Shirahone Onsen (, literally "white bone hot spring") is a small onsen town in the Northern Japan Alps. The town is a loose collection of a dozen or so ryokan along the slopes of a steep valley, which lies near famous alpine nature spots such as Kamikochi and Norikura. Shirahone Onsen gets its name from its milky white spring water, which is nearly opaque with magnesium and calcium sediments and is believed to relieve gastrointestinal ailments.

There is one public bath in Shirahone Onsen. Furthermore, many of the town's ryokan open their baths to day trip visitors during the day for a few hundred yen. Among them is the Awanoyu with its large mixed outdoor bath that is often seen in tourist promotional materials about Shirahone Onsen.

The following is a selection of hot spring baths around Shirahone Onsen that open to day trip visitors:


Hours: 10:30 to 14:00 (entry until 13:30)
Closed: Wednesdays and Thursdays
Admission: 1000 yen

Shirahone Onsen Public Notemburo

Hours: 10:00 to 16:00
Closed: Late November to late April
Admission: 520 yen

Ratings:    best of the best    best of Japan    outstanding

Getting there and around

By bus from Matsumoto   (how to get to Matsumoto)

Take the Matsumoto Electric Railway from Matsumoto to Shin-Shimashima Station (30 minutes, 710 yen) and change to an Alpico bus to Shirahone Onsen (70 minutes, 1550 yen, 3-4 buses per day). A round trip ticket for train and bus is available for 3800 yen at the Matsumoto Bus Terminal.

By car

Shirahone Onsen lies a few kilometers off of National Route 158, which connects Matsumoto and Takayama. Alternatively, Shirahone can be access from Norikura Kogen via the Kamikochi Norikura Super Rindo, a former toll road that is now free to use.