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Kansai - Chugoku - Shikoku - Kyushu

Japan's Famous Hot Springs

Japan In-depth

Kansai - Chugoku - Shikoku - Kyushu


Shirahama-onsen Hot Spring
Shirahama-onsen is a traditional hot spring town with a long history of over 1300 years, known as "Muro-no-On'yu" or "Ki-no-On'yu" since the Asuka and Nara Periods (the latter half of the 6th to the 8th century), visited by such emperors as Saimei, Tenji, Jito and Monmu. Shirahama is known for its mild weather, with three of its sides surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. Scenic spots such as Senjojiki and Sandanbeki along the coast, as well as Engetsu-to Island, are also located in the area. At the hot spring bath near Shirarahama Beach, you can bathe with your swimming suit on.

Address: Shirahama-cho, Nishimuro-gun, Wakayama Directions: 12 min ride by bus for Sandanbeki from JR Shirahama Station (Kinokuni Line) to Shirahama Bus Center, or 14 min ride to Shirarahama.


Arima-onsen Hot Spring
Being one of the oldest hot springs in Japan, Arima-onsen is regarded as one of the country's three most famous hot springs. It is also well known as the spring cherished by Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1537-1598), and recently the remains of his bath have been found. It has two individual qualities: One utilizes hot water of a red-brown, ferruginous base called "Kinsen (gold spring)" and the other is a colorless carbonate spring called "Ginsen (silver spring)." At Tansan-sengen-koen Park (a carbonate spring park), you can drink cold carbonate water, from which some say that Japan's very first soda pop was made. It is conveniently located and easily accessible from Osaka (1 hour) and Kobe-San-no-miya (30 min).

Address: Arima-cho, Kita-ku, Kobe, Hyogo
Directions: Exit at Arima-onsen Station (Kobe Electric Railway).


Tamatsukuri-onsen Hot Spring
Tamatsukuri-onsen is a historical hot spring town representing the San-in area, considered to have been established as early as the Nara Period (710-794). Along the Tamayu-gawa River (running from Lake Shinji-ko), you can find high-class Japanese inns in the sukiya-style, creating a unique atmosphere. It is conveniently located for Izumoji sightseeing, being close to Izumo-taisha Shrine and Matsue. It is regarded that this place was named Tamatsukuri, or "bead making," since high quality blue agate was mined at Mt. Kasen-zan (situated in this area) and because the production of this comma-shaped gem had been active in those days. There are some related museums and facilities where you can try your hand at making jewels from this stone.

Address: Tamatsukuri, Tamayu-cho, Matsue, Shimane Directions: Exit at JR Tamatsukuri-onsen Station (San-in Line).


Dogo-onsen Hot Spring
Dogo-onsen is one of the oldest hot springs, having a 3000 year history. Dogo-onsen Honkan, a communal bath representing the town, is a three-story house in the Momoyama-style designated as a nationally important cultural property. One can hear the rooftop drum striking as in previous eras; local citizens enjoy this bath which is believed to heal any kind of disease. The town is also known as the location for the famous Japanese novel "Botchan" written by Soseki Natsume (1867-1916) ; descriptions from the book are everywhere in this town.

Address: Dogo-Yunomachi, Matsuyama, Ehime
Directions: 20 min ride by the city train of Iyo Railway from JR Matsuyama Station (Yosan Line) to the final stop, Dogo-onsen Station.


Beppu Hatto
Beppu Hatto is one of Japan's largest hot spring town consisting of eight hot springs, including Beppu, Kannawa, and Myoban-onsen located in the city of Beppu. 10 out of 11 types of spring qualities existing in the world are evident here, displaying various unique appearances. "Jigokumeguri" is a popular sightseeing tour for visiting all of these examples. The technology to manufacture the bath agent called "Yunohana," made from the hot spring water, is designated as the nation's significant intangible folk cultural asset. If you wish, you can observe its manufacturing process at "Yunosato" of Myoban-onsen.

Address: Beppu, Oita
Directions: Walk from JR Beppu Station (Nippo Line).

Yufuin-onsen Hot Spring
Yufuin-onsen, known as "Bungo Fuji" is a hot spring town of tranquil vistas lying at the foot of Mt. Yufudake. You can see steam from the hot water rising from everywhere over vast rice fields, and fog at dawn on cold but sunny winter days, which is unique to this region. On frigid days, the steam rises up from the surface of Lake Kinrin-ko (located in the center of the city) creating a fantastic atmosphere, as both hot and cold water springs from the lake bottom. There are a number of galleries, old folk house cafés, and communal baths here.

Address: Yufuin-cho, Yufu, Oita
Directions: Exit at JR Yufuin Station (Kyudai Line).


Unzen-onsen Hot Spring
Unzen-onsen is a hot spring town located in the treasure of nature, Japan's oldest national park. The hot spring also has a long history, and is an international sightseeing destination developed as a summer resort for foreign visitors in the 1910s. The town is divided into three areas; "Furu-yu," "Shin-yu" and "Shojigoku." Each displays a unique atmosphere with white vapor emanating from the blowholes called "Unzen Jigoku," the Hell of Unzen. It is a strong acid spring containing sulfur, which is said to have excellent antiseptic qualities and work particularly well for making the skin beautiful.

Address: Unzen, Unzen-shi, Nagasaki
Directions: 75 min ride by bus from JR Isahaya Station (Nagasaki Line) to Unzen. Unzen Tourist Information


Ibusuki-onsen Hot Spring
Ibusuki-onsen is a hot spring town located in the southeast of Satsuma-hanto Peninsula. There are a number of hot springs located in the city, which have been utilized for various circumstances as well as simply an old-fashioned bath. What is very unique to Ibusuki is "Sunamushi," which can't be found anywhere in the world. Sunamushi is a special way of taking a bath: On the sand beach of about one kilometer length (southeast from Ibusuki Station), there is a specific area heated by a hot spring. One lies face up on the hot sand, having the sand (roughly 50 to 55°C) cover your body. This has a significant detoxification effect, effected by good blood circulation, and has been medically proven.

Address: Yunohama, Ibusuki, Kagoshima
Directions: A 15 min walk from JR Ibusuki Station (Ibusuki-Makurazaki Line).