Part of the Iwami Ginzan World Heritage Site, to the west of the mining area lies the pleasantly old-fashioned onsen town of Yunotsu (ëĚÉ˛ĺ├). Already known as an area of relaxation during the Edo Period, today the town offers a couple of public baths, several ryokan and an attractive setting for an evening or morning walk through a townscape reminiscent of past decades.
The town's two public baths are:
Yakushiyu Public Bath
Hours: 8:00 to 21:00 (from 6:00 on weekends) Closed: No closing days Admission: 500 yen
This bath features one small indoor pool for each gender, featuring the local, mineral-rich onsen water. Visitors also have access to the building's resting room on the second floor and observation deck on the third floor. The historic building next door formerly served as the bath house and now houses as an atmospheric cafe.
Located on the opposite side of the road not far from the Yakushiyu, the Motoyu is even smaller and provides an authentic, old-fashioned public bath house atmosphere. The gender segregated bath house features two small pools with hot and very hot water for each gender and virtually no amenities. It offers a setting where visitors can interact with friendly locals while taking a nice hot dip.
The nearby ports of Okidomari and Tomogaura were used to ship away the silver from the Iwami Ginzan Mines. The ports feature Hanaguri-Iwa, special rocks that were used to moor boats to. These can be seen at Okidomari by taking a five minute hike around the bay. The narrow nature trail to the rocks starts at a little bridge that crosses the small creek on the right side of the dock.
The former roads, used to transport the silver from the the mining area to the ports, are now hiking trails. The trail to Okidomari and Yunotsu is 12 kilometers long and passes nearby two castle ruins, while the trail to Tomogaura is 7 kilometers long. There is a possibility of doing a loop hike as Yunotsu and Tomogaura (near Maji Station) are connected by the JR Sanin train line.
Getting there and around
Yunotsu is a station along the JR Sanin Line, one hour by limited express train (approx. 3000 yen) or two hour by local train (1520 yen) from Matsue. The town center is a 10-15 minute walk or short bus ride (140 yen) from Yunotsu Station. Okidomari is another 15 minute walk northwest of the town center.
If coming from Omori Town, take a bus to Nima or Oda-shi Station and transfer to the JR Sanin Line to Yunotsu. With a good connection, the journey takes about 45 minutes via Nima Station or about one hour via Oda-shi Station, but note that the train and bus service in the region is rather infrequent.