Five Hot Spring Recommendations For The Coming Winter

Tokyo Entertainment Onsen 2019.11.14
The autumn foliage season is almost coming to an end and winter is on its way. Have you decided on which hot springs to try this year? Are you staying at a Ryokan? just visiting for the day? there are plenty of options but we have listed 5 of our favourites here for you.
How do you stay warm during winter in Japan?
  • The hot springs is definitely a culture that plays a big role in Japan.
    Japan located on the border of many different continental plates, making it an island with many active volcanos, Japan has many hot springs as well.
    We have selected five popular locations to share with you this time along with local gourmet specialties.
1. Hyogo Prefecture - Arima hot springs and Kobe beef
  • The hot springs in Arima have long been at the top of the ranking for an Onsen destination. 
    It is also counted as one of the three major onsen areas in Japan.

    Here is Kinsen 【金泉:きんせん】the golden spring.
    What's different about this onsen here is that it's got a rusty looking colour.
    That's because the water really contains iron in it. The high percentage of sodium salts also plays a role giving the spring a sterilising property. This spring also helps people with arthritis, atopic dermatitis, and some other conditions.
  • What comes after gold?
    Silver, they also have what's called a Ginsen 【銀泉:ぎんせん】, meaning silver spring.

    This spring contains more carbon dioxide that helps to give you better blood flow. 
  • In case you didn't know, Kobe beef is from Hyogo, and sice you are already in Hyogo, you might as well try the local specialty as well. One of the best kinds of beef in Japan is definitely worth the try.
    In case you couldn't make it to Hyogo this time, there are places around Tokyo to try the best kinds of beef.
2. Gifu - Gero Onsen and the Ideyu morning markets
  • Gero Onsen is another famous hot springs and is located in Gifu prefecture, centre part of the main island of Japan.
    The springs in Gero tend to be more on the basic/alkaline, giving you more of a smooth feeling when you finish bathing.

    Also, here in Gero, there are free public outdoor baths that you can enjoy as well.
  • If you want to get to Gero, you can take a train from Nagoya for about an hour and 40 minutes. It might be easier to get to if you are traveling from Nagoya. 
  • There are also morning markets called the Ideyu Asaichi, which started off with a place for people to exchange their own produce, but now developed into a famous tourist destination.
  • It's interesting to know that people in Japan drink milk after taking a bath. Many public baths have a fridge designated for the various kinds of milk. Fruit flavoured milk, coffee milk, ordinary milk.
    It is a very unique part of the bathing culture in Japan.
3. Gunma Prefecture - Kusatsu onsen and the Yubatake
  • Kusatsu comes next on the list.
    The specialty of this area is the Yubatake【湯畑:ゆばたけ】.
    This is the facility that helps drop the temperature of the hot springs here, also serving as one of the unique landmarks here.
  • They also have a facility where people manually work to reduce the temperature of the hot springs.
    This is called Yumomi【湯もみ:ゆもみ】. The water from the spring gets collected into a tub once and people use a wooden board to mix up the water aerating it to cool it down.
  • You've got a tattoo? Don't worry, there are plenty of tattoo friendly options here in Kusatsu, just like this one here at Takamatsu hotel.

    Search for more options here.
Oita Prefecture - Yufuin Onsen and the Sekisaba, Sekiaji
  • Yufuin Onsen, located in Oita Prefecture in Kyushu.
    Fukuoka is one of the famous spots in the Kyushu region, but don't leave the others out.

    Oita prefecture is famous for several onsen districts. Beppu is one of the well known but so is Yufuin.
  • Image source: Saigakukan official webpage

    Here at the Yufuin district, there are many Ryokans, a more traditional type of Japanese inns, and each ryokan has its own onsen and specialty cuisines.
  • There are specific kinds of mackerels that you only can get here and those are the Sekisaba, a kind of mackerel, and Sekiaji, a kind of horse mackerel.
    When in the right seasons, mainly from late autumn till early spring, these mackerels have better texture and sweetness, and you can only get these kinds in Oita.
5. Yamagata - Ginzan onsen and the Ghibli like atmosphere
  • The last, but not the least, Ginzan onsen is another unique destination for onsen lovers.
    It the hot spring itself as well as the atmosphere that gives it a special feeling here in Ginzan.
    For many of the Japanese people, it gives a nostalgic feeling leaving the styles back from the Taisho period, but for visitors from out of Japan, the place is famous because it gives the feeling that you are in the Japanese Ghibli anime, "Spirited Away".
  • If you wish to go to the Ginzan onsen in Yamagata prefecture, it would be nice to visit other places within the prefectures. Places like Tendo is another wonderful place to visit to see the nature and the unique town of Shogi, the Japanese chess.
So, that was our list of five places to try the Japanese hot springs.
Did you have a favourite that wasn't included here?
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