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Tokai - Hokuriku

Japan's Famous Hot Springs

Japan In-depth


Yudanaka-onsen Hot Spring
Yudanaka-onsen, loved by Kobayashi Issa (regarded as the greatest haiku poet), has a long history of approximately 1350 years. It is a unique hot spring village that has springs close to the ground surface, which can be found everywhere in town. Many shrines are also spotted here, and each one preserves and treasures "stones" demonstrating the ancient history of Japan. After taking a bath, you can relax your soul and body while strolling through the village.

Address: Yudanaka-onsen, Yamanouchi-machi, Simotakai-gun, Nagano
Directions: 45 min ride from JR Nagano Station to Yudanaka Station (Nagano Electric Railway) by Limited-stop Express.


Echigo-Yuzawa-onsen Hot Spring
Echigo-Yuzawa-onsen has various hot springs in the vicinity of Echigo-Yuzawa Station (Joetsu Shinkansen Line) and is a popular destination for winter sports. There are a number of sotoyu (communal baths that have no accommodation) which you can enjoy along with many leisure possibilities. Its mildly alkaline water is said to work for muscle and neuralgic pains and to relieve fatigue. The famous Japanese novel written by Yasunari Kawabata, Yukiguni (Snow Country), is set in this town. One can experience the aura of the very first line of the novel, "The train came out of the long tunnel into the snow country" by taking the local trains.

Address: Yuzawa, Yuzawa-machi, Minami-uonuma-gun, Niigata
Directions: Exit at JR Echigo-Yuzawa Station (Joetsu Shinkansen Line).


Yamashiro-onsen Hot Spring
Yamashiro-onsen is the largest among the hot springs located among the three prefectures of the Hokuriku area, having a long history spanning over 1300 years. It is said that its origin goes back to 725, when a holy priest named Gyoki found a crow healing its wounds in the spring water. The town expands with "Yamashiro-onsen Yokuden" at its center, a communal bath used also by local people, and promotes a nostalgic atmosphere with its old inns with their bright sanguine lattices, and private houses. You can enjoy drinking the famous waters called "Otoko-shozu (male's freshwater)" and "Onna-shozu (female"s freshwater)" and continue by visiting many spots including a park called "Ruriko" which also has a hot spring.

Address: Yamashiro-onsen, Kaga, Ishikawa
Directions: 5 min ride by bus from JR Kaga-onsen Station (Hokuriku Line).

Wakura-onsen Hot Spring
Wakura-onsen is located on the Noto-hanto Peninsula facing the Japan Sea, boasting a long history as an ocean hot spring. You will be attracted not only by its high volume of water (at a relatively high temperature), but also by the availability of seasonal seafood. As well, you can enjoy cruising and fishing boat trips from May to September.

Address: Wakura-machi, Nanao, Ishikawa
Directions: 1h30min ride from JR Kanazawa Station to Wakura-onsen Station (Nanao Line).


Unazuki-onsen Hot Spring
Although it has been known for a long time that a hot spring existed in the Kurobe area (where Unazuki-onsen is located), the location was surrounded by primeval forest and had nothing closely resembling streets in its vicinity. Subsequently, the development of power resources was launched on the Kurobe-gawa River during the mid-Taisho Era (around 1920), and after the war during the Showa Era, the town became popular as a full-scale, recognized hot spring village. This is a small-sized town but well known for its clear, hot water. As well as visiting the hot spring, you can take a tram to enjoy the magnificent scenery of the Kurobe Valley, leaving you with unforgettable memories.

Address: Unazuki-onsen, Kurobe, Toyama
Directions: 30 min ride from JR Uozu Station to Unazuki-onsen Station by Toyama Chitetsu Line.


Gero-onsen Hot Spring
Gero-onsen is the largest hot spring town in Gifu, surrounded by the Hida Mountain Range. Legend has it that this hot spring was found when an egret informed the villagers of the spring's existence. It is a simple alkaline spring featuring clear, colorless water with a mild fragrance and softness. Since early times, it has been utilized as a therapeutic bath used by hospitals and medical research institutions. By utilizing a ticket system called "Yumeguri-tegata," which allows you to enter three affiliate facilities, you can easily enjoy taking hot springs in Gero. It should be mentioned that the delicacy of Hida beef is also something to experience.

Address: Yunoshima,Gero,Gifu
Directions: Exit at JR Gero Station (Takayama Line).