Not only is Yamanashi blessed with beautiful mountains and scenery, but within the mountains lay many soothing hot springs for people to enjoy year-round. It has been said for many years that hot springs make the body healthy.
The secret lies in the dissolution of medicinal substances into the groundwater, which seeps through long passages deep underground, is naturally heated, and then springs to the surface.
Major hot springs in Yamanashi are Yumura, which is close to Shosenkyo Ravine; Masutomi, which possesses the highest radium content in Japan; Nishiyama, nestled in a quiet mountain area; Shimobe, known as the secret spring of Lord Shingen, and a good place to cure ailing health; and Isawa, with its modern facilities.
Most of the establishments function as hotels of sorts (oftentimes very inexpensive ones), which is a big bonus for travelers. For a uniquely Japanese experience one can sit back and enjoy at leisure, nothing beats an onsen.
Location: 3243 Hirabayashi, Fujikawa, Minamikoma District, Yamanashi Prefecture 400-0514, Japan Getting There: From Kajikazawaguchi Station on the Minobu Line, take the bus to Aoyanagi Shako for 10 minutes. Change to the bus bound for Hirabayashi and get off at the bus terminal after 20 minutes. The inn will pick you up there. Tel: 0556-22-5188
Oshino Onsen (Oshino)
2887-1 Shibokusa, Oshino-mura, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi Prefecture 401-0511, Japan TEL: 0555-84-2014, 0555-84-3111 (Town Hall) FAX: 0555-84-2577
Yumura Onsen (Kofu City)
Yumura hot spring, just a few short minutes from Shosenkyo Ravine, has flourished over the years and has the longest history of onsen in Yamanashi. Legend has it that this spring rose from an impression made with a walking stick by Daishi Kobo, a famous Buddhist priest. Contents: chlorine, 42C – 52C. Address: 98 Yu, Shinonsen-cho, Mikata-gun, Hyogo Prefecture 669-6821, Japan Getting There: 20 minutes by bus from JR Kofu Station. Tel: 0796-92-2000 Fax: 0796-92-2011
Masutomi Onsen (Sudama Town)
Masutomi hot spring is famous for its high content of radium. It is said that the three ways to use an onsen are inhaling the steam, drinking the water, or bathing in the hot spring. Lord Shingen supposedly discovered this spring when he was excavating a gold mine. Contents: radium, 37C. Getting There: 1-hour bus from JR Nirasaki Station Address: 6438 Sutamacho Hishi, Hokuto, Yamanashi Prefecture 408-0102, Japan Phone: 0551-20-6500
Nishiyama Onsen (Hayakawa Town)
Nishiyama hot spring, lodged at the foot of the Southern Alps near the origin of the Hayakawa River, was one of the hidden hot springs of Lord Shingen. According to legend, Ieyasu Tokugawa, a famous Shogun of the 17th century, also visited it. This resort is a popular hot spring of Yamanashi because of its unspoiled surroundings. Contents: sulfate and chlorine, 41C-44C. Getting There: 1 hour 40 minutes by bus from JR Minobu Station Address: 73 Yujima, Hayakawa, Minamikoma District, Yamanashi Prefecture 409-2702, Japan Tel: 0556-48-2211
Shimobe Onsen (Shimobe Town)
Contact: Tourist Information: 0556-36-0011 (Town Hall) Historically, Shimobe hot spring offered relief to Takeda Shingen for his shoulder that was injured by Uesugi Kenshin in the Battle of Kawanakajima. The lukewarm water of this hot spring is said to have healing effects on fractures and bruises. Contents: pure hot spring, 27C-34C. Getting There: 5 minutes by bus from JR Shimobe Station Address: 1130-20 Shimobe, Minobu, Minamikoma District, Yamanashi Prefecture 409-2942, Japan Tel: 0556-36-1312
Isawa Onsen (Isawa Town)
Isawa hot spring suddenly flowed from a vineyard in 1961 – hence its name, “Hot Spring of the Vineyard.” With approximately 150 hotels and ryokans, it is the biggest hot spring resort in Yamanashi. Contents: pure hot spring, 45C-60C. Getting There: 5 minutes on foot from JR Isawa Onsen Station. Address: 822 Isawacho Ichibe, Fuefuki, Yamanashi Prefecture 406-0031, Japan Tel: 055-262-3626
Masutomi Onsen (Sudama)
This hot spring is located at the border that Yamanashi Prefecture shares with Nagano Prefecture and is located at the western end of the Chichibu Tama Kai National Park. Masutomi Hot Spring Resort is famous for its high content of radium. There are three ways to take in the springs: bathing in the water, drinking the water, or inhaling the steam. Legend says that Lord Shingen happened to discover this spring when he was excavating a gold mine. Contents: Radium 97o F Address: 6438 Sutamacho Hishi, Hokuto, Yamanashi Prefecture 408-0102, Japan Tel: 0551-20-6500
Ishiwari no Yu Hot Spings Spa of Lake Yamanakako (Yamanakako)
1450 Hirano, Yamanakako-mura, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi Pref. 401-0502, Japan TEL: 0555-20-3355 FAX: 0555-20-3356
Benifuji no Yu Hot Spings Spa of Lake Yamanakako (Yamanakako)
865-776 Yamanaka, Yamanakako, Minamitsuru District, Yamanashi Prefecture 401-0501, Japan Tel: 0555-20-2700 Fax: 0555-20-2701
Yumedono Onsen (Fujikawaguchiko)
6677 Funatsu, Fujikawaguchiko Town, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi 401-0301
Kawaguchiko Hot Spa Fountainhead, Open-air Bath TENSUI
Kawaguchi, Fujikawaguchiko Town, Minamitsuru-gun, Yamanashi 401-0304 TEL: 0555-76-8826 FAX: 0555-76-8827