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Yamagata's Ginzan Onsen is one of the most charming hot spring towns in Japan with a nostalgic early 20th-century atmosphere. This guide explains how to get to Ginzan Onsen and offers lodging and activity recommendations.

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Ginzan Onsen - A Historic Hot Spring Town in Yamagata

Ginzan Onsen, A Traditional Resort: Access, One-Day Trips, And More

Ginzan Onsen is in Obanazawa, Yamagata Prefecture, which is located in the Tohoku Region. The hot spring town is right by the prefectural border with Iwate. It is said to have received its name from a giant silver mine ("ginzan" in Japanese) called Nobezawa Ginzan which prospered in the past.

The current hot spring town was established after a large flood at the beginning of the 20th century. Wooden ryokans line both sides of the river, and the area has maintained its townscape as it was when these ryokans were built. Here at Ginzan Onsen you will be able to feel the history of the region.

Continue reading to learn about how to make a trip to Ginzan Onsen the best it can be.

How to Get to Ginzan Onsen From Tokyo and Osaka

From Tokyo to Ginzan Onsen

Getting to Ginzan Onsen is easiest through taking the train to Oishida Station in Yamagata Prefecture.

From Tokyo Station, you will get on the JR Yamagata Shinkansen for Shinjo and alight at Oishida Station. The ride is about three hours and 15 minutes, and a non-reserved seat costs 12,330 yen.

From JR Oishida Station, a bus called the Ginzan Hanagasa-go will take you to the hot spring town in about 40 minutes for a fare of 710 yen. Shuttle bus service may be available depending on the ryokan you are staying at. If you already know where you will be staying, you may want to ask them for information.

From Osaka to Ginzan Onsen

JAL flies three trips a day from Osaka's Itami Airport to Yamagata Airport. The flight lasts one hour and 15 minutes, and the normal fare is 35,800 yen.

From Yamagata Airport, there are three direct buses to Ginzan Onsen departing three times a day. The bus ride takes one hour and 10 minutes for a fare of 1,500 yen. However, be careful as the last bus stops at Obanazawa City Hall.

Effects and Characteristics of the Hot Springs at Ginzan Onsen

ginzan onsen

Picture courtesy of Ginzan Onsen Tourist Information Center

Ginzan Onsen has a sulfate spring quality, and the clear water has a slightly salty taste. It is said to have good effects for cuts, burns, chronic skin diseases, and arteriosclerosis.

Recommended Hot Spring Spots at Ginzan Onsen

ginzan onsen

Picture courtesy of Ginzan Onsen Tourist Information Center

Public Bath Shirogane-yu

There are three public baths at Ginzan Onsen, but we recommend the uniquely-designed Shirogane-yu. There are triangle-shaped baths on the first and second floors. From the bath on the second floor, you can gaze out the window and admire the view while you relax.

Address: Yamagata, Obanazawa, Ginzanshinhata 433
Price: Adult 500 yen, Child 200 yen


A ryokan managed by soba restaurant Takimikan, which serves handmade soba made from Obanazawa buckwheat. The ryokan offers bathing in their hot spring along with a lunch meal. The open-air bath boasts an amazing view of the area.

Address: Yamagata, Obanazawa, Ginzanshinhata 522
Price: Soba Teishoku 2000 yen, Soba Zen 3500 yen, Takimi Miraku 3500 yen *includes consumption tax and bath tax


A popular foot bath spot at the entrance of the hot spring town. Hot water from the source is used directly. Visitors can enjoy a view of the Ginzan River while relaxing.

Address: Yamagata, Obanazawa, Ginzanshinhata
Price: Free

Recommended Lodgings at Ginzan Onsen

ginzan onsen

Picture courtesy of Ginzan Onsen Tourist Information Center

Senkyo no Yado Ginzanso

Some guest rooms at this ryokan boast outdoor baths. In addition to an inside bath and open-air bath, they also have a popular shallow bathtub called "neyu" where you can lie down and relax.

Address: Yamagata, Obanazawa, Ginzanshinhata 85

Ginzanso Discount Reservation

Notoya Ryokan

notoya ryokan

Notoya Ryokan is a magnificent work of wooden architecture, complete with a profound and warm interior. The outside looks almost as if time stopped moving long ago. The facility boasts an outside bath, an open-air bath with a view of the Hakugin-no-Taki waterfall, as well as a Doukutsu (cave) bath that can be used as a private bath.

Address: Yamagata, Obanazawa, Ginzanshinhata 446
Website: (Japanese)


Fujiya is the most modern-style ryokan at Ginzan Onsen. There are five different types of baths, from the Hiba (*1) baths and the underground baths, to the rock baths, bamboo baths, and semi-open-air baths. All baths are private, so you will be able to relax with the whole bath to yourself.

*1 Hiba: the leaves of a Hinoki (Japanese cypress).

Address: Yamagata, Obanazawa, Ginzanshinhata 443

What to Do at Ginzan Onsen


Picture courtesy of Ginzan Onsen Tourist Information Center

Ginzan Onsen offers attractions such as the Shirogane-no-Taki waterfall and Senshinkyo Valley, as well as a walking trail around some silver mine caves. After you've relaxed in the onsen, we recommend you take a walk to take in all the nature. *Entrance to the mountain area is unavailable from the first snow until May 4 when the area is opened.

Also, on every Saturday from May to October, visitors can enjoy watching Yamagata Hanagasa Odori - a public dance performance on the bridge in the center of the town.

Weather and What to Wear to Ginzan Onsen

It may be hot during the day in summer at Ginzan Onsen, but mornings and nights can get chilly, so you should bring a light coat with you. As the onsen town is located in the mountains, it will be cooler than Tokyo and Osaka.

The town is covered in snow from December to March, so be sure to bring warm clothes and protective garments, such as a down jacket or fleece.

*Information on transportation and fees are listed based on information from official websites. Main image from Pixta

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The MATCHA editorial department. Our articles feature useful travel information for visitors to Japan, from how-to guides to recommended places to visit.

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