Shirabu-onsen Hot Spring
A rustic hot spring resort between mountains where you can also do some forest bathing
Few inns modestly stand in deep snow between mountains, as if huddling, but Shirabu Onsen is such a small village for hot spring therapy. It is located in the highlands 820 m above sea level, and the naturally flowing hot spring is characteristic for its abundant discharge. The place has been favored by many people for a long time, as a hot spring for curing diabetes and chronic gastrointestinal disorders. The official name of the place is Shirabu Takayu Onsen, and is regarded as one of the three Takayu in Oshu (current Tohoku) together with Shinobu Takayu in Fukushima Prefecture and Mogami Takayu (Zao Onsen) in Yamagata Prefecture. It was even said that those who stay over at all three of these hot springs can live as long as 100 years.
You can walk a little way from the hot spring village to Shirabu Mori No Yakata, a hot spring facility established with a forest theme. Step into the building resembling a mountain lodge and you will be greeted by the very interesting sight of stuffed bears, monkeys and badgers that live in the region. It seems that there is also a white monkey living in the region, and the panels of the photos of this monkey are amazing to look at. Relatively hot and transparent water abundantly flows out of the tub, and you can feel the high quality of the spring. You can also experience a forest bath by relaxing in the Japanese-style room after enjoying the hot spring to its fullest.
Address: Shirabu Onsen Seki, Yonezawa City, Yamagata
Phone: 0238-22-5111 (Commerce and Tourism Division, Yonezawa City Office)
Directions: (Train) 40 minutes from Yonezawa Station on the JR Ou Line (2 hours 20 minutes from Tokyo Station) by Yamako-Bus to Shirabu Onsen. (Car) 2 hours 30 minutes from Fukushima-Iizaka Interchange on the Tohoku Expressway.