A fascinating adventure awaits when searching for the hidden "secret spas" of this pleasant onsen town.
The onsen of Kinugawa are located along the upper stream of the Kinu River in a valley that cuts between Mt. Ohinata and Mt. Shakaga. The many onsen resorts together form a town whose history as a spa destination extends back 300 years. The valley itself is colored by brilliant azaleas in the spring and deep red leaves in autumn.
The Ryu-o valley stretches for 3 kilometers between the Kinugawa and Kawaji onsen areas further up the Kinu River, and from the Ryu-o-kyo-shizen-kenkyu-ro (Ryu-o Nature Path), you enjoy a walk while taking in all the grand scenery. It is also possible to take a 40-minute boat ride down the speeding currents of the Kinu River while passing beneath towering, 100-meter tall cliffs. These scenic views are particularly popular among tourists when the autumn colors are at their peak.
Oku-Kinu is the general term that encompasses all the onsen scattered along the Kinu River in the southeast reaches of Mt. Kinunuma. The secluded onsen of Hatcho-no-yu,Kani-yu, Teshirosawa and Kawamata are all located in an area known as the "home of the secret spas." Surrounded by 48 bogs of various sizes, the Oku-kinu-shizen-kenkyu-ro is an ideal place to feast your eyes on the alpine plants that emerge from Tochigi's marshland.
Kinugawa-Onsen Station can be reached in 2 hours from Asakusa Station (Tokyo) by the Limited Express train on the Tobu Isesaki-Nikko-Kinugawa Line. A bus from Kinugawa-Onsenstation to Oku-Kinu-Onsen-Kyo takes 1 hour and 46 minutes.