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Myoko “Tour of Hot Springs and Waterfalls” Course

Myoko “Tour of Hot Springs and Waterfalls” Courseの写真
Type:
hiking Hot springs
Time Required:
5 h 20 min.
Distance:
19 km
Enjoy three waterfalls and local cuisine while touring six hot spring spots!

Course Outline

This course takes you on an enjoyable and enriching tour of hot springs and waterfalls in the foothills of Mt. Myoko, which is counted among the One Hundred Mountains of Japan. The white, cloudy water of the 1) Tsubame Onsen hot spring and the red water of the 2) Seki Onsen hot spring are collectively known as the “red and white hot waters.” Near Tsubame Onsen is So-taki Falls and near Seki Onsen is Fudo-taki Falls, where a Fudoson spirit, said to aid in preventing eye illnesses, is worshipped. You can walk or take a bus to tour six hot spring areas with diverse water types, including 3) Akakura Onsen, 4) Shin-Akakura Onsen, 5) Ikenotaira Onsen, and 6) Suginosawa Onsen, and then head for Naena-taki Falls. Imori-ike Pond is a perfect spot to take a break. Here you will find a walking path and bench that offer a view of Mt. Myoko across the pond, as well as a visitor center and a shop for food and drink. A gondola also operates along the course during the green season, letting you take a “stroll” through the air. Enjoying a relaxing stay at a hot spring resort is also highly recommended.

Highlights

The open-air bath at Tsubame Onsen and So-taki Falls, one of Japan's select 100 waterfalls
The open-air bath at Tsubame Onsen and So-taki Falls, one of Japan's select 100 waterfalls

The Ogon-no-yu bath (Tsubame Onsen)

In early summer, swallows fly about in this area that is blessed with majestic nature that changes across the four seasons. About 15 minutes from the hot spring spa town are two spots for relaxing amid nature: Kawara-no-yu and Ogon-no-yu, which are open-air baths distinguished by rustic beauty. Both are equipped with changing rooms, but only Kawara-no-yu offers mixed-gender bathing. Walk a bit further along the mountain path, and you will see the So-taki Falls, which have been selected among the great 100 falls of Japan.
* Open-air baths operate from early May to early November (bathing is free of charge).

Akakura Onsen, a historic hot spring spa town
Akakura Onsen, a historic hot spring spa town

The Nekorobi-yu bath (left) and hand bath (right) at Yu-to-Hana-no Koen of the Akakura Onsen

Akakura Onsen has operated as a hot spring spa for 200 years (as of 2016). It is a famed bath that combines two different water types. Its spring water drawn from Mt. Myoko is colorless and clear. At Ashiyu Park (foot baths) and at Yu-to-Hana-no Koen (foot baths, hand baths), men and women together can enjoy hot springs without having to undress. Shops with food and drink are lined up to offer tastes of the region, including souvenir shops handling plentiful local sake and shops specialized in onsen manju treats.
* Ashiyu Park and Yu-to-Hana-no Koen are free of charge. Ashiyu Park operates from late April to early November.

Naena-taki Falls, one of Japan's select 100 waterfalls
Naena-taki Falls, one of Japan's select 100 waterfalls

Bathe in negative air ions at the suspension bridge and scenic points!

Included among the select 100 waterfalls of Japan, this waterfall is located in the headwaters of the Seki River along the border with Nagano Prefecture. It delivers an impressive sight, flowing and falling like surging waves over a 55-m drop (about the height of a 20-story building). A rumbling sound builds as you approach the falls, earning it the alternate name “Earthquake Falls.” At the start of the walk are a cafeteria offering nagashi-somen noodles and a cafe known for its rich soft-serve ice cream.

Course Map

Myoko “Tour of Hot Springs and Waterfalls” Course

Course Time

Starting Point
1
Tsubame Onsen
20 min.
0.8 km
2
So-taki Falls (Observatory)
45 min.
3.6 km
3
Seki Onsen
65 min.
3.7 km
4
Akakura Onsen
10 min.
0.9 km
5
Shin-Akakura Onsen
40 min.
2.8 km
6
Ikenotaira Onsen
15 min.
0.8 km
7
Imori-ike Pond
60 min.
3 km
8
Suginosawa Onsen
65 min.
3.4 km
9
Naena-taki Falls
Terminus
*Course time and distance are estimates.