaido's heritage sites, is a few minutes' walk from the hot spring area. There, you can experience the dynamics of jigoku, or "Hell," named as such for its strong smell of sulfur while hot water, vapors and volcanic gas escape from the crater, formed approximately ten thousand years ago.

Address: Noboribetsu-onsen-cho, Noboribetsu, Hokkaido Directions: 13 min ride by bus for Noboribetsu-onsen from JR Noboribetsu Station (Muroran Line) to the final bus stop, Noboribetsu-onsen.

Iwate

Hanamaki-onsen Hot Spring
Hanamaki-onsen, representing Iwate Prefecture, is the generic name for several hot springs including Dai-onsen, Hanamaki-onsen, Shidotaira-onsen (along the Toyosawa-gawa River) and Hanamaki-minami-onsen-kyo Village, which consists of eight different hot springs like Osawa-onsen. This location has developed as a popular travel destination over the years and is well known as a hot spring and therapeutic bath resort area for people living in Hanamaki. A number of famous literaries such as Kenji Miyazawa and Kotaro Takamura have immensely enjoyed this hot spring. Nearby, you can find the "Hanamaki-onsen Rose & Herb Garden" built at the remains of Nansha-kadan Garden designed by Kenji Miyazawa, who spent his entire life in Hanamaki.

Address: Hanamaki, Iwate
Directions: 20 min ride by Iwate-ken Kotsu Bus from JR Hanamaki Station (Tohoku Line).

Yamagata

Zao-onsen Hot Spring
Zao-onsen is a hot spring village founded approximately 1900 years ago, located at the foot of the Zao Mountain Range over Yamagata and Miyagi prefectures. Adjacent skiing areas welcome a number of visitors, since its high altitude assures enough snow for skiing even during warm winters. With the special water supplied by the acidic sulfur spring, which has a unique smell, you can't make any soap bubbles. However, the water is very popular among people as "water to nurture the health in children" and "water for making skin light, smooth and beautiful."

Address: Zao-onsen, Yamagata
Directions: Take a bus for Zao-onsen from JR Yamagata Station (Yamagata Shinkansen Line) to Zao-onsen Bus Terminal.

Ginzan-onsen Hot Spring
On both sides of the Ginzan-gawa River which runs through the town of Ginzan-onsen, you can find inns comprising three to four levels, with wooden balconies. These inns exhibit the signs of early times from Taisho Era to the early Showa Era of the 1920s, and gas lights burned after sunset create an even more romantic atmosphere. The milky waters of this spring make your body feel warm from the inside. It is also highly recommended to visit this location in the winter to enjoy its beautiful snow-covered landscape.

Address: Ginzan-onsen, Obanazawa, Yamagata
Directions: 40 min ride by bus from JR O-ishida Station (Yamagata Shinkansen Line).

Miyagi

Akiu-onsen Hot Spring
Akiu-onsen is known as the hot spring resort area for people living in Sendai, the central city of the Tohoku region. You can enjoy not only the hot springs, but also a stroll in the valley which contains unique rock formations and magnificent natural sceneries of the Ohtaki Falls and other beautiful spots.

Address: Akiu-machi, Taihaku-ku, Sendai, Miyagi
Directions: 45 min ride by Miyagi Kotsu Bus (express) from JR Sendai Station.

Fukushima

Iwaki-Yumoto-onsen Hot Spring
The Joban Coalfield was once located here, and the hot water of Iwaki-Yumoto-onsen is taken from the bored bottom of this field. There are some inns here, but among them, Spa Resort Hawaiian's is the one especially known to visitors: It is a large leisure center consisting of five theme parks such as Spring Park, Water Park, and the world's largest outdoor hot spring.

Address: Joban-Yumoto-machi, Iwaki, Fukushima
Directions: 2h20min ride by Super Hitachi (Joban Line) from JR Ueno Station to Yumoto Station.