Translated by Jasmine Nishino
Shiobara Onsen In Tochigi: Access, Hot Spring Inns, Bathing Tips
Written by Mayu
A famous hot springs spot in Tochigi is the Nasu Shiobara hot springs. Learn how to get to the eleven wonderful springs and the best spots to bathe or where to stay the night.
What Kind of Place Is Shiobara Onsen?
Shiobara Onsen is the common name used when referring to the hot springs in Nasu Shiobara city in the Kanto region; Shiobara Onsen is also the name of the village itself. Along the famed freshwater river called Hoki, you can find eleven hot springs and hot spring inns such as the Fukuwata Onsen, Shiogama Onsen, Shio no Yu Onsen, Nakashiobara Onsen, and others.
All eleven springs have various mineral qualities to them, so trying out the different waters is just one of the many ways to enjoy this unique hot spring village.
The Effects and Traits of the Shiobara Hot Springs
The quality of the water varies according to each spring in Shiobara.
For instance, the waters at Fukuwata Onsen, Shiogama Onsen, and Shio no Yu Onsen have hot water containing sulfate, which is said to help burns, cuts, and other dermatological problems. The Nakashiobara Onsen, on the other hand, is a simple spring that is said to help in treating cuts, dermatological problems and soothe gynecological issues.
There are some springs that have multiple effects, so it is best to check their properties after you arrive.
How to Get to Shiobara Onsen
To get to Shiobara Onsen from Tokyo, you can either take the train or the express bus.
By Train From Tokyo
Get on the JR Tohoku shinkansen from Tokyo Station and get off at Nasu Shiobara Station. It will take about an hour and ten minutes, and cost 5390 yen.
Upon arriving at Nasu Shiobara, transfer to the JR Kanto bus bound for Shiobara Onsen. This will take a further hour and ten minutes to reach the last stop, and cost 1170 yen.
By Express Bus From Shinjuku Station
On weekends, there is an express bus departing from the Shinjuku Bus Terminal bound for Shiobara Onsen. If you manage to catch the JR bus Nasu Shiobara-go, you will arrive at the onsen in about three hours and 20 minutes for 3400 yen.
One-Day Bathing Spots at Shiobara Hot Springs
Here are some one-day bathing spots in Shiobara Hot Springs.
Momiji no Yu
This mixed bathing open-air bath is located near Shiobara’s local history museum, the Shiobara Monogatari-kan (Japanese). There are Japanese maple trees around the bath and during the autumn, you can enjoy bathing while being surrounded by beautiful red maple leaves. The water quality here is excellent and often considered to be the fountain of beauty as it contains hydrogen carbonate which helps to make your skin smooth.
Bathing fee: 100 yen (with tax and bathing tax) Only open during the day (closed from 19:00-07:00)
Address: Tochigi, Nasu Shiobara, Shiobara
Shiobara Onsen Hana no Yu
This is a hot spring facility managed by the city. It has an open-air bath surrounding large stones and an indoor bath with a sauna. This bath is a recreation spot for both locals and tourists. Both the open-air bath and indoor bath are separated by gender so those who are uncomfortable bathing in a mixed setting can enjoy themselves in peace.
Bathing fee: middle school age and above: 700 yen, 65 years old and above: 300 yen, elementary school students: 300 yen, pre-school and below: free. (Prices include tax and bathing tax)
Address: Tochigi, Nasu Shiobara, Kamishiobara 603
Website: Shiobara Onsen Hana no Yu (Japanese)
Yuppo no Sato
This hot spring park has Japan's largest foot bath and is located in the middle of the Shiobara Onsen village. The foot bath is 60 meters long and there is even a garden where you can enjoy seasonal flowers and trees.
Facility usage fee: Adults: 200 yen, elementary and middle school students: 100 yen (with tax and bathing tax)
Address: Tochigi, Nasu Shiobara, Shiobara 602-1
Website: Yuppo no Sato (Japanese)
Recommended Inns at Shiobara Onsen
Here are some recommended accommodation facilities in Shiobara Onsen.
This hot spring inn is located along Hoki River and is a charming spot where you can indulge in a moment of peace as you listen to the flow of the river during your stay. There is a bath overlooking the garden and a tea house bath where you can bathe in a traditional tea house-like structure, both of which are sure to provide you some escape from the daily commotion. All rooms here are Japanese-style.
Address: Tochigi, Nasu Shiobara, Shiobara 745
Website: Ryokan Kamiaizu-ya (Japanese)
This is a traditional inn with over 100 years of history. The main highlight of this inn is the open-air bath which has a view of the lush green forest in the valley along the Hoki River. During your stay, you can savor a delicious grilled meal by the irori fireplace made using seasonal vegetables and freshwater fish. Rooms are Japanese-style or a Japanese-Western style. Some rooms have their own private open-air bath as well.
Address: Tochigi, Nasu Shiobara, Shiobara 6
Website: Yumori Tanakaya (Japanese)
Right beside the Hoki River stands this hot springs inn known for its open-air baths along the river banks. You can bathe while watching the river flow gently by. This open-air bath is mixed, but there is also a women only open-air bath as well. Only Japanese-style rooms are available. You may also choose to have a kaiseki-style meal for dinner.
Address: Tochigi, Nasu Shiobara, Shiobara 353
Website: Myogaya Honkan (Japanese)
Points to Enjoy Shiobara Hot Springs
Shiobara is located in the depths of the Nasu region. Here, you can enjoy the vast nature filled with plants and animals living in the mountains and the rivers.
At places such as Hunter Mountain Lily Park (Japanese) which has over five million lilies, and Hako no Mori Play Park (Japanese), you can find rare irises and mountain azaleas that are both wonderful sights to see during your visit.
The Hoki River that runs through the Shiobara region is a great place to go canoeing, kayaking, trekking and even fishing. The Shiobara area is a perfect place to enjoy various outdoor activities along with the hot springs. It is a perfect spot for a day-trip, and also a great place to go to spend quality time overnight and really experience the local atmosphere.
More information regarding manners at hot springs can be found in the following article: What You Should Know About Bath Culture In Japan.
** Travel times and expenses are based on publicly available information and are current as of March 2017. They may be subject to change.