In 1954, Shima Onsen was chosen as the first Nationally Certified Onsen (onsen areas recognized as having hot spring waters with potential health benefits and wholesome environments) in Japan. The quiet onsen resort spreads out along the bank of Shima River, dividing into five areas: Onsenguchi, Yamaguchi, Arayu, Yuzuriha and Hinatami. The soft water (sodium and calcium chloride, sulfate spring) has an effect on digestive diseases, nerve pain, and skin problems. The water is moist and easy on the skin. Foot baths, public baths, and drinkable springs are in various places in the resort and can be enjoyed at your leisure. Moreover, beautiful natural scenery like Lake Okushima-ko, Maya-no-taki Falls and Ouketsu (potholes) make this resort a place for nature lovers as well.
Shima Onsen is popular as a quiet place with no bright and bustling facilities because it is a Nationally Certified Onsen. Recently, it becomes famous for a ryokan in the resort that is one of the models for the onsen that appeared in the animated film, "Spirited Away." Young visitors taking photo on the red bridge in front of that ryokan are a common sight. Also, on Route 353 which leads to Shima Onsen, grooves on the road called "melody line" play the melody of the film's theme song "Itsumo Nandodemo."
From Tokyo :
[Rail] 45 min from Ueno to Takasaki Station by JR Shinkansen, and 55 min from Takasaki to Nakanojo Station by JR Agatsumi Line, and 40 min from the station to Shima Onsen by bus.
From Osaka :
[Rail] 2h 30 min from Shin-Osaka to Tokyo Station by JR Tokaido Shinkansen Line, and 7 min from Tokyo to Ueno Station by JR Yamanote Line.