[Eastern Japan Edition] 5 recommended hot spring towns! Explaining the key points when choosing a hot spring town

There are many hot spring towns in Japan. Since the gourmet food, sightseeing, and hot spring quality and efficacy that can be enjoyed in each region are different, it can be difficult to decide which hot spring town to choose.

In this article in the East Japan edition, we introduce five recommended hot spring towns in East Japan (Kanto, Koshin, Hokuriku, Tokai, and Tohoku) where you can enjoy a stroll.

We will also explain the points to consider when choosing a hot spring town.

■Points to consider when choosing a hot spring town in eastern Japan

You will be less likely to make a mistake if you choose a hot spring town based on the quality of the hot springs, access, and availability of tourist spots.

In eastern Japan, there are many hot spring towns that are easily accessible from the city center, and there are a wide variety of hot springs. We recommend choosing a hot spring town based on sightseeing spots and experiences you want to try.
Hot spring quality and efficacy
The quality and efficacy of hot springs vary depending on the region and source. The quality of hot springs can be broadly divided into nine categories, and the key is to choose one based on the desired efficacy.

For example, if your goal is to have beautiful skin, we recommend Yumura Onsen, a simple hydrogen salt spring, and Kusatsu Onsen, a sulfur spring. If you are visiting with small children, you may want to choose Ikaho Onsen, a “simple spring” that is less irritating and odorless.

A hot spring town where you can enjoy a walk

In addition to enjoying the hot springs, you can also enjoy walking around the hot spring town. Check out the gourmet food and sightseeing spots unique to the hot spring town. For example, if you have small children, we recommend a hot spring town with leisure facilities and playgrounds, and for couples, we recommend a hot spring town with beautiful night views and eating out.

Choose a location that suits your purpose of travel and the people you are traveling with.

Good access to the hot spring town

When choosing a hot spring town, check the access to the hot spring town, such as how to get there from the airport and whether you can get there by train or bus.

A characteristic of eastern Japan’s hot spring towns is that they can often be reached by bus or train from the city center. If the hot spring town is far from the nearest station, you may want to find out if there is a shuttle bus or not, as well as taxi fares.

■[Eastern Japan Edition] 5 recommended hot spring towns that are fun to stroll around

We will introduce 5 recommended hot spring towns in eastern Japan where you can enjoy a stroll, along with their characteristics and recommended spots. Enjoy various experiences such as walking around the hot spring town in rental costumes, experiencing hot water massage, and making traditional crafts.

Gero Onsen (Gifu Prefecture) where you can experience making ukiyo-e at the hot spring museum

Gero Onsen, located in Gifu Prefecture, is lined with inns and restaurants along the Hida River from Gero Station. There are various sightseeing spots within walking distance, so you can fully enjoy Gero Onsen even with a short stay.

Gero Onsen Gassho Village, one of the tourist spots, is a museum that recreates a village with Gassho-zukuri houses relocated from Shirakawa-go and other places.

The Ideyu Morning Market is held every morning at the entrance of the village from early March to early December, and a variety of products are sold, including local specialties, local sake, and miscellaneous goods. Enjoy interacting with the locals while taking a morning walk.

If you want to learn about the history of hot springs, we recommend the Hot Spring Museum. The hot spring museum has a corner where you can learn about the history and quality of hot springs, as well as a corner where you can experience the flowers of hot springs. There is also a corner where you can make your own ukiyo-e prints, so be sure to stop by.

If you want to enjoy hot springs, purchase a hot spring passport called a “Yumeguri Tegata.” If you purchase a Yumeguri Tegata, you can use the hot springs at three of the inns that are members of the Yumeguri Tegata. It is also recommended to take the Yumeguri handprint as a souvenir.

Kusatsu Onsen (Gunma Prefecture) where you can experience hot water massage

Kusatsu Onsen, located in Gunma Prefecture, is a hot spring town that is easily accessible from the city center and easy to visit. There are sightseeing spots unique to Kusatsu Onsen, such as “Yubatake” and “Yumomi.”

Yumomi is a traditional method of stirring hot springs with a long board to lower the temperature of the water. It is performed to the tune of a song called “Kusatsu-bushi.”

At Netsunoyu, a Yumomi and dance show is held every day, and you can try your hand at Yumomi and take a commemorative photo with the board used for Yumomi. Kusatsu Onsen is a hot spring town where you can enjoy a variety of experiences in addition to soaking in the hot springs, such as renting yukata, playing in a playground, and making dragonfly beads, which are recommended as souvenirs and memories.

Kusatsu Onsen at night is also one of the highlights. Yubatake and Nishi-no-Kawara Park are illuminated from sunset until midnight, creating a different atmosphere from the daytime. The steam from the Yubatake is illuminated and you can enjoy a fantastic view.

Ikaho Onsen (Gunma Prefecture) walking up 365 stone steps

Ikaho Onsen in Gunma Prefecture is a hot spring resort whose symbol is 365 stone steps. The 365 stone steps contain the wish that “May the hot spring town be prosperous 365 days a year.” Inns, playgrounds, and souvenir shops line both sides of the stone steps, and you can also enjoy gourmet food while walking.

A famous gourmet food at Ikaho Onsen is “Tama Konnyaku,” which is a round konnyaku skewered. Tama konnyaku simmered in dashi and soy sauce is perfect when you get hungry after walking around. It’s 100 yen per bottle, so you can enjoy it easily.

Taikobashi Bridge, located near the source of Ikaho Onsen, is known as a famous spot for viewing autumn leaves, and is a popular spot that is illuminated every year during the autumn leaves season. The collaboration between the illuminated Taiko Bridge, which stands out in red, and the beautiful maple and maple leaves is a must-see.

There are also various other sightseeing spots such as ropeways, drinking hot springs, and shrines.

Hakone Onsen (Kanagawa Prefecture) where you can rent a kimono and experience a rickshaw

Hakone Onsen, located in Kanagawa Prefecture, is easily accessible from the city center and is a popular destination for many people to casually visit the hot spring town. The Yumoto area of ​​Hakone Onsen is called the gateway to Hakone, and the hot spring town is lined with over 40 inns, many souvenir shops, and gourmet food.

At the souvenir shops in the Hakone Yumoto area, you’ll find a wide variety of souvenirs, including food, miscellaneous goods, and traditional crafts. You’ll definitely end up buying a lot of souvenirs.

There is a kimono rental shop called “Sakura Hime” in front of Hakone Yumoto Station, where you can wear a kimono or yukata and stroll around the hot spring town. We also recommend taking a stroll in a rickshaw in Hakone Yumoto. There are 20-minute, 40-minute, and 60-minute courses, so you can use it according to your walking course or schedule.

In addition to gourmet food and shopping, there is also the Hakone Onsen Yumoto area, which has many sightseeing spots such as temples and historic buildings. If you’re not sure where to go, check out the model itinerary for your stay on the official website of the Hakone Yumoto Tourism Association.

Ginzan Onsen (Yamagata Prefecture), where you can stroll through the retro and beautiful town

Ginzan Onsen in Yamagata Prefecture is a hot spring town characterized by the retro atmosphere of inns built between the Taisho and Showa periods. In the evening, the city’s gas lamps are lit, creating a magical atmosphere. Although it is a hot spring town far from the city center, it is so attractive that its name always comes up in rankings of hot spring resorts, and the townscape at night when it snows is especially popular for its fantastical beauty.

The gorgeous “Kotee” paintings on the walls and signboards of hot spring towns are reliefs made by plasterers using a tool called a trowel and plaster. Trowel paintings can be seen on many buildings in the hot spring town, and just walking around them is fun.

At the costume rental shop “Airasugena” located at the entrance to Ginzan Onsen, you can rent Taisho romance-style costumes that were popular during the Taisho era in Japan, combining a kimono and a hakama. If you walk through Ginzan Onsen Town in the Taisho romance style, you will experience the mysterious feeling of having traveled back in time to the Taisho era.

Ginzan Onsen is full of historical buildings, sightseeing spots, restaurants, and souvenir shops, so it’s full of things to see.

■[Eastern Japan Edition] Summary of recommended hot spring towns

In this article for the East Japan edition, we introduced key points for choosing a hot spring town and recommended hot spring towns in East Japan.

Hot spring towns in eastern Japan are often easily accessible from the city center, making it easy to visit. Check out the hot spring quality, experiences, and seasonal events to find the hot spring town that suits you.

Enjoy the unique atmosphere of a hot spring town, not only by soaking in the hot springs, but also by walking and eating around the area.


Q.What kind of place is the hot spring town?

A.A hot spring town is a town with a focus on hot springs and not only lodging facilities, but also souvenir shops and restaurants that are unique to the area. There are shops, experiences, and sightseeing spots within walking distance from the hot springs and accommodations.

Q. How can I enjoy the hot spring town?

A.I recommend taking a walk around the hot spring town. Wearing a yukata and eating out and visiting public baths will give you an extraordinary experience.
Yukata can be worn at inns and rental shops.