Now that the colder months are you, you may want to consider visiting some of the best hot springs in Japan. Famous across the world, these locations are some of the most beautiful and healing destinations where everyone can find some peace and relaxation. Nagano Prefecture in particular is home to some world-class onsen including Nozawa Onsen and Shirahone Onsen. However, there are so many onsen resorts dotted around the country so check out which onsen town is closest to your Village House home.
Located in Kanagawa Prefecture, by Lake Ashi and the coast, and of course, Mount Fuji, Hakone Onsen is one of Japan’s largest and most scenic hot spring towns. For centuries this has been one of Japan’s most popular hot spring towns, with over a dozen hot springs in the area.
In Hakone Onsen there are seventeen hot spring sources, so the area is known as Hakone Ju-nana-yu. Yunessun is a beloved hot spring complex that makes a practical one-stop spot for an onsen trip. Here you can bathe in wine and enjoy a multitude of attractions. Hotel Green Plaza Hakone is the perfect onsen for anyone wanting to enjoy breathtaking views of Mount Fuji. For more onsen views, visit the luxury Ashinoko Hanaori with views of Lake Ashi, or Hakone Suimeisou which offers views of the Haya River.
Yumoto is the most famous hot spring source in Hakone Onsen. In this area, you can find Hakone Yuryo, a popular “higaeri” onsen (onsen facilities for day trip visitors). Tenzan is another popular bathing facility in Yumoto. It is comprised of mostly outdoor hot spring pools at the bottom of a woody hill. It is a beautiful and peaceful location. At Hakone Kamon, another onsen in the area, visitors can enjoy baths made out of large ceramic pots, as well as sauna facilities, and outdoor baths made from wood and stone. Here you are also served a cup of tea after your bath.
Not only is Nozawa Onsen a great spot for adventure-seekers due to the mountains offering some of the best ski and snowboard slopes in the country, but it also draws those looking for a moment of relaxation and respite thanks to its world-class hot springs. It’s a favorite destination among people living in Nagano and the surrounding prefectures.
The small village of Nozawa Onsen is home to about thirty different types of hot springs and thirteen Soto-yu (public hot spring baths). These baths are free of charge but they have a box outside to collect donations to help maintain the baths. Please remember to bring a towel and soap if you are visiting these baths. The hot springs in Nozawa Onsen are particularly hot, so test the water before entering. Ryokans and hotels also have hot spring baths open for guests, and some also open them up to visitors for a small entrance fee.
Oyu is the largest Soto-yu and also one of the most recognizable landmarks of Nozawa Onsen. This beautiful bathhouse is a ‘must try’ for any visitors. Ogama-no-yu Onsen is the hottest spring in Nozawa Onsen, with water temperatures reaching around 90 degrees Celsius, rather than the usual hot spring bathing temperature of around 45 degrees. It’s a rare type of hot spring in Japan and has become a popular spot for boiling eggs and vegetables for villagers.
Dogo Onsen is one of the oldest hot spring towns in Japan, located in Matsuyama. This magical area has been the source of inspiration for Japanese artists. It’s believed that the bathhouse in Hayao Miyazaki’s film “Spirited Away” was based on Dogo Onsen. The hot springs are frequently visited in Natsume Sōseki’s semi-autobiographical novel “Botchan”.
The town is famous for the Dōgo Onsen Public Bathhouse which was built in 1894. The wooden building has three levels and a watchtower with red windows. The small area around Dōgo Onsen still feels like a resort town, despite the surrounding business of Matsuyama. Visitors can enjoy Botchan Dango after bathing. Walking around the streets in yukata robes is also a popular post-bath activity.
In Matsumoto City, among the Northern Japan Alps in Nagano Prefecture, you can find the beautiful Shirahone Onsen. This hot spring resort is famous for milky waters that are said to cure illnesses. Due to its location close to the famous nature spots of Norikura and Kamakura, visitors can enjoy bathing among stunning scenery.
Shirahone Onsen, or the “white bone hot spring”, has long been known for its healing powers. Bathing is believed to relieve stress, stomach issues, chronic fatigue, colds, and more. There are some areas where you can also drink hot spring water.
The Shirahone Onsen Public Notemburo is the only public bath in the onsen town. The outdoor baths are located along the riverside and are a popular spot for bathing among nature, alongside the river and tree-filled valley. Apart from this, there are a variety of ryokans that open their baths to visitors. One of the most popular is Awanoyu Ryokan, a large mixed-gender outdoor bath. It’s a particularly beautiful spot in autumn with vibrant fall foliage.
Shizuoka Prefecture’s Atami Onsen is one of the best hot spring resorts close to Tokyo. The onsen in Atami are chloride springs. They have a high level of salt, similar to water in the sea which means the water is good for fighting off chills, warming up the body, and relieving muscle and joint pain.
Atami Onsen is located along the coastline so visitors can enjoy the beach alongside the hot springs. Ryori Ryokan Nagisa-kan is a popular onsen spot for day trip visitors. There are eight different kinds of baths, including an open-air bath overlooking the sea and a cave bath surrounded by rooks. There are various onsen areas nearby Atami Onsen, including Izu Yugawara Onsen, Izusan Onsen, and Minami-Atami Onsen.
These onsen towns and places nearby are often popular places to live. Close to cities but with access to nature they are often the perfect location for people looking to move to a new destination. If you are looking for rental properties, please check out our available apartments in the area.