5 Secret Hot Springs You'll Want to Keep All to Yourself
Highly rated by Rakuten Travel customers, these secret hot spring inns are hidden gems that offer the best of the best in spring quality and scenic views.
Miyagi > OsakiMeitou Hitou Unagiyunoyado Takuhide
For 300 years, the hot springs of Takuhide have been affectionately called Unagi-yu after Japanese freshwater eels ("unagi"). The sodium-hydrogen carbonate sulfate spring is strongly alkaline but contains sulphur, and has a surprisingly thick texture reminiscent of skincare lotion. Here you can look forward to overall improvement of skin conditions, including eczema relief and smoother skin.
Tottori > IwamiIwai Onsen Iwaiya
All the water, from the bath to the shower, is free-flowing hot spring water direct from the source. The spring quality is calcium sodium-sulphate. Their famous Gensen choju no yu ("longevity hot spring"), which is enjoyed standing up, cannot be missed. The open-air bath which is surrounded by a bamboo fence, and the Suisha-an ("water wheel cottage") private bath that can be booked for no extra fee are also highly popular.
Shizuoka > ShimodaShokichi no Yu
The strong alkali hot spring with a thick texture is known not only for its skin-beautifying benefits, but also for its effectiveness against fatigue, stiff shoulders, joint pain, poor circulation, and chronic digestive troubles. It is also a popular hot-spring health resort and the open-air bath offers a magnificent view of the Okushimoda mountains.
Nagano > MatsumotoShirafune Grand Hotel
Known by locals as Shirahone no yu ("white bone hot spring"), this simple sulphur spring (hydrogen sulphide type) is said to be effective for treating gastrointestinal disorders, diabetes, and skin problems. It is also said that "a three-day visit will protect you from colds for three years." Visitors to the open-air bath at night can enjoy a spectacular star-filled sky above.
Gunma > MinakamiKawako Onsen Hamaya Ryokan
"A souvenir from Kawako is one less walking stick," states an old adage that exemplifies Kawako's fame as a hot spring health resort. The calcium sodium-sulphate spring is effective against neuralgia, rheumatism, and eczema. Many people visit for treatment of these various health conditions.
*This ranking is based on scores calculated from customer reviews (feedback on hot springs/baths) posted on Rakuten Travel between November 1, 2014 and October 31, 2015
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