20 Hot Springs in Shikoku Perfect for Day Trips, Couple Getaways, and More!
The Shikoku region, which consists of Kagawa, Ehime, Kochi, and Tokushima Prefectures, has so many beautiful hot springs (onsen in Japanese) to choose from. Here is an introduction to some of the best ones out there, from Japan’s oldest hot spring, Dogo Onsen Chaharu, the Iyaonsen open-air baths from which you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of Iya Valley, to the Shodoshima International Hotel located near "Angel Road,” known as the lovers’ holy land. You’ll surely find one that’s perfect for you!
Sep 27 2019 (Apr 15 2020)
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At Kotosankaku, you can enjoy the hot spring while admiring the towering Mt. Konpira right before your very eyes. The Hiten building offers indoor and open-air baths with a view, while the Sansui building has a communal bath, allowing for an even more relaxing time. After-bath massages are also available.
There are three hot spring baths available at the resort: Kabuki no Yu, which is surrounded all year round by seasonal plants and trees, the boat-shaped rose bathtub with elegant rose petals that will make you feel like a celebrity, and Konpira no Yu, the largest communal bath in the whole of Shikoku. There is also a scenic open-air bath available exclusively to the guests of Hiten.
Chaharu is located at Dogo Onsen, the oldest hot spring in Japan that has captured the hearts of luminaries such as Natsume Soseki and Masaoka Shiki. It also boasts the first rooftop open-air bath in Dogo, offering spectacular views of Matsuyama Castle to the south and Mt. Ishizuchi to the north. Chaharu is perfect for family vacations, outings with friends, or business trips.
Chaharu is divided into the men’s Hoshi no Yu bath, and the women’s Tsuki no Yu bath. At Hoshi no Yu, you can spend a relaxing time enjoying the changing town scenery or the starry sky above you. On the other hand, at Tsuki no Yu you can take a soothing dip in a fragrant open-air rose bath between 5:00 pm and 10:00 pm on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
3. AoAwo Naruto Resort
At the AoAwo Naruto Resort, you can enjoy yourself to the fullest at the beach during the day and participate in the Awa Odori dances during the night. The resort offers all sorts of plans with great deals, from the Family Plan to the Summer Festival Plan, which includes fun activities such as temple festivals and nighttime pool access.
AoAwo Naruto is a natural hot spring resort famous for its beautifying waters. The first floor has the Japanese-style open-air Hanada bath, the camellia bath, the herb bath, and the cypress wood bath. There is also the beautiful Ruri scenic bath on the 8th floor, which is divided into a plant bath and a citrus bath.
4. Oedo Onsen Monogatari - Hotel Reoma no Mori
Hotel Reoma no Mori is perfect for sightseeing, offering optional tours of the surrounding Shikoku tourist spots, the exotic Oriental Trip, access to the indoor heated pool, and trips to the New Reoma World Theme Park that the whole family can enjoy. From families to groups of friends or couples, Reoma no Mori has something for everybody.
The hotel houses a great communal bath surrounded by the splendor of nature and the Shikoku no Yu bath that’s lit up during the night. These are heavily carbonated springs with more CO2 than regular hot springs, and they increase blood flow, help with circulation, and improve metabolism.
5. Kotohira Kadan
Kotohira Kadan is a traditional Japanese inn where the classic Sukiya-zukuri building style meets modern architecture in perfect harmony. The inn’s beautiful garden is great for leisurely strolls, and is situated on a mountain slope, making Kotohira Kadan a rarity among all the other hotels. It is the ideal place to relax and experience the very soul of Japan, making it perfect for foreign tourists.
The Konpira hot spring’s Kissho no Yu bath offers great views of the Sanuki Plains and Mt. Iino during the day, and creates an otherworldly atmosphere when it’s lit up at night. On the other hand, at the Nagomi Yu open-air bath (available by reservation), you can enjoy yourself in private on the attached terrace or relax on the sofa after your bath while drinking their special selection of tea.
Yunomori offers the warmth of a traditional Japanese inn mixed with the splendor of Nakatsu Gorge’s nature. There are two kinds of rooms available: Japanese-style rooms perfect for families and other groups, and luxurious, twin-room cottages equipped with fern pine bathtubs.
At Yunomori, the open-air bath is constantly fed by natural hot-spring waters. Because of its large size, it’s perfect for families and anyone else who wants to get warmed up right to their very core. The best times to visit Yunomori is during the Christmas and holiday season, Golden Week, or the cherry blossom and autumn foliage seasons.
7. Ryuga Onsen
Ryuga Onsen is a cozy hot spring inn surrounded by calm, rural scenery. It has a relaxing atmosphere about it, so it’s perfect for solo trips. It offers both Japanese-style and Western-style rooms, each with an elegant name like Snow, Moon, and Plum. If you’re looking for somewhere to relax and forget about the world, then this is the place for you.
Ryuga Onsen’s baths are sourced from a natural high-quality alkaline hot spring. Because it’s located in the Nankoku Tosa region, the inn’s hot spring waters are soft and great for the skin. You can also admire the hot spring steam enveloping the surrounding nature and creating a calming atmosphere where you will know true peace of mind.
Sansuien has a connection to the lands that used to make up the Tosa Domain where you’ll still find historic Japanese gardens and various other landmarks. There are six guest rooms available, each with its own charm, allowing anyone to relax there. Visit it today and heal your body and soul at Sansuien’s natural hot spring baths and sauna.
At Sansuien’s full-service hot spring facility, Yudono Suisaikaku, you’ll find the supposedly sole high-quality natural hot spring in the entire area around Kochi Castle. Open-air baths and saunas are also available. Thanks to views of the clear waters of Kagami River and Mt. Hitsu, Sansuien is the perfect location to refresh your body and spirit.
9. Oboke Onsen
The Oboke Onsen offers popular Japanese-style rooms with attached open-air baths where guests can relax and admire the splendor of nature from their windows. Nothing beats enjoying the fresh verdure of summer or the snowy landscapes of winter from Oboke’s famous open-air hot spring bath. Day trips are also available.
Oboke Onsen offers a scenic communal bath with a view of Koboke Gorge and Yoshino River, the most torrential stream in Japan. Because Oboke’s hot spring waters are highly alkaline, they are great for treating skin ailments or for skin beautification, earning the hot spring the reputation as a veritable fountain of youth. The hot spring is highly recommended for women looking to achieve smooth skin without the use of cosmetics.
10. Dogo Onsen - Hotel Hanayuzuki
Hotel Hanayuzuki boasts modern rooms, which were renovated in September 2018 with gilded Japanese paper. The hotel offers many different plans, ranging from plans focused around Setouchi cuisine to an Anniversary Plan. With semi-private rooms and banquet halls, you can enjoy Hanayuzuki in private or in large groups.
On the roof of the 11-story Hotel Hanayuzuki, you’ll find a scenic open-air bath where you can enjoy the morning, evening, or night scenery stretching beyond the windows of the bath. Because it’s a simple alkaline hot spring, it heals nerve, joint, and muscle pain, making it the perfect place to relax after a long trip.
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Iyaonsen is the only hotel in Iya Valley where you can enjoy the spectacular views of Iya River cutting through the steep, V-shaped valley from the hotel’s open-air baths or from the cable cars taking you to them.
A number of open-air baths are available: the Keikoku no Yu from which you can admire the jade-green waters of Iya River, or the calm and relaxing Seseragi no Yu. Scenic communal baths or the Yamagiri no Yu and the Madoromi no Hotori baths (available by reservation) are also available to help make your stay at Iyaonsen all the more relaxing.
2. Oyabu Hotspring
Oyabu is a colorless, odorless, and transparent simple alkaline hot spring, famous for its skin-beautifying properties as well as for helping with insomnia, skin ailments, or nerve pain. The hotel’s main building is a wooden, three-story structure that you don’t see much nowadays, which is why it has been designated a Registered Tangible Cultural Property.
The communal bath (available for day trips) is divided into the men’s Hinokiburo cypress wood bath and the women’s Iwaburo rock bath. As you can enjoy views of the Koyabu River or the changing seasons through the bath’s windows, it feels just like being in an open-air bath.
3. Sodayama Onsen
The Sodayama Onsen uses mineral ion-rich hot spring water from a source located in the foothills of Mt. Soda, boasting a superior water quality and the greatest water quantity in all of Shikoku. It’s well known for its open-air and indoor baths from which you can admire the surrounding nature.
Sodayama Onsen has something for everyone, from communal open-air and indoor baths to cypress-wood baths filled with hot spring water straight from the source. It also has a detached semi-open-air bath. The waters have a skin-beautifying property as well as a healing effect and are recommended for people wanting to relax after a long trip.
4. Kochi Kuroshio Hotel
Kochi Kuroshio Hotel is the closest facility to Kochi Ryoma Airport, making it the most convenient option for travelers. The spacious rooms are recommended for everyone, from businessmen to tourists. Next door to the hotel, you’ll find Ryoma no Yu, the largest hot spring in the area, which is available free of charge if you reserve it through the homepage.
Ryoma no Yu is famous for its communal baths and pictures depicting the life of Sakamoto Ryoma painted on its walls. The facility also has stone open-air baths, family-sized baths recommended for couples or families (available by reservation), and a cypress-wood sauna.
5. Nibukawa Onsen Hotel
At the Nibukawa Onsen Hotel, you can choose a standard Japanese-style room or a room with an attached hot spring bath. Fill your stomach with the seasonal bounty of the mountains, rivers, or the sea in the form of haute cuisine or pot dishes, and relax at the hotel’s natural rock baths or open-air baths located along the mountain stream.
The hotel’s open-air baths, as well as the communal and rock baths, are filled with simple alkaline hot spring water rich in radon, which has a skin-beautifying and softening effect. It’s what has earned the Nibukawa Onsen its reputation as an ancient, mysterious hot spring where people go to achieve beauty. You can also enjoy the hotel’s family baths as well as day-trip baths.
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At DOGO-KAN, you can relax in the hotel’s many different rooms tailored to all kinds of travelers. Guests can buy freshly brewed sake tasting sets as well as relax in the cafe lounge area and the beauty salon, or take a dip in DOGO-KAN’s communal bath, fed by the oldest hot spring ever recorded in the Chronicles of Japan.
DOGO-KAN’s famous wood-and-rock communal bath pulls its waters entirely from the Dogo hot spring source which goes back 3,000 years. You can enjoy the Dogo waters in many ways, from hot baths to lukewarm baths, lie-down baths, or waterfall baths. There is also a sauna available.
2. Bay Resort Hotel SHODOSHIMA
The Bay Resort Hotel SHODOSHIMA is located on Shodo Island in the Seto Inland Sea, a region blessed with a mild climate and abundant nature. All rooms come with an ocean view of the calm Uchinomi Bay or the Kanka Valley mountains. Enjoy the hotel’s buffet full of dishes made with local ingredients or its spacious open-air baths.
The hotel’s baths use a natural, private hot spring source. Its waters have a high salt content, which gives them a moisturizing effect and helps warm up the entire body. Due to that, the hot spring is said to help with skin beautification and healing the mind and body. The hotel’s scenic communal bath is located on the top floor, making the views from there truly amazing. There is also a shampoo bar available inside the changing rooms.
3. Shodoshima International Hotel
Shodoshima International Hotel is located beside the famous “Angel Road,” known as the holy land of lovers, making it perfect for couple getaways where you can enjoy haute and French cuisine using the freshest seasonal ingredients and local seafood. But the real treat is sitting back in the hotel’s open-air bath while listening to the sound of crashing waves.
The hotel’s open-air baths are located right at the water’s edge, allowing guests to relax while admiring the Seto Inland Sea and the starry night above it. The Olive no Yu and Hamakaze no Yu baths are said to relieve fatigue and stress as well as nerve or muscle pain. The hot spring waters also have softening effects on the skin.
4. New Sunpia SAKAIDE
At New Sunpia you can admire the Sakaide townscape and the Setouchi scenery at one glance from the hotel’s west-facing rooms. In the special Western-style accommodations with attached open-air baths, you can enjoy a luxurious hot spring experience while gazing across the Seto Inland Sea during sunset. A large hall and a conference room are also available, making New Sunpia suitable for parties or training retreats.
The hotel’s natural hot spring is said to have a skin-beautifying effect. It reportedly also cleanses the entire body so that one dip in the water feels like being washed all over with soap. New Sunpia has a hydrogen carbonate hot spring, which softens the skins and cleanses the pores. Day-trip baths are also available.
5. Hotel Kazurabashi
At the Hotel Kazurabashi, you can take a cable car up the mountain to enjoy the open-air baths or fill your stomach with delicious local dishes. Many great-value plans are available, from an attached open-air bath plan to a day-trip plan with lunch included, making the hotel the perfect destination for a trip.
Enjoy the many open-air baths located near the mountain peak. Choose the Jukai no Yu or Unkai no Yu baths and surround yourself with the splendor of nature or relax in the Goemon bath that’s directly heated from below (available by reservation) to heal your body and mind.
Be It Day Trips or Overnight Stays, Shikoku’s Hot Springs Have Something for Everyone!
These were 20 of Shikoku's best hot springs, from ones like Kotosankaku or Sansuien, which you can enjoy during day trips, to hidden treasures that you absolutely can't miss out on, like Oyabu Onsen and the Kochi Kuroshio Hotel, or ideal couple getaways like Dogo-kan or Hotel Kazurabashi. There are many things that only hot springs in Shikoku can offer, including beautiful views of valleys and centuries of history and tradition. We hope this guide will help you find a hot spring that's best suited for you.
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Translated and republished with permission from: SPIRA (formerly known as Relux Magazine)
By the way, you can book a hotel through Relux (run by SPIRA) by clicking here!
Thumbnail Image: dryadphotos / Shutterstock
The information in this article is accurate at the time of publication.