Written by Chiara Mischke
The Best 10 Onsen In Japan To Visit In The Winter
Hot springs, or onsen, are popular all year round but they become a special experience in the winter when they are a blessing for the body. Read on to see our selection of the best onsen to check out in Japan during the cold season.
Rotenburo, or open-air baths, are popular all year round. However, especially in the winter, they make for a very special experience. Sitting in the hot water while snowflakes are falling on your head cooling you down is extremely relaxing.
Anyone who usually stays away from hot springs because of the heat should give open-air baths a try in the winter. The temperature of the water tends to be a little milder. It also makes a huge difference to literally keep a cool head. You won't feel so hot if your head is constantly cooled down by wind or snow.
Let us introduce you to a selection of 10 onsen in Japan that we highly recommend. Should you visit Japan this winter, do give them a try. You'll understand right away why hot spring baths are so loved in Japan.
1. Noboribetsu Onsen in Hokkaido
Noboribetsu Onsen is one of the most famous hot spring resorts in Japan. It is really quite impressive at any time of the year. Jigokudani, or Hell Valley, is the source of its hot springs. Walking through the hot sand dunes in Noboribetsu with the sulfur smell floating in the air makes you think of hell, indeed. On the other hand, it's extremely relaxing if you don't mind the sulfur smell.
As for the hot springs themselves, you might not be aware that there are many different kinds of spring water available at the onsen. Every type of water has different effects and serves a different purpose.
There are nine varieties of spring water available at Noboribetsu Onsen.
1. Sulfur springs (Lousen), which help to ease chronic bronchitis, the hardening of the arteries and chronic dermatitis.
2. Salt springs (Shokuensen), known to help ease neuralgia, lower back pain, and poor circulation. They are the most common in Japan.
3. Aluminum springs (Myobansen) which are said to help ease symptoms of chronic skin diseases and the inflammation of the mucous membranes.
4. Mirabilite springs (Boshosen) which improve the blood flow and ease the effects of hypertension, wounds, and arteriosclerosis.
5. Melanterite springs (Ryokubansen) which are said to help ease the effects of anemia and chronic eczema.
6. Iron springs (Tessen). They help ease symptoms of anemia and chronic eczema. If you have dry skin, this is the spring water you want to use!
7. Acidic iron springs (Sansei Tessen) which help ease eczema symptoms thanks to their disinfecting action. After using this onsen, you'll need to wash your body with regular water.
8. Alkaline springs (Jusosen) which soften cornified skin layers and emulsify secretions. They ease skin conditions and sanitize wounds.
9. Radium springs (Radium-sen) sound scary but they are completely harmless. Radium spring waters have a strong sedative effect. They are particularly effective at easing neuralgia, rheumatism, and menopausal disorders.
One of Noboribetsu's most famous hotels is Daiichi Takimotokan. This hotel offers seven of the nine kinds of spring water available in Noboribetsu. Try them all and decide which water is your favorite.
In addition to its spring waters and beautiful views, Hokkaido offers great attractions which make it an ideal place to visit in winter. It is the only place in Japan where you can walk through knee deep snow and enjoy a true winter wonderland.
|Address||Hokkaido, Noboribetsu, Noboribetsu Onsen-cho 60|
|Accepted Credit Cards||Not Available|
|Nearest station||Noboribetsu Station|
|Access||15 minutes by bus from Noboribetsu Station|
|Website||Noboribetsu Tourist Association / Noboribetsu Tourist Center|
2. Ginzan Onsen in Yamagata
Ginzan Onsen in Yamagata prefecture is most scenic in winter. While the old town with the wooden buildings is charming all year round, snow just adds to the beauty of the townscape.
The Ginzan area can get up to 2 meters of snow in winter. All the streets and buildings get covered with a thick blanket of snow. Now, imagine a steaming onsen in the middle of this snow blanket.
At Ginzan Onsen, you can stay at an onsen hotel or use a public bath. Some hotels make their hot springs available to the public as well. So if you choose to just enjoy a hot bath and leave, you have the option to do this as well.
Whichever way you choose, you are definitely in for a truly special experience.
|Address||Yamagata, Obanazawa, Ginzanshinhata 429|
|Accepted Credit Cards||Not Available|
|Menu/Pamphlets in Other Languages||English, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Korean, Thai|
|Nearest station||JR Oishida Station or JR Sendai Station|
|Access||Approximately 40 minutes by bus from JR Oishida Station, Approximately 2 hours and 15 minutes by bus from JR Sendai Station|