Kaminoyama Onsen: Mild Onsen in an attractive castle town
Located in Kaminoyama City, Yamagata Prefecture and surrounded by mountains, such the Zao Mountains, Kaminoyama Onsen is ranked one of the “Ou Sanraku-kyo” (“three best onsen towns in the Tohoku region”), along with Higashiyama in Aizu (Fukushima Pref.) and Yunohama in Shonai (Yamagata Pref.). Also called “Tsuruhagi no Yu,” this onsen is said to originate from the time, more than 560 years ago, when a travelling monk saw a tsuru (crane) dipping its shank in spring hot water gushing from a swamp, healing a wound, and flying away. A rock in the town called “Tsuru no Yasumi-ishi,” the rock the crane supposedly rested on, and it is considered to be the birthplace of Kaminoyama Onsen.
The hot spring water at Kaminoyama Onsen is a clear, colorless, weak-alkaline water, which is mild to the skin of anyone, from babies to the elderly. The water also contains a high level of metasilicic acid, which is a component contributing to beautiful skin, providing resilience and moisture to the skin. Therefore, it is especially popular among women.
Blessed with an abundant amount of hot spring water, the onsen town has five public bath facilities and five footbath facilities. It costs just 150 yen for any one of the public bath facilities. The footbath facilities are available from 6 am to 10 pm for free. You can enjoy onsen in various ways at your convenience.
The area around Kaminoyama Onsen used to prosper as a post station in the Edo period (1603-1868), so there are still old samurai residences and storehouses here and there. If you go down Bukeyashiki-dori Street, you can see some of these remnants and feel the atmosphere of the castle town. Kaminoyama Castle, celebrated as famous castle in its time, now serves as a local historical museum, contributing to handing down the history and culture of the area to posterity. The view of the Zao Mountains and Kaminoyama City from the observatory of the castle tower is a must-see.
With relatively longer hours of daylight and a large temperature difference, Kaminoyama City is famous for producing delicious cherries and grapes. There are many fruit farms, with some offering a popular cherry-picking experience. Recently, the number of wineries is increasing, starting to earn a new reputation for the town as a “town of wine.”
At an onsen town suffused with nostalgic memories, enjoy your trip to visit onsen and savor the delicious gifts from the land.
Tokyo Sta. -> 150 min by Yamagata Shinkansen -> Kaminoyama Onsen Sta.
Kaminoyama Onsen Tourist Information Center
*The information herein is as of May 2021.