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Top 5 Onsen Spots in Japan

By Staff Writer
May 24, 2023

1. Ginzan Onsen, Yamagata

Ginza Onsen, nestled amongst the mountains of Yamagata Prefecture’s Obanazawa City and founded on the site of a former silver mine, comes out on top as the most popular hot spring in Japan. The beautiful Taisho era ryokan (wooden traditional inns) lining each side of the Ginzan River, streets lit by gas lamps, and the magnificent row of bathhouses create a distinctive atmosphere.
Ginzan Onsen, Yamagata

2. Minakami-machi National Hot Spring Health Resort, Gunma

This Resort, located in Minakami-machi in Gunma Prefecture, combines six onsen areas, including Kamimoku, Namezawa, Yujuku, Kawafuru, Sarugakyo and Hoshi Onsen. It includes outdoor baths where visitors can enjoy the beautiful view of nature. Each onsen has its own characteristics and qualities, offering something for every taste.

3. Zao Onsen, Yamagata

Zao Onsen is in Yamagata City in Yamagata Prefecture is one of the oldest hot springs in the Tohoku region and is known for its ski resort and snow monster. It is believed to have been discovered 1,900 years ago and it has flourished as an onsen resort since the Edo era. This natural hot spring attracts many people in search of its miraculous waters, believed to cure everything from skin disorders to physical weakness in children.

4. Shima Onsen, Gunma

Shima Onsen, located at the upper stream of the Shima River and surrounded by mountains, has attracted many people since old times for its medicinal waters and its more serene atmosphere without noisy entertainment spots. Most of its ryokans are small and family-run, making it a perfect spot for onsen lovers seeking a quiet time.

5. Naruko Onsen-Kyo, Miyagi

Naruko Onsen Kyo is a hot spring village in Osaki City in Miyagi prefecture and boasts a history of more than 1,100 years. The village consists of five hot spring areas, including Naruko, Higashi-Naruko, Kawatabi, Nakayamadaira and Onikobe. Eight out of the 11 types of hot spring water in Japan are found in Naruko Onsen, with over 400 sources of water in the vicinity.
Naruko Onsen-Kyo, Miyagi
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