ONSEN Hot Springs Diverse hot springs surrounded by Hokkaido's abundant nature

Toya Nonokaze Resort
NOGUCHI KANKO Co.,Ltd.

Experts' Voice

"A wonderful way to warm up after a day out in the cold."
Yasunaga Ogita
Yasunaga Ogita
Polar explorer
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"The most in Japan - which means the most in the world."
Keizo Funatsu
Adventurer / General Manager of NIKI Hills Village
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"Amazing open-air hot springs with beautiful scenic views."
Kiyomi Mikuni
Owner and Chef of Hotel de Mikuni
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"Hot springs are a must for warming up after skiing."
Daisuke Sasaki
Mountain skier / International Mountain Guide
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"The greatest happiness."
Ting Pui
Ting Pui
Managing Director of Travel Alliance Japan
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"A nature experience not only for the eyes but for the whole body."
Noriko Suga
Chairperson, Okami Association of Hokkaido Hotel and Ryokan
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"Relax in hot springs and enjoy the fragrance of the natural minerals."
Man Kin Wong
Man Kin Wong
Chiiki Okoshi Kyoryoku Tai (Volunteers for Cooperation in Community Revitalization)
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"You may enjoy different types of hot spring in Hokkaido. I recommend you to visit Toyotomi Onsen, which is one of the extreme of all."
Takayuki Shiraiwa
Takayuki Shiraiwa
Associate Professor, Dr. at the Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University
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"There is nothing more magical than viewing the winter wonderland of Hokkaido from the warmth of a hot spring."
Mark Edward Harris
Mark Edward Harris
Photographer / Writer
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Japan's geothermal activity creates hot springs with warm, mineral-rich water. These have been a beloved part of Japanese culture for centuries because of their relaxing effect and healing minerals that are effective against aches and pains, skin problems and even the symptoms of some illnesses.

Hokkaido has lots of hot springs to choose from. Bathe in the basins of hot spring waterfalls (Kamuiwakka Yunotaki), explore charming hot spring villages (Noboribetsu, Jozankei), try hot springs with rare properties (Tokachigawa, Toyotomi) or bathe in a hot spring that is said to have cured a feudal lord's illness (Yunokawa).
What are they? Sources of warm, mineral-rich water. They're extremely popular for bathing in, with many baths throughout Hokkaido.
How are they formed? Groundwater coming into contact with heat and gases from volcanic activity. The water is heated, infused with minerals and pushed to the surface.
Minerals Many of Hokkaido's hot springs contain sulfur, hydrogen sulfide or chlorides such as salt. Tokachigawa Hot Springs' water has a rare plant-based component in it.
Healing effects Hot springs can help with ailments such as aches and pains, skin problems and even the symptoms of some illnesses (Yunokawa Hot Springs is said to have cured a feudal lord's illness!) Salt hot springs also warm the body.
Rotenburo Many hot springs have outdoor baths called rotenburo, where you can enjoy amazing views of natural scenery while you relax in the bath.

The link between hot springs and volcanoes

Noboribetsu Onsen Jigokudani
Noboribetsu Onsen Jigokudani

Many hot springs are located near volcanoes. That's because they're closely connected - hot springs are often formed when two tectonic plates rub together, creating magma and continuously emitting heat and volcanic gases. When groundwater passes through that area, it is warmed by the heat, infused with water and other components from the magma as well as components from the surrounding rocks, and pushed to the surface to form a hot spring. No two hot springs are completely alike - even hot springs in the same area are slightly different.

Most sulfuric and hydrogen sulfide hot springs are volcanic. Hokkaido has over 30 active volcanoes, including the Chishima and Nasu volcanic belts. The best-known volcanoes in these belts include Mt. Usu, Mt. Tokachi-dake, Mt. Tarumae and Mt. Meakan. As a result, there are lots of hot spring villages throughout Hokkaido. Hokkaido also has a lot of hot springs with chlorides such as salt.

Every hot spring has different components and different effects

Tokachigawa Hot Springs
Tokachigawa Hot Springs
Tokachigawa Onsen Tourist Association

The chemical components, heat and pressure of hot spring water enhance the natural healing mechanisms of the body. Because of this, many Japanese people bathe in hot springs to ease chronic pain such as nerve pain, muscle pain and joint pain, or chronic skin conditions such as chronic dermatitis and psoriasis.

The most common types of hot spring in Hokkaido are chloride springs, sulfide springs and simple springs (springs with less than a prescribed concentration of minerals). Chloride hot springs are colorless with a faint salty smell, and help retain moisture and heat in the body. They are helpful for conditions such as nerve pain, rheumatism and chills. Simple springs don't have the quick effect that other springs do, but they are gentle on the body, making them good for nerve pain, muscle pain, fatigue and stress. Sulfide hot springs have the distinctive smell of sulfur and are white and cloudy. They are helpful against hardening of the arteries, high blood pressure and diabetes.

Open-air baths - Enjoy a relaxing bath and a stunning view at the same time!

Niseko Goshiki Onsen Ryokan
Niseko Goshiki Onsen Ryokan
Hideo Kishimoto

In addition to bath houses, Hokkaido has many rotenburo - open-air baths with incredible views of natural scenery. Soak in a rotenburo and enjoy the combination of the warm, relaxing water and the breathtaking beauty around you.

Rotenburo date back centuries. Hot springs were considered holy grounds in Japan because of their healing properties that at that time could not be explained. Accounts of wounds being healed by bathing and illnesses being cured by drinking the spring water appear in some of Japan's earliest history books. Another important part of Japanese spirituality is nature, due to Japan's long-standing farming culture, so hot springs and nature became linked. Some legends even feature wildlife that could be found near hot springs that were considered particularly holy, such as monkeys, cranes and deer.

Stories

Things To Do

Try as many hot springs as you can! Each hot spring has its own features that set it apart from the others - charming villages, rare minerals, breathtaking beauty and fascinating history.

For the ultimate open-air bath experience, try walking up to Kamuiwakka Yunotaki, a series of hot spring waterfalls, in summer. Relax in the basins of the waterfalls and enjoy the rush of warm water.

Kamuiwakka Yunotaki (Hot Spring Waterfalls)

The ultimate open-air bath experience! Located in the center of the Shiretoko Peninsula, Kamuiwakka Yunotaki (Hot Spring Waterfalls) are a series of warm waterfalls formed by hot spring water flowing from the side of Mt. Io, an active volcano, into a river. Their name is Ainu for "holy water".

You can walk up to the basins of the waterfalls and bathe in them. The path to the hot spring takes you through untouched natural scenery, following the river and at one times going behind the waterfalls. Take care if you have sensitive skin, as this water has particularly strong minerals.

Discovering ONSEN Hot Springs

Spring
Hokkaido Tourism Organization
Summer
KITAKOBUSHI SHIRETOKO Hotel & Resort
Autumn
Winter
TSURUGA GROUP

Hokkaido has lots of hot springs, many of them famous. Facilities range from large hot spring villages, such as Noboribetsu and Jozankei, to springs famous for their high-quality components in the water (Tokachigawa is famous for its unusual plant-based component, while Toyotomi is renowned for the healing effect of its water for skin problems such as dermatitis), incredible beauty or impressive history (Yunokawa's water is said to have cured a 17th-century lord's illness). Try as many as you can!

Best Season To See

All year round! But each season brings a new atmosphere, especially at rotenburo (open-air baths). The chart below has some suggestions about how to make the most of each season when you visit hot springs!

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Cherry blossom view
View of sea and summer greenery
View of autumn leaves
Snow view
: Best : Good : Possible

Getting Here

Hokkaido has lots of hot springs, many of them famous. Facilities range from large hot spring villages, such as Noboribetsu and Jozankei, to springs famous for their high-quality components in the water (Tokachigawa is famous for its unusual plant-based component, while Toyotomi is renowned for the healing effect of its water for skin problems such as dermatitis), incredible beauty or impressive history (Yunokawa's water is said to have cured a 17th-century lord's illness). Try as many as you can!

1
Noboribetsu Hot Springs
2
Kawayu Hot Springs
3
Tokachigawa Hot Springs
4
Akanko Hot Springs
5
Jozankei Hot Springs
6
Sounkyo Hot Springs
7
Yunokawa Hot Springs
8
Toyotomi Hot Springs
9
Toyako Hot Springs
10
Marukoma Hot Springs (Shikotsuko Hot Springs)

Dos & Don'ts

  • Avoid bathing in hot springs if you are not well enough or have sensitivities.
    • Avoid bathing in hot springs if you are in a very frail or sensitive condition due to illness, etc.
    • Avoid bathing in sulfuric or hydrogen sulfide hot springs if you are of old age or have dry skin.
  • Avoid bathing in hot springs after drinking alcohol. This will increase circulation under your skin and reduce the blood flow to the brain, which may make you light-headed.
  • Put your feet and arms in the water first and get used to the temperature before getting all the way in. Getting straight into a hot bath may cause your blood pressure to rise.
  • Be aware of hot spring etiquette!
    • Before you enter the bath, wash yourself with one of the showers provided nearby. Otherwise, you will make the water dirty.
    • Keep towels out of the water. Even if your towel looks clean, it still has bacteria which will contaminate the water.