Shiobara Hot Springs Village
The beautiful valley and famous hot springs beloved of so many literary giants still survive today
Steam rises here and there along a tree-lined mountain stream, where one also finds a row of hotels and traditional ryokan inns. Shiobara Hot Springs Village is a typical Japanese spa town equipped with all of the appealing aspects of a hot spring. Many literary giants and artists have visited the area since time immemorial, even creating a number of works of literature here. Accordingly, it has a strong brand image as a hot spring resort that is comparatively close to Tokyo, providing a welcome refuge from the stifling metropolis in summer.
There are many hot springs in this village, mainly located along this mountain stream called the Hoki River; the 11 hot spring sources include Oami-onsen, Shiokama-onsen, and Hataori-onsen, and they are collectively referred to as the Eleven Hot Springs of Shiobara. There are many traditional-style open air public baths that you can enter for 100-300 yen, each of which has different types of water and healing qualities, so there are many hot spring devotees who enjoy trying them all out to compare them.
Popular baths include the Iwanoyu bath, where the hot spring wells up from the bottom of the bathtub, the Fudonoyu bath, where warm water cascades into a gourd-shaped bathtub, the Mujinanoyu, where the water naturally wells up through cracks in the rock, and the Momijinoyu, which is surrounded by a stand of maples that turn the water vermilion in the fall.
In addition, the area around the village is ideal for hiking. With 70 waterfalls of varying sizes and 12 distinctive suspension bridges, the Shiobara Valley is the perfect setting for a refreshing walk to blow away the cobwebs and alleviate your day-to-day fatigue.
Address: Shiobara, Nasu-Shiobara City, Tochigi
Phone: 0287-32-4000 (Shiobara Hot Springs Tourist Association)
Directions: (Train) 42 minutes from Nasu-Shiobara Station on the Tohoku Shinkansen Lines (1 hour and 15 minutes from Tokyo Station) by bus; get off at Shiobara-Onsenkyo bus stop. (Car) 40 minutes from Nishi-Nasuno Interchange on the Tohoku Expressway.