Hot springs resorts are popular tourist attractions in Japan and some tourists don't leave without experiencing onsen in Japan at natural hot springs. Five famous natural hot springs can be found in the steepest mountains of Japan. These five are known as the Okuhida Onsengou and are found in the northern section of the Japanese Alps.
The hot springs resorts which comprise the group of five are the Fukuchi Onsen, the Shinhotaka Onsen, the Shinharayu Onsen, the Hirayu Onsen and the Tochio Onsen.
Onsen Hot Springs
These Japanese spas have a lot of archaeological significance. The oldest fossils in Japan were discovered around the natural spas located at Fukuchi Onsen. Onsen in the mountains are also a good place to enjoy local Japanese cuisine such as river fish, wild vegetables and beef.
The natural water sometimes runs to open-air baths in the mountains. Some of the resorts are surrounded by wilderness areas, beautiful scenery and mountainside villages, while others are located in the midst of luxurious hotels.
Some Special Features
The Shinhirayu Onsen is the largest of the Okuhida Onsengou. The Shinhirayu Onsen is blessed with many different sources of water for the traveler to enjoy.
The Hirayu Onsen is the oldest hot springs resort in Okuhida. It is found at an altitude of approximately 1.3 Km. This Japanese spa is near to a well known waterfall in the Hida region-the Hirayu Otaki Falls. Visitors to the area have a choice of rustic accommodations or more luxurious hotels.
The Hirayu Otaki Falls can be accessed by a shuttle bus. The bus leaves from Kamikochi. Please view the timetable provided by the Hida Takayama Nohi Bus for more information on the departure time and route. The Otaki Hirayu bus schedule information is available on their website. It is provided in both English and Japanese.
You may also choose to get a Takayama City tourist information map. This is available at the tourist information center. You can also view it online.
How to Get from Tokyo to the Onsen
Traveling from Tokyo, Japan to the Okuhida Onsengou via highway bus takes about 4 1/2 hours. A reservation is required. Traveling from Tokyo, to the Okuhia Onsengou by train and regular bus takes hours.
The JR Shinkansen to Nagoya, Japan will take a little over 1 1/2 hours. The JR limited express train on the Chuo line will take about 2 hours and 15 minutes from Nagoya to Matsumoto. A bus from Matsumoto will take about 1 1/2 hours to reach the spa.
Tochio Onsen is one of the top 35 attractions in Takayama. The buses that run within Okuhida go from Takayama to Hirayu. It costs about twenty U.S. dollars to travel from Takayama to Tochio by bus.
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