Discovering The Latest Secret Hot Springs In Kanto Area – (Part 2)

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Discovering The Latest Secret Hot Springs In Kanto Area – (Part 2)

This bath at Hotel Hakuunso is a boric acid spring and its source is just beside the hotel. It is said that in the old days, boric acid was considered to be good for curing eye problems. So the villagers who suffered from eye diseases used to wash their eyes with this spring water. The hotel’s bath also boasts a gorgeous snowscape view.

To go to our next secret spa, take a 25-minute bus ride from Naganohara-Kusatsuguchi Station to Goshotaira Hot Spring. After alighting from the bus, you will have to walk for 20 minutes to the Hidden Bath. Be careful not to miss the signboard though, as it is sometimes covered by snow. Situated in Kita-Karuizawa, this direct hot spring was named Hidden Bath by the spring’s former owner. The modern structure houses both an indoor and outdoor bath. Enjoy the splendid winter view as you soak in the calming outdoor bath surrounded by lush nature.

After this, head to the Numada Okaya Hot Spring Fishing Moat Bath. It is located at a day spa near Numada Station. The owner of the fishing moat renovated her house and created the day spa called Kaneman Calming Center. This fishing moat hot spring has a mineral spring source. The water from the source is 15 degrees so it is heated up for bathing. It is rich in iron and visitors are welcome to drink the water from the spring source. In fact, many people bring along their bottles and take the water home. Interestingly, if you add a bit of tea to the transparent spring water, the water will turn purple!

From Numada Station, hop on the Joetsu Line and head towards Minakami. There is a hidden outdoor bath here which is located near a gorge. Opened about three years ago, the day spa, Hotokeiwa Hot Spring Suzumori no yu, commands a magnificent view of the gorge.

One can also find many secret spas in Saitama prefecture. We’ll first check out a truly unique spa, known as the “Ink Bath”, in Warabi-shi. Warabi Yamato no yu gushes from 1,200m underground and features water which is black in colour. From here, make your way to another bath, called Zuihouin no yu. Alight at Higashikawaguchi Station and walk to the Gardens Hotel, where there is the Bettei Spa Museum. The natural spring water here gushes from 1,500m under the ground. A hot spring facility next to the hotel boasts 12 baths which are separated into individual rooms. This facility is frequented by couples and families and its stone spa and mist sauna are popular. Guests must make an advance booking by registering as a member on the internet.

After this, hop on a train heading westwards and transfer to the Chichibu Railway at Yorii Station. Many hot springs can be found along Chichibu Railway. We will visit Chichibu Kawabata Hot Spring. Alight at Minano Station and walk to the Bon Bath at the Chichibu Kawabata Hot Spring Camping Ground. It is located near the Ara River, which flows to Tokyo Bay. The hot spring was discovered when the riverbed was dug up about 15 years ago to create the camping ground, but the Chichibu Kawabata Hot Spring Bon Bath itself opened five years ago. The source's temperature is low, so the water is heated to about 41 degrees.

Our next destination is the “Beauty Skin Egg Bath” at Kaoru Mineral Spring in Chichibu Kamiyoshida Hot Spring. Alight at Seibu Chichibu Station and take a bus to Ogano-machi. The journey takes about 30 minutes, during which you can enjoy the splendid view of the mountains. From the bus stop at Ogano-machi, take a taxi to Hotel Kaoru Mineral Spring, where you can stay the night. The hot spring hotel’s Egg Bath is named as such because of its strong aroma of sulphur. Check out the source of the spring water, which was dug up about 40 years ago. After soaking in the hotel’s Egg Bath, savour some local flavours by trying the popular duck hot pot.

The next morning, head to Kannagawa Hot Spring to check out yet another unique spa called the “Rice Fields Bath”. From Chichibu Line, transfer to the Takasaki Line and get off at Honjo Station. From the station, take a bus bound for Kami River. Later, from the bus stop, you will have to walk to Yugo Hakujyu no yu in Kannagawa Hot Spring. The spring water here is a turbid brown with a thick consistency. The deposits from the hot spring collect by the bathtub and floor, creating an image resembling rice fields. This outdoor hot spring is slightly salty, with a strong scent of sulphur.

After this, go to Tamagawa Hot Spring, which is popular among the locals. From Honjo Station, ride on the Takasaki Line, followed by the Hachiko Line. Get off at Myokaku Station and walk for about 20 minutes to Tamagawa Hot Spring. This spacious outdoor bath attracts about 700 visitors each day. Later, take a bus to the next hot spring, which is known as the “Textbook Bath”. Alight at Naka and walk through the Chichibu Mountain Range to Hotel Tokigawa in Tokigawa-cho. It serves only four groups of guests during lunch and dinner, serving delicious dishes.

If you want to know the secret behind the bath’s name, check out the high school chemistry books near the spa. Under the section on acids and alkali, Tokigawa Hot Spring is mentioned as the strongest alkaline bath in Japan. The spring was dug up 20 years ago and the bath draws water directly from the source. With a pH of 11.3, the water is touted to be good for your skin. After this beauty bath, end your trip to Saitama prefecture by enjoying a healthy feast of dishes featuring medicinal herbs.


THIS WEEK'S TIPS:

  • You can drink the water from Numada Okaya Hot Spring Fishing Moat Bath’s spring source
  • Spa facilities in certain areas require you to make a booking in advance

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