Shizuoka Prefecture has many hot springs all over the prefecture, each with its own unique qualities, from the famous ones that have flourished since ancient times to the new ones that have been discovered in recent years. There are many different kinds of accommodation, from the luxury Ryokan inns that offer unparalleled hospitality, to the resort hotels and privately run guesthouses that compete on the quality of their cooking. Locations are varied, with hot springs to be found on the coast, in mountain valleys, in canyons and on the shores of lakes. Some locations are blessed with a view of Mt. Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, and Suruga Bay, the deepest bay. All of these characteristics make Shizuoka Prefecture a veritable “hot spring heaven.”
Allow us to introduce you to the hot springs and related facilities dotting “hot spring heaven” Shizuoka Prefecture, region by region. No matter what kind of journey you’re on, whether a special trip with someone dear to you, a family trip, a girls’ trip, or a solo trip, we are sure you will be fully satisfied with your hot spring experience.
Hot springs in the Izu region
Blessed with abundant nature, beautiful landscapes that change with the seasons, and countless hot springs, each with their own characteristics, the Izu region is a popular hot spring area known to be one of the best in the country. As there are so many hot springs in Izu, we will break it down into the four sub-regions of eastern Izu, southern Izu, western Izu and central Izu.
Facing Sagami Bay and easily accessible from the Tokyo Metropolitan Area, eastern Izu is home to a great number of historically significant and popular hot springs. First among these is Atami Onsen, which is famous for its summer and winter fireworks displays, but also because there is a record of Tokugawa Ieyasu having stayed there with his vassals. Next, there is Ito Onsen, which is said to have flourished during the Edo Period as a spa and boasts one of the richest springs in Japan, producing an abundance of spring water. Situated on a cape jutting out from the eastern coast is Inatori Onsen, where in addition to enjoying stunning views of the sea, one can also experience traditional events such as the Hanging Doll Festival. Finally we come to Kawazu Nanadaru Onsen with its famous sightseeing spots like Kawazu Nanadaru, which offers stunning views through all four seasons, such as of its seven waterfalls or the early-blooming Kawazuzakura cherry blossoms.
Located at the southern tip of the Izu Peninsula, southern Izu has both hotels that offer a resort atmosphere and quiet hot spring inns surrounded by lush greenery. Here you can find Akazawa Onsen, where you can enjoy a spectacular view from an outdoor hot spring bath that appears to have joined with the sea. From Yumigahama Onsen, you can take a bath with a view of Yumigahama, which literally means, “bow beach.” As the name suggests, this beautiful, white sand beach stretches out for 1.3 km in the shape of a bow. Next, we come to Rendaiji Onsen, which sits on the banks of a mountain stream in a quiet hot spring town that has been referred to as the “inner sanctuary” of Shimoda City. If you leave Shimoda and head toward Mt. Amagi, you will find Kannon Onsen deep within the mountains. It is known for the excellent quality of its strong alkaline spring water, which you can savor as it soaks into your skin.
Located along Suruga Bay, western Izu has not only sophisticated traditional Ryokan inns that boast spectacular open-air baths with a view of the varied and dynamic coastline and sunsets over the sea, but also many small inns and guest houses that focus on serving specialty dishes with fresh seafood from local fishing ports. Situated on the Toi coast, Toi Onsen is the oldest hot spring on the western coast of Izu, and is lined with Ryokan and guesthouses of all sizes. Two of the popular ones are Dogashima Onsen, which is known for its beautifying effects on the skin and its view of the scenic island Sanshirojima, and Matsuzaki Onsen, which is famous for its sunsets, Namako-style walls, and the nostalgic atmosphere one can enjoy while strolling down its streets.
Moving on from Suruga Bay, we turn to central Izu, which is conveniently accessible by Shinkansen bullet train and dotted with atmospheric hot spring resorts situated along streams in the mountain valleys. Heda Onsen is close to the popular diving spot Osezaki. This hot spring is located in a quiet fishing port facing an inlet, and is famous for its gourmet specialties such as Takaashigani spider crabs, deep-sea fish, and Heda salt. In addition to Shuzenji Onsen, the oldest hot spring in Izu said to have been opened by the founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism Kukai (also known as Kobo Daishi) in 807, and Kona Onsen with its 1300-year history, there’s Nagaoka Onsen, Tsukigase Onsen, Sagasawa Onsen and Amagi Yugashima Onsen, whose inn has been visited by many literary figures including Kawabata Yasunari.
The Fuji area
To bathe in a hot spring while gazing upon Mt. Fuji… In the Fuji area, it is actually possible to enjoy such a luxury. We recommend the hot springs in Gotemba, the Asagiri Highland in Fujinomiya, and Subashiri in the town of Oyama. The neutral, alkaline simple hot springs give the skin a mellow texture, and can be enjoyed by bathers of all ages. The day trip hot spring resort Konohana no Yu offers open-air baths with a view of Mt. Fuji, as well as private baths that can be rented out. The resort is adjacent to Hotel Clad, which was built inside the very popular Gotemba Premium Outlets. The Gotemba Kogen Resort Toki no Sumika is a hot spring theme park featuring many different kinds of hot springs, including a “highly concentrated carbonic hot spring,” that is attracting attention in the medical field, and the “Dead Sea salt bath”. In addition to baths, the resort also offers lodging, restaurants, and all manner of sports and activities.
If you depart the Gotemba city center and head toward Mt. Fuji, you will come across Subashiri Onsen Tenkei, which is popular among families and includes a bathing area where men and women can bathe together (in swimsuits) so that the whole family can enjoy the view of Mt. Fuji together.
Hot springs in the central area
Not only does the central area have easily accessible hot springs located close to train stations, it also has unexplored hot springs hidden deep in the mountains. You can choose whichever you like, depending on your needs. Yaizu Onsen is not far off from Yaizu Station, and it is possible to take a bath in several places around the city in these hot springs that were originally opened during natural gas excavations. Here you can enjoy tuna, bonito and other seafood taken directly from Yaizu Fishing Port, which boasts one of the highest catch loads in Japan. There are also bathing possibilities with magnificent views of Mt. Fuji, Suruga Bay and the whole Izu Peninsula, such as at Hotel Ambia Shofukaku with its open-air baths facing Mt. Fuji.
Just off the Oigawa Railway that still services steam locomotives, you can find Kawane Onsen, whose sodium-chloride spring is effective against nerve pain, sore muscles and fatigue, and helps to beautify the skin. Adjacent to the roadside station stands the hot spring resort Fureai no Izumi, which literally means, “the spring of encounters.” The spring water flows directly from the source into the giant bath and hot spring pool, and it is the only resort with an open-air bath from which you can watch a steam locomotive going by.
Embraced by the gorges flanking the Oigawa River, the Sumatakyo Onsen is known in part due to its proximity to the Bridge of Dreams suspension bridge, which was once selected by Trip Advisor among the world’s “top 10 suspension bridges you have to walk across before you die.” It is also famous for its simple sulfur spring water, which is not only ideal for treating atopic dermatitis and muscle pains, but also for beautifying the skin. Even deeper into the unexplored areas of Okuoi you can find the Sessokyo Onsen, which is accessed on the Oigawa Railway Ikawa Line via the only Abt system train running in Japan. The hot spring is known for the mysterious train station Okuoi Kojo Station, which stands atop an island floating in the lake.
Umegashima Onsenkyo is located on the uppermost reaches of the Abe River, which flows into Suruga Bay. It is a collective name referring to the hot spring resorts Umegashima Onsen, Umegashima Kinzan Onsen, Umegashima Shinden Onsen and Konya Onsen. It is said that Takeda Shingen, a famous warlord of the Warring States Period (1467 – 1615), used these as his private hot springs, and they have long flourished as healing spas. These hot springs offer spectacular scenery in all four seasons, with a ravine in front that gives a view of the southern Alps, and the 90-meter-high Abe no Otaki waterfall close by.
Hot springs in the western area
The western area is full of various different types of hot spring facilities, such as day spas, Sento public baths and Ryokan inns. In the vicinity of Lake Hamana, one of the foremost large lakes in Japan, there are many hot spring resorts that offer magnificent views of Lake Hamana and the Enshunada Sea. On the eastern shore of Lake Hamana is Kanzanji Onsen, which was opened in 1958 and is therefore a relatively new hot spring. On the southern side of Lake Hamana you can find Bentenjima Onsen. With its 18-meter-high Torii gate standing on the beautiful, sandy beach, Bentenjima Onsen is known as a spiritual place, and like Kanzanji, its spring water is ideal for treating fatigue and nerve pain. Not only can you relax in hot springs with magnificent views, you can also enjoy some regular sightseeing. Just rent a bicycle and drop by several tourist attractions, such as Bentenjima Seaside Park and the Lake Hamana Experiential Learning Facility Wotto, where you can come into contact with the living creatures of Lake Hamana.