Onsen are Japanese hot springs and are a key part of Japanese culture. Onsen are found all over Japan and are usually located in scenic areas. Soaking in an onsen is said to have many health benefits, such as relieving stress, improving circulation, and helping to relieve muscle pain.
Onsen towns occur when there are many bathing and accommodation facilities grouped together as part of the larger hot spring area, becoming a tourist destination for Japanese and expats alike. These towns are a great place to relax and unwind. The hot springs offer not only a variety of health benefits, but the scenic surroundings are perfect for exploring. If you're looking for a taste of traditional Japan, onsen towns are definitely worth a visit.
There are so many hot springs in Japan that it can be hard to know where to start. This article will introduce 8 of the best hot spring towns that you can reach from Tokyo.
1. Zao Onsen, Yamagata
Zao Onsen is a hot spring resort located in the mountains of Yamagata Prefecture, in the Tohoku region of northeastern Japan. It is one of the oldest and most famous hot spring resorts in the country, and has been a popular destination for both Japanese and foreign visitors for centuries.
There are a number of things to do and see in Zao Onsen, including:
Zao Onsen Ski Resort: The Zao Onsen Ski Resort is one of the largest and most popular ski resorts in Japan. It is located on the slopes of Mount Zao, and offers a variety of ski and snowboard trails for all levels of ability. The resort is also home to the Zao Ropeway, which takes visitors on a scenic ride to the top of the mountain.
Zao Onsen Hot Springs: The town of Zao Onsen is known for its hot springs, which are said to have healing properties. There are a number of public and private hot springs in the town, and visitors can enjoy soaking in the warm waters.
Zao Fox Village: The Zao Fox Village is a popular tourist attraction where visitors can see and feed wild foxes. The village is located on the outskirts of town, and visitors can take a shuttle bus from the center of town.
Zao Onsen Snow Monsters: One of the most popular attractions in Zao Onsen is the collection of snow monsters, which are large icicles that form on the trees in the winter. The best time to see the snow monsters is from late January to early February.
Zao Onsen Snow Festival: The Zao Onsen Snow Festival is held every year in February, and features a number of snow and ice sculptures, as well as a variety of other winter activities.
2. Kinugawa Onsen, Tochigi
Kinugawa Onsen is a small hot spring town located in Tochigi Prefecture, about two hours north of Tokyo. The town is nestled in the mountains, and is well-known for its beautiful scenery and its hot springs.
There are many things to do and see in Kinugawa Onsen, and visitors can easily spend a few days here exploring everything the town has to offer.
One of the main attractions in Kinugawa Onsen is the Edo Wonderland, a theme park that recreates the feeling of being in Japan during the Edo period. Visitors can wander through the streets of the Edo period town, watch traditional shows and performances, and even dress up in traditional clothing.
Another popular attraction is the Kinugawa Onsen Ropeway, which takes visitors on a short ride up to the top of Mt. Taro. From the top of the mountain, there are stunning views of the valley below and of the Kinugawa River.
Of course, one of the main reasons to visit Kinugawa Onsen is to relax in the hot springs. There are several public baths and hot springs resorts in the town, where visitors can soak in the warm waters and enjoy the views of the mountains.
There are also many hiking trails in the area, which are perfect for exploring the beautiful scenery. One of the most popular trails is the Kinugawa Onsen Nature Trail, which leads through the forest of Dewa and past several waterfalls.
3. Kusatsu Onsen, Gunma
Kusatsu Onsen is a traditional hot spring town located in central Japan. The town is nestled in the mountains and is known for its therapeutic hot springs. Visitors can enjoy soaking in the hot springs, hiking in the mountains, and exploring the quaint shops and restaurants in the town.
There are a number of hot springs to choose from in Kusatsu Onsen. The most popular hot spring is the Yubatake, which is a large open-air hot spring. The water is clear and has a high mineral content, making it perfect for soaking. There are also a number of private hot springs, which can be accessed for a fee.
The mountains surrounding Kusatsu Onsen are perfect for hiking. There are a number of trails of varying difficulty, so there is something for everyone. The views from the top of the mountains are stunning, and there are often opportunities to see wildlife.
In the town itself, there are a number of shops and restaurants to explore. The shops sell a variety of local goods, including traditional pottery and woodcrafts. The restaurants serve both traditional Japanese cuisine and Western food. There are also a number of cafes, which are perfect for relaxing with a cup of coffee or tea.
4. Manza Onsen, Gunma
Manza Onsen is a hot spring resort located high up on Mount Shirane, which highly acidic water drawn from the mountain which is said to improve blood circulation. There are a variety of hot springs to choose from, as well as a number of hiking trails and other outdoor activities.
The hot springs at Manza Onsen are said to have a variety of benefits, including relieving stress, improving circulation, and helping to detoxify the body. There are a number of different types of springs, including outdoor pools, indoor baths, and private rooms. Many of the springs are open 24 hours a day, so you can enjoy them at any time.
In addition to the hot springs, Manza Onsen also has a number of other attractions. There is a museum dedicated to the history of the resort, as well as a number of shops and restaurants. There are also a number of hiking trails in the area, which offer stunning views of the surrounding mountains.
5. Nozawa Onsen, Nagano
Nozawa Onsen is a quaint and picturesque town located in the mountains of Japan's Nagano prefecture. The town is most famous for its hot springs, which have been used for centuries by the local population for their medicinal properties.
There are over a dozen public baths in Nozawa Onsen, as well as many private lodgings and ryokan that offer guests access to their own private hot springs. Heed our warning though, the free public baths you'll find dotted around town, while incredibly idyllic and beautiful, are rather on the hot side.
In addition to its hot springs, Nozawa Onsen is also a popular ski destination in winter. The town is home to one of Japan's largest and most popular ski resorts, which offers a variety of slopes and trails for skiers and snowboarders of all levels.
Nozawa Onsen is also a great place to experience traditional Japanese culture. The town is home to a number of traditional temples and shrines, as well as a number of traditional Japanese inns and restaurants. Visitors can also experience traditional Japanese crafts such as wood carving and pottery making.
Nozawa Onsen is a must-visit for anyone interested in experiencing traditional Japanese culture or enjoying the town's natural hot springs.
6. Shibu Onsen, Nagano
Shibu Onsen is a small town located in the Nagano prefecture of Japan. The town is most famous for its nine traditional public baths, which are said to have therapeutic properties. Visitors to Shibu Onsen can enjoy soaking in the baths, exploring the town's traditional streets, and hiking in the nearby mountains.
The nine public baths in Shibu Onsen are open to visitors throughout the day. Each bath has its own unique character, and visitors are encouraged to try them all. The waters of the baths are said to be rich in minerals, and soaking in them is said to be good for the skin and the circulation.
The streets of Shibu Onsen are lined with traditional Japanese buildings, many of which date back centuries. Visitors can stroll through the streets, admiring the architecture and stopping in the shops and restaurants.
Hiking is a popular activity in the mountains around Shibu Onsen. There are a number of trails of varying difficulty, and hikers can enjoy views of the town and the surrounding countryside.
7. Ikaho Onsen, Gunma
Ikaho Onsen is a Japanese hot spring town located in Gunma Prefecture. The town is famous for its stone steps, which are said to have been created by the gods. There are a total of 365 steps, which represent the days of the year. The steps lead up to the Kannondo Temple, which is the main attraction of the town.
Other attractions in Ikaho Onsen include the Ikaho Green Bamboo Forest, the Ikaho Hot Spring Museum, and the Ikaho Hot Spring district. The Green Bamboo Forest is a forest of over 10,000 bamboo trees that is lit up at night.
The Hot Spring Museum is a museum about the hot springs in the area. The onsen district itself contains many different types of hot springs to enjoy.
There are a total of nine different hot springs in the district, and each one has something unique to offer.
The hot springs in Ikaho Onsen are some of the most popular in all of Japan. People come from all over the world to experience the healing properties of the hot springs. The hot springs are said to be beneficial for a variety of health conditions, such as arthritis, skin conditions, and fatigue.
If you're looking for a place to relax and rejuvenate, Ikaho Onsen is the perfect place for you.
8. Minakami, Gunma
Minakami Onsen is a hot spring town located in Gunma Prefecture. It is a popular destination for both Japanese and foreign tourists, as it is known for its numerous hot springs and outdoor activities such as canyoning or rafting.
There are over 20 hot springs in Minakami Onsen, with each one having its own unique properties. The hot springs are said to be effective for treating a variety of ailments, such as muscle pain, fatigue, and skin conditions.
Visitors can enjoy soaking in the hot springs at any time of year, as most of them are open-air.
In addition to hot springs, Minakami Onsen is also known for its outdoor activities. The town is situated in the mountains, and there are many hiking and biking trails in the area.
There are also a number of rivers and lakes, which are perfect for swimming, fishing, and rafting. In the winter, Minakami Onsen is a popular destination for ski and snowboard enthusiasts, as there are several ski resorts in the area.
This winter is the perfect time for you to try a new onsen town in Japan. Relax in the hot water and unwind after a day in the snow!
Article courtesy : OMAKASE Tour https://omakase-tour.com/