Katayamazu Onsen (片山津温泉) is a built up hot spring town along the shores of the Shibayamagata Lagoon, and one of the four resort towns that make up Kaga Onsen. Many of the town's large ryokan and hotels feature baths with attractive views onto the lagoon and Mount Hakusan in the distance.
The Shibayamagata Lagoon is said to naturally change colors seven times per day. A fountain at its center shoots water up to 70 meters high for a few minutes every hour. A small shrine dedicated to Benten, the goddess of good fortune, wealth, music and knowledge, stands on a pier out over the water. The shrine is illuminated in the evenings together with the fountain.
Another non-bathing related site of interest is the Museum of Snow and Ice. This museum displays the work, photographs and equipment of local scientist Nakaya Ukichiro who devoted his life to the study of snow crystals in Hokkaido and around the world. The museum also provides visitors with interesting hands on activities and experiments involving supercooled water and ice.
The following is a list of some of Katayamazu's baths that are open to day trip visitors:
Soyu (Public Bath)
Hours: 6:00 to 22:00 Closed: Infrequent, irregular closures (cafe closed on Thursdays) Admission: 460 yen
Katayamazu Onsen's public bath moved into this modern, lakeside building in 2012. Its two baths, one looking onto the lake and one looking onto trees, are switched between the genders on a daily basis.
Kaga Kanko Hotel•
Daytime Hours: 14:00 to 19:30 (entry until 18:30) Daytime Admission: 800 yen (including towels) Overnight Stay: From 10,000 yen per person including 2 meals
The Kaga Kanko Hotel at the southern end of the lagoon has the largest and most varied selection of baths in Katayamazu Onsen. The hotel features around a dozen baths, both indoor and outdoor, with varying styles and temperatures. Most of the baths offer views of the lagoon.
Daytime Hours: 12:00 to 22:00 Daytime Admission: 1000 yen (including towels) Overnight Stay: From 15,500 yen per person including 2 meals
The northernmost of the large hotels in Katayamazu Onsen, Kasuikyo is housed in a massive concrete building with a unique interior design. Its beautiful baths are gender segregated and feature a large indoor pool and smaller wooden outdoor baths with excellent views over the lagoon and Mount Hakusan in the distance.
Daytime Hours: 14:00 to 19:00 Daytime Admission: 1500 yen (including towels) Overnight Stay: From 16,000 yen per person including 2 meals
Hotel Morimoto stands in central Katayamazu Onsen right next to the shrine on the pier. It offers a large indoor bath and an attractive outdoor bath for each gender that offer views of the shrine and fountain out in the lagoon.
New Maruya Hotel
Daytime Hours: 9:00 to 11:00 and 15:00 to 23:00 Daytime Admission: 500 yen Overnight Stay: From 7500 yen per person including 2 meals
The New Maruya Hotel in central Katayamazu Onsen features a large indoor tub for each gender with views over the lagoon. It also has attractive baths that have massaging waterfalls, but are mostly shielded from view of the lagoon.
Oedo Onsen Monogatari Nagayama
Daytime Hours: 5:00 to 24:00 Daytime Admission: 720 yen (1020 yen on weekends and national holidays) Overnight Stay: From 6700 yen per person including 2 meals
Owned by the same company as the Oedo Onsen hot spring theme park on Odaiba, Tokyo, this ryokan attracts with very inexpensive overnight plans. Although not historically themed, its hot spring baths offer excellent views of the lagoon from practically next to the water.
Daytime Hours: 9:00 to 11:00 and 15:00 to 23:00 Daytime Admission: 1000 yen (including towels) Overnight Stay: From 8,500 yen per person including 2 meals
Yataya Shotoen in central Katayamazu Onsen offers gender segregated baths on the building's second floor. There is a large, black granite indoor bath and a smaller outdoor bath that offers nice views of the shrine and the water fountain at the center of the lagoon.
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Getting there and around
Katayamazu Onsen is accessible by Can Bus (Umimawari Route) from Kaga Onsen Station. The ride takes about 80 minutes, and buses depart approximately once per hour. Alternatively, Katayamazu Onsen is about a 15 minute taxi ride (about 2000 yen) from Kaga Onsen Station.