Here are 3 highly-recommended popular onsen spots that you must go when you visit Chubu. We will introduce the charm of the hot springs and some local information!
1.Gero Onsen – Gifu Prefecture
The Gero Onsen hot springs of Gifu Prefecture are easily accessible by taking National Route 41, so you can visit anytime by car or by bus. Along with Kusatsu of Gunma Prefecture and Arima of Hyougo Prefecture, Gero Onsen is considered 1 of the three most well-known hot spring locations in Japan. There, you can enjoy the elegance of the town’s streets that spread along the sides of Hida River. The hydrogen sulfide in the water replenishes vitamin C and vitalizes the body’s adrenal glands. For that, Gero Onsen was known as the spring of beauty for its effects in help keeping a beautiful, healthy body.
There are free footbaths and 3 public bathhouses along the shores of Hida River, so you can also enjoy open air baths. Some footbaths are open 24 hours, allowing you to enjoy the elegance of strolling through the town’s streets in the day or at night.
At Gero Onsen, you can bathe at 3 of our affiliated ryokan inns with the purchase of an onsen-hopping pass. Be sure to give it a try. The passes also make great souvenirs after use. There is also a mystical spot called the Kanayama Megaliths nearby, where you can feel as if you have gone back in time surrounded by the giant stone structures.
2.Shirahone Onsen – Matsumoto City, Nagano Prefecture
The “Shirahone (white bones)” in Shirahone Onsen was originally called “Shirafune (white boat)”. It came from the lime components in the water sticking onto boats, making the boats white. As the name suggests, the attraction of Shirahone Onsen is its water that is clouded in white. Since the old days, it has been said that “if you bathe in the spring of Shirahone for 3 days, you won’t catch a cold within 3 years,” hence its popularity as a spring of good health. Your means of transportation are limited to cars and buses due to Shirahone Onsen being in the mountains, but in return you will be able to enjoy the atmosphere of bathing in a secret hot spring. As secluded as it is, the way to Shirahone Onsen is a series of mountainous roads with frequent curves. Please allow plenty of time and drive safely.
3.Wakura Onsen – Noto Peninsula, Ishikawa Prefecture
Lastly, we would like to introduce Wakura Onsen, which is located in Noto Peninsula. It is roughly a 1-hour ride if you take an express train from Kanazawa Station, so you can get there in about 3 and a half hours if you take a shinkansen high-speed train, even from Tokyo. Wakura Onsen is also easily reachable by car, so we also recommend renting one from Noto Satoyama Airport.
Wakura Onsen was discovered in the sea, making it one of the rare seawater hot springs in Japan. Legend has it that a fisherman and his wife discovered the hot spring after seeing a white heron healing its injured foot in it. While it would be nice to enjoy the best service available by staying at Kagaya, which has always been ranked number 1, there are also other ryokan inns with moderate prices. Nearby, in the middle of Nanao Bay, stands Noto Island. There are 2 bridges that you can cross to reach Noto Island free of charge. There is a wide variety of places to visit on Noto Island. They include Notojima Aquarium, where you can see whale sharks, and Notojima Glass Art Museum, where glass handicrafts are put on display and sold.
This post is also available in: Japanese