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The Japanese sure love their hot springs and to make your hot spring experience a little more special, we have come up with a list of places that will allow you enjoy the hot waters while taking in the beauty of its surroundings and some of these places actually provide outdoor baths where you can view the majestic Mount Fuji!
*Koshinetsu area encompasses Yamanashi, Nagano, and Niigata prefectures.
1. Senami Hot Springs
Take a scenic 50-minute train ride on the Limited Express train from Niigata station along the coast to head to this hot spring area in the Senami hot spring region. This area is not only famous for its hot springs but also for its beautiful beaches and its fresh salmon harvest in autumn when they are swimming upstream. Come here to enjoy the hot spring while you take in the sun setting on the horizon with some fresh delicious seafood with cups of Japanese sake.
Senami Onsen, Murakami, Niigata
2. Kaikake Hot Springs
It only takes 1 hour and 15 minutes on the bullet train from Tokyo to Echigo Yuzawa and then you would have to take a 20 minute bus ride to Kaikake hot springs that has a long 700-year history and it is said that the waters here have healing powers especially for the eyes. This Japanese inn is located among the rolling hills and provides its guests beautiful scenes that change with the seasons, with the white snow in winter and the fiery red leaves during autumn. Come here to enjoy their hot springs that are at 37℃ and be refreshed and renewed!
686 Mitsumata Yuzawa, Minamiuonuma, Niigata
3. Akakura Hot Springsbooking.com/
This famous ski resort, Akakura Onsen is located on the slope of Mount Myoko, at the height of 780m and it has served its guests as a hot spring resort since the Edo period. Regardless of the season, this resort has a wide variety of outdoor activities prepared for its guests, so after a long day of participating in their outdoor activities, return to the resort for a relaxing soak in their hot springs.
Akakura Myoko, Niigata
4. Kawaguchiko Hot Springsbooking.com/
Kawaguchiko Lake, which makes one of the Great Fuji Lakes right at the starting point for climbers to climb Mount Fuji, can be easily accessed from Tokyo. At this area there are at least three hot spring places that are opened for visitors to just come and soak in their baths while enjoying the view of the majestic Mount Fuji and the great lake. During spring, you’ll be amazed by the rows of blooming Sakura trees and in autumn your experience will be enriched with the leaves changing colors.
Fuji Kawaguchiko, Minamitsuru, Yamanashi
5. Shimobe Hot Springs
Take a 2 hour 10 minute ride on the Limited Express from Shinjuku and head right into the green hills to Shimobe Onsen at the bottom of the hills along a river. It is said that this hot springs has had more than 1200 years of history and still runs strong. The precious baths here are supplied with springs from under bedrock, which is rare. This is definitely a trip not to be missed.
Uenotaira Minobu, Minamikoma, Yamanashi
6. Isawa Hot Springs
Hop onto the Limited Expres from Shinjuku for a 1 and a half hour ride to Isawa Onsen and you’ll be spoiled for choices with the many Japanese inns and hot springs here. There are tens of wineries here, so if you ever make your way here to enjoy the hot springs, don’t forget to visit the wineries here for some locally cultivated wine.（The picture above shows the indoor bath at the hotel, Kakyo.）
Isawa, Fuefuki, Yamanashi
7. Shirahone Hot Springsbooking.com/
Shirahone Onsen is located at the foot of the Northern Alps along the route from Matsumoto to Kamikochi. It takes about 1 hour and 40 minutes to arrive at this place that is buried deep in the forests among the rolling hills. Once you arrive, it will be hard not to notice how fresh and cooling the air is here. Here you can hike the hills and discover the treasures hidden within its forests. Come here and enjoy the beauty of the hills and the fresh air while you soak in the clear waters of the springs that is mild acidity.
Azumi Matsumoto, Nagano
8. Yudanaka and Shibu Hot Springsbooking.com/
If you are wondering if there are any hot springs that you could soak in while you are in Nagano’s famous Snow Monkey Park area, you are in luck for reading this list because Yudanaka Onsen and Shibu Onsen and its flowing springs will be the place to head to after your trip to the park. This area has a long history and many historical treasures and beautiful wooden architecture. As Shibu Onsen is a hot spring town, guests that are staying in any of their resorts there can wear the yukatas and Japanese wooden clogs provided by the inn and walk around town in them and also visit other public bath houses that are around.
Yudanaka Onsen：Hirao Yamanouchi, Shimotakai, Nagano
Shibu Onsen：Hirao Yamanouchi, Shimotakai, Nagano
9. Otari Hot Springs
Within Hakuba Valley, a very famous ski resort, lies Otari at the foot of the Northern Alps, which is a hot spring area that comes with a beautiful panoramic view of its natural surroundings. Besides soaking in the baths at Otari Onsen, which is a long-serving therapeutic bath, while taking in the unforgettable scenery, you can also hike into the mountains and enjoy its nature. It is truly a trip worth making.（The picture above is of the outdoor bath at Amakazari.）
18836 Nakatsuchi Otari, Kitaazumi, Nagano
10. Togurakamiyamada Hot Springsbooking.com/
At Togurakamiyama Onsen, a modern type hot spring area, you will not only be spoiled with their hot springs but also with their karaoke and bar facilities. There are also guides provided in English and activities specially planned and catered for foreign visitors like Geisha shows and the opportunity to try on traditional Japanese clothings. From Ueda station on the Shinano line, it will take about 15 minutes to arrive at Togura station and from there you can stroll around the grounds of Ueda Castle too .
Kamiyamadaonsen Chikuma, Nagano
11. Bessho Hot Springs
30 minutes fromUeda Electric Railway’s Ueda station lies Bessho Onsen that has a history of more than 1000 years and it is said that it is Japan’s oldest hot springs. Here, you will also be able to tour around shrines and temples that are recognized as national treasures. The popular sulfur bath that is mildly alkaline is said to be very good for your skin.
Besshoonsen Ueda, Nagano
12. Nozawa Hot Springsbooking.com
This cozy area, Nozawa Onsen is located at the foot of a ski resort that once served as Nagano’s Winter Olympics arena. This hot springs area has about 13 hot springs facilities that also include public bathhouses. With that many bath facilities around, it makes your trip and stays here all the more fun. It is also a popular place among foreign visitors. In January there is a fireworks festival too.
Nozawa Onsen, Shimotakai, Nagano