Translated by Collin Radford
Friendly, Warm, and Tasty! The Old, New Base of Northern Tourism, "Wakura Onsen"
Written by OguraOsamu
The name Wakura comes from the Japanese terms "Waku" (湧く) and "Ura" (浦). It means a place where the spring flows in from the ocean. It is said to have been discovered 1200 years ago by a fisherman who spotted a resting a white heron, or egret. There is a
The name Wakura comes from the Japanese terms "Waku" (湧く) and "Ura" (浦). It means a place where the spring flows in from the ocean. It is said to have been discovered 1200 years ago by a fisherman who spotted a resting a white heron, or egret. There is a spot that uses the white heron of the legend as a motif, where the spring flows out onto the main street of the city, which was once part of the ocean.
Salty, But Great For You!
It's a chloride spring that contains sodium and calcium, and the water is colorless and crystal clear. It flows from its source at a hot 92 degrees, and is cooled for use at the inns and public baths. The water is exceptionally effective at warming the body, and helps increase circulation and ease muscles. It's also great at retaining warmth, and will keep you toasty throughout the experience. Another distinctive feature is that it's drinkable. Because it flows in from the ocean, it is quite salty, but it's also said to be good for your health.
The Hot Spring is not all that's Warm! The Touching Local Hospitality
They will even arrange your carelessly removed shoes
With the quality of its water, Wakura Onsen is among Japans famous hot spring spots. Another well known aspect is the hospitality. The staff that work at the inns are friendly and always smiling. They prepare everything from food to futon. This is something that can be found at any of Japan's inns and hot springs, but at Wakura Onsen, you can truly feel the warmth of the staff. Their kindness is superior to what you'll find elsewhere. They are also polite when greeting and seeing you off. Service offered naturally, with goodness of heart, can be found at any inn in Japan. Some are even said to be the best in Japan based just on the quality of their service.
The New and the Old Mix at Wakura
When someone mentions hot springs, you probably imagine old Japan's wooden city scape. Unfortunately, Wakura's traditional houses and buildings, which were common pre-war, have dwindled with the passage of time. You may be surprised when you see the rows of tall modern buildings.
But a very Japanese world can be found inside of the buildings. There are traditional design motifs and room layouts. It's as though classical has been replaced by modern art. The gap between its outward appearance and its interior is one of Wakura Onsen's interesting aspects.
The appeal of seaside inns is, of course, the ocean view. From an inn on the shore of Nanao Bay, you can enjoy the peaceful, beautiful view of the ocean both morning and night. From time to time, you can feel the touch of a gentle sea breeze on your cheek; you can feel the ocean even while in the city.
There are remnants from the economic growth during the Showa Period to be found around the city, and the discovery of this modern Japan, so much different from its traditional counterpart, is another way to enjoy Wakura Onsen. There are also shrines and Stone Buddhas to be found, making for surprising discoveries on your journey.
Just Too Fresh! Enjoying the Inn Cuisine
Wakura Onsen is known for the delicious taste of its food, even when compared to other onsen throughout Japan. Why, you ask? Because the land is blessed with ingredients. Nanao Bay, and Toyama beyond it, are known for their variety of scrumptious fish, which are available year round. Amberjack, firefly squid, crabs, oysters; ingredients found only locally are brought to the table.
While Noto Peninsula--where Wakura Onsen is situated--is surrounded by the ocean, inland is all rolling fields. Tons of fresh vegetables are raised here. Sashimi, grilled foods, and stewed dishes are among what the local chefs put their skills to use on, and with the excellent ingredients available their reputation is good. Once a year, a contest is held where they put their skills to the test in a competition against one another. That's how particular they are about their food.
With quality water and service--and good food, Wakura Onsen is a triple whammy. In the near future the Shinkansen and highway network are scheduled to reach the area as well. It's a spot that anyone would want as a base on a trip to the northern parts of the continent.