Minakami is a popular hot spring destination with some rather famous baths, including outdoor baths with beautiful views of nature. There are over a dozen separate hot spring sources found across Minakami's mountains and valleys, around which resorts of various characters have been built.

Centrally located Minakami Onsen is a built-up town consisting of numerous big hotel complexes, while Takaragawa Onsen and Hoshi Onsen are lone, rustic ryokan isolated deep in the mountains. Worth mentioning are also Tanigawa Onsen, a small town attractively located in the back of a side valley at the foot of Mount Tanigawa, and Sarugakyo Onsen, a hot spring resort town next to Lake Akaya.

Hot spring bathing is best enjoyed by staying overnight at one of Minakami's onsen ryokan. Some of the ryokan also open their baths to non-staying guests during daytime for typically 500 to 1500 yen. Furthermore, there are a few public bath houses that are open to anybody.

Some hot spring baths around Minakami

  • Takaragawa Onsen••
    Daytime hours: 10:00 to 16:30 (entry until 16:00)
    Daytime fee: 1500 yen
  • Hoshi Onsen••
    Daytime hours: 11:00 to 14:00 (entry until 13:30)
    Daytime fee: 1500 yen
    Closed: Wednesdays
  • Yuterume Tanigawa Onsen
    Hours: 10:00 to 20:30 (from 9:00 July to October; entry until 20:00)
    Fee: 630 yen
    Closed: 3rd Thursday each month (or Friday if Thursday is a national holiday)
    The outdoor baths are closed every Thursday from 15:00 for cleaning
  • Mantenboshi no Yu
    Hours: 10:00 to 21:30 (entry until 20:30)
    Fee: 800 yen (3 hours)
    Closed: Tuesdays (except national holidays)

Ratings:    best of the best    best of Japan    outstanding

Getting there and around

The various onsen resorts are spread out across Minakami. The central town of Minakami just south of Minakami Station is known as Minakami Onsen, while other areas are farther away and can be reached by bus, taxi or car.

Minakami Onsen

Minakami Onsen is centered about a ten minute walk south of Minakami Station.

Tanigawa Onsen

Tanigawa Onsen is about ten minutes by taxi from Minakami Station in a side valley at the foot of Mount Tanigawa. The taxi ride costs approximately 1000 to 1300 yen one way. Guests staying at one of the local ryokan can arrange to be picked up from Minakami Station.

Takaragawa Onsen

Buses depart Minakami Station in the direction of Takaragawa Onsen every 2-3 hours. They stop at the Takaragawa Iriguchi bus stop (30 minutes, 1150 yen) from where a pick-up service is provided to the ryokan, 1.5 kilometers away. Alternatively, Takaragawa Onsen can be reached in about 45 minutes by car from the Minakami Interchange. Staying guests can also arrange free pick up from Minakami Station.

Sarugakyo Onsen

Buses on the Numata-Sarugakyo Line, stop at Jomo Kogen Station and Sarugakyo Onsen. The one way trip between Jomo Kogen and Sarugakyo Onsen takes about 30 minutes, costs 900 yen, and there are hourly departures. Alternatively, the onsen area can be reached in about 30 minutes by car from the Tsukiyono Interchange.

Hoshi Onsen

Hoshi Onsen can be reached by infrequent buses that depart from Sarugakyo Onsen. Take the bus from Jomo Kogen Station to the Sarugakyo Onsen bus stop (30 minutes, 900 yen, hourly departures) and transfer to another bus bound for Hoshi Onsen (20 minutes, 630 yen, four departures per day). Alternatively, the onsen can be reached in about 45 minutes by car from the Tsukiyono Interchange.

How to get to and around Minakami