Okuhida is famous for its hot springs, and especially so for its rotemburo (outdoor baths) with views of the surrounding Northern Japan Alps. Five onsen towns have developed along Okuhida's valleys, each with its own unique character and hot spring water, as they are fed from different hot spring sources.
The towns offer a variety of baths, many of which have both segregated and mixed gender bathing, best enjoyed by staying overnight at a ryokan with hot spring baths. Public bath houses and several ryokan also open their baths to non-staying guests during daytime for typically 500 to 2000 yen. Below is an introduction of each town and a short selection of recommended baths open to the public.
Hirayu is the oldest and largest of Okuhida's onsen towns and is said to have been discovered in the 1560s by Takeda Shingen's troops as they crossed through the Okuhida region. Today the town has many ryokan, ranging in size from small family run places to large complexes. Its hot spring waters are said to cure neuralgia, sensitivity to cold and skin disease. Hirayu is the regional transportation hub.
Shin-Hirayu Onsen is the second largest onsen town in Okuhida and lies on the eastern side of the Takahara River opposite Fukuji Onsen, at the base of Mount Yakedake.
Shin-Hotaka Onsen is far back in the valley at the base of the Hotaka Mountains, which contains Japan's third highest peak. Many of the baths offer nice views of the surrounding Northern Alps.
Fukuji Onsen (also sometimes written as Fukuchi Onsen), established about 40 years ago, is a relatively new onsen town. Yet this town has some of the more atmospheric, traditionally styled ryokan in Okuhida. While appearing quite old, most of the ryokan are relatively new, but are made from reclaimed materials from old farmhouses giving them a traditional, rustic feel. Some of the ryokan open up their baths to day trip visitors, and there is also a small morning market held in the town.
This town is comprised mainly of small minshuku that are not of much interest to day trip bathers as their baths are generally only open to their staying guests; however, the minshuku are some of the more economical places to stay when visiting the region.
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