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Japan's Famous Hot Springs

Japan In-depth


Nasu-onsen-kyo Hot Spring Village
It is believed that a deer was witnessed healing its wounds in this hot spring about 1400 years ago. Seven hot springs are spotted on the slope of Nasu-dake Valley. Its main hot spring, Nasu-Yumoto-onsen, includes a historical spot called "Sessho-seki," a stone that is believed to be the transformation of a legendary fox with nine tails, while a communal bath called "Shika-no-yu (deer's bath)" still maintains the atmosphere of a traditional therapeutic bath. Santogoya-onsen is a secluded hot spring in a deep mountain area that you can reach only on foot. Yahata-onsen is a popular sightseeing spot especially in mid-May to early June, when the azaleas bloom.

Address: Nasu-machi, Nasu-gun, Tochigi
Directions: 50 min ride from JR Nasu-Shiobara Station (Tohoku Shinkansen Line) by bus for Nasu-Yumoto.

Kinugawa-onsen Hot Spring
Kinugawa-onsen is a hot spring village filled with nature, located along the Kinu-gawa River which runs through Nikko National Park. Since early times, people have loved this hot spring saying, "Kawaji-onsen for wounds and Kinugawa-onsen for burns." It is conveniently located and takes only about two hours travel from Asakusa, Tokyo. There are also a number of theme parks and skiing areas nearby. If you go a little further, you can also enjoy a visit to Nikko to see Nikko-tosho-gu Shrine, a world heritage site, as well as Nikko-Futarasan-jinja Shrine and Rin-o-ji Temple. This is what makes Kinugawa-onsen one of the most popular destinations in Japan.

Address: Kinugawa-onsen, Nikko, Tochigi
Directions: Exit at Kinugawa-onsen Station (Tobu Kinugawa Line).


Ikaho-onsen Hot Spring
Ikaho-onsen is a hot spring town that has been popular among people since the period of Manyo in the first half of the 8th century. People of cultural eminence, such as Yumeji Takehisa and Roka Tokutomi, also embraced this place with its stone steps that symbolize the town. After walking up 360 stone steps, through a number of inns and souvenir shops, you can find Ikaho-jinja Shrine. Further along, you will see hot water escaping from the dome-shaped glass at the spring. The water is a brownish-red color, unique to Ikaho, and is directly taken from the spring. It works for neuralgic pains and for backaches, and is famous as "the water to be blessed by children." Some say that Onsen-manju (hot spring cake) was first made in this town.

Address: Ikaho-machi, Shibukawa, Gunma
Directions: 25 min ride by bus for Ikaho-onsen from JR Shibukawa Station (Joetsu Line) to the final bus stop, Ikaho-onsen.

Kusatsu-onsen Hot Spring
Kusatsu-onsen is a therapeutic bath that has been popular since ancient times, as believed to be found by Prince Yamatotakeru-no-mikoto in Japanese mythology. It is said that this hot spring can cure any disease except love sickness. Its unique way of bathing called Jikan-yu is what makes this hot spring well known: 100% pure hot spring water, just sourced, is experienced at one of the highest acid levels and temperatures in Japan. Close to "Yubatake," the facility symbolizing Kusatsu-onsen in the center of town, you can partake in strolling and foot bathing at "Yukemuri-tei" around the clock. Kusatsu-onsen is one of three of the most famous hot springs in Japan.

Address: Kusatsu-cho, Agatsuma-gun, Gunma
Directions: 25 min ride by bus for Kusatsu-onsen Bus Terminal from JR Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi Station (Agatsuma Line) to the final stop, Kusatsu-onsen Bus Terminal.


Hakone-onsen Hot Spring
Hakone-onsen is a generic name for several hot springs located around Mt. Hakone-yama, situated in the center of Fuji Hakone Izu National Park. This hot spring was very popular during the Edo Period (1603-1867) as an important site located on Tokaido Street. Each hot spring has a different atmosphere and spring quality, and many variations of Japanese hot springs can be enjoyed here. Also, there are a number of sightseeing points such as the range of mountains from Mt. Kami-yama (the highest elevation in Hakone) to Mt. Komagatake over the central cone, Lake Ashino-ko (a caldera formation) on the crater basin, sacred Mt. Fuji in the west, and the magnificent scenery of Suruga-wan and Sagami-wan bays in the southeast. It takes only 90 minutes from Shinjuku (Tokyo) to visit this hot spring, one of the most popular in Japan.

Address: Hakone-machi, Ashigarashimo-gun, Kanagawa
Directions: Take Hakone Tozan Railway from Hakone-Yumoto Station (Odakyu Line).


Atami-onsen Hot Spring
Atami-onsen dates back to about 1250 years ago, when hot water springs in the sea were found. Since the high-temperature water with its high salt content has excellent insulation properties, it works well for neuralgia and excessive sensitivity to cold. The water also attracts women who want to tighten up their skin and tone the body. An ancient document is noted a saying that the first Tokugawa Shogun Ieyasu (1543-1616) sojourned here; he even had the water transported to his Edo Castle in Tokyo for the purpose of bathing. The highlight of a sightseeing trip is the fireworks displays that are held several times throughout the year.

Address: Higashikaigan-cho, Atami, Shizuoka
Directions: Exit at JR Atami Station (Tokaido Line)