The best onsen in Japan

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The best onsen and onsen towns in Japan

Kusatsu Onsen, Gunma

Kusatsu Onsen (hot springs) is one of the most successful spas in Japan. Yubatake is known for the quality of its warm waters, which flow from one of the country’s three main springs. Another fashionable attraction is the “Yumomi” – a traditional method for cooling water from hot springs that uses large wooden oars. A yumomi show for tourists takes place every day in the public baths of Netsu No Yu, next to yubatake.

Hakone Onsen, Kanagawa

Hakone is one of the most popular onsen (thermal cities) cities, with its 1200 history. Hakone has become a holiday destination of choice, to escape the bustle of the nearby metropolis. Hakone is only an hour from Tokyo and is renowned for its views of Mount Fuji and its beautiful scenery. Hakone has many ryokans (Japanese inns), from luxury ryokan to the most affordable establishments, all offering an authentic Japanese experience. Hakone Yumamoto is the gateway to the entire spa town and also the oldest spa town in the Hakone region.

Yufuin Onsen, Oita

Yufuin is a charming spa town (the baths are also known as Onsen) located in a small valley surrounded by mountains and easily accessible by a semi-fast train or bus service from the city of Fukuoka. For many years, Yufuin has been ranked first among the most beautiful spa cities in Japan. The main street is lined with cafes, souvenir shops and small museums. When you arrive in Yufuin, you should definitely try a Rotenburo bath. It offers spectacular views and a timeless environment – so you can immerse yourself in the beautiful nature of the city and experience its atmosphere. A bike rental service is available at the Tourist Office of the JR station in Yufuin, for a small fee.

Beppu Onsen, Oita Prefecture

Beppu is one of the oldest and best known spa towns in Japan and is located in the Oita region. The city is located between the mountains and Beppu Bay, which discharges the most water in Japan. The hot springs of Beppu are composed of eight zones including Beppu, Myoban, Kannawa, Kankaiji and Hamawaki which are called together “Beppu Hatto”.
“The Circuit of Hell”
The Kannawa area has a trail, which is one of the main tourist spots in Beppu. A “hell” is a metaphorical term for a spring that is too hot to bathe in, since the temperature can reach 100 degrees Celsius. There are three main hot springs here: Umi jigoku (hell of the sea), Chino ike jigoku (hell of the blood pond) and Tatsumaki jigoku (hell of the tornado).

Gero Onsen, Gifu

Gero Onsen is considered one of the three best onsens in Japan, along with Kusatsu Onsen and Arima Onsen. Gero Onsen is located in the city of Gero which is 45 minutes from Takayama by train. A “Yumeguri Tegata” (subscription card for onsens), costs 1300 yen and gives you access to three onsens in a ryokan of your choice. The map is available at the Tourist Office located outside the JR station in Gero, or in the participating ryokans.

Kinosaki Onsen, Hyogo

Kinosaki Onsen is located in the northern part of Hyogo Prefecture, on the coast of the Sea of Japan. The city is famous for its 7 public hot springs called “sotoyu”. Tourists can see locals moving along the river dressed in yukata (cotton bathrobe). This outfit, along with the traditional Japanese three-storey wooden ryokans, contributes to the historic atmosphere of the city.

Ibusuki Onsen, Kagoshima

Ibusuki is a spa located in the southernst tip of Japan. It is an hour’s drive from Kagoshima city and can be reached by the tourist train “Ibusuki no Tamatebako” from the JR station in Kagoshima-chuo. The resort has one of the few natural steam sand baths in all of Japan. Sand bathing is considered effective in relieving a number of ailments such as neuralgia, rheumatism, asthma, gastrointestinal disorders and it can be particularly beneficial for women. The large hotels and ryokan are equipped with sand baths, as well as ordinary onsens. Day trips can enjoy a public sand bath at a reasonable price.

Ureshino Onsen, Saga

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Sukayu Onsen, Aomori

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Tamatsukuri Onsen, Shimane

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