“奈良田温泉 (NARADA ONSEN)” is called the “Seven wonders of ONSEN”.
One of the secret ONSEN places where ONSEN fans like me eager to visit is “白根館 (SHIRANE KAN)” at “奈良田温泉 (NARADA ONSEN)” in Yamanashi Prefecture. The mysterious ONSEN this hotel has is called “七不思議の湯 (Seven Wonders of ONSEN)” and attracts people with its high quality spring, which the color changes among colorless, green, and milky white. In addition, once you bathe in it, you will be surprised with its thick and smooth touch of ONSEN which is really good for your skin.
I had just stayed at “慶雲館 (KEI UN KAN)”, the world’s oldest hotel in Guinness World Record, located just 3 kilometers away from this SHIRANE KAN, and wanted to stay at SHIRANE KAN after that as well. However, the booking was already full, even though I had tried to book it 3 months earlier.
Secret ONSEN located deep in the mountains.
NARADA ONSEN is located deep in the mountains in Yamanashi Prefecture, which is 192 kilometers, 3 hours drive, away from Tokyo. There are one of the representing mountain range in Japan called “南アルプス (Minami Alps / South Alps)” in Yamanashi Prefecture, and “早川 (HAYAKAWA River)” streams through those beautiful mountains. You keep driving upstream along this HAYAKAWA River into deeper mountains, and you will finally reach to a village at the end. This is the village where this mysterious NARADA ONSEN is located.
The spring quality is alkaline / sulfur containing / sodium / chloride spring, and the water temperature at source is 49.8℃. Although the temperature is reduced for supply by heat exchange, it is “温泉かけ流し (ONSEN KAKENAGASHI / Free flowing ONSEN directly from the source) for 24 hours. Since it contains sulfate, it is very good for rough skin and skin diseases. Sodium and chloride spring helps your skin to generate a film and this functions to make your skin more moisturized. Although the same spring quality can be found at many other places across Japan, here is special because of its various colors and thick / smooth touch. That is why this ONSEN has attracted a lot of ONSEN fans.
A small hotel which only has silence and ONSEN at unexplored region in the mountains. They are not capable for a large group of tourists. 湯守 (YUMORI / General manager of ONSEN) as well as owner of this SHIRANE KAN likes to hunt, and some wild game meat dishes are also served here.
My only hope was “日帰り温泉 (HIGAERI ONSEN / One day ONSEN)”.
Since the booking was full, my only hope was to bathe in this ONSEN as an “One day ONSEN visitor”. After check out KEI UN KAN, I rushed driving to this SHIRANE KAN. It was just 3 kilometers, 3 minutes drive away.
However, I got shocked to know that they only accept “One day ONSEN visitors” during 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm!! It was 11:00 am I arrived here, and I could not wait till 2:00 pm because I had another plan in the afternoon. When I asked the owner, he told me that there is “女帝の湯 (JOTEI NO YU)” right in the back of SHIRANE KAN which has same spring quality and accept One day ONSEN visitors in the morning as well.
Bathing in “女帝の湯 (JOTEI NO YU)” at “奈良田の里温泉 (NARADA NO SATO ONSEN)”.
This JOTEI NO YU has the same spring quality with SHIRANE KAN, though the spring source itself is a bit different. I finally enjoyed bathing in this mystery ONSEN which is very thick and smooth. Entry fee of this 日帰り温泉 (One day ONSEN) is 550 yen for adult (junior high school student or above), 220 yen for elementary school student, and free for before elementary school. If you want to bathe in multiple times in a day, you can purchase “one day free pass” for 1500 yen. “女帝 (JOTEI)” in Japanese means “Queen”.
It is located on a hill right in the back of SHIRANE KAN, and you need to go up a slope which is a very good hike before bathing. It is a perfect-look 古民家 (KOMINKA / Japanese old traditional house), where has a small restaurant and rest area of TATAMI room inside. It is a kind of feeling like being at grandma’s house.
This JOTEI NO YU is also ONSEN KAKENAGASHI, and it is amazingly thick and smooth. Since the water temperature at source is not so high, it becomes the perfect temperature at the bathtub, and you would want to keep bathing long. It is just like bathing in a natural skincare lotion of hyaluronic acid.
Viewing a beautiful lake at the veranda after bathing.
縁側 (ENGAWA) is the Japanese style veranda which most of the Japanese old traditional houses have. Since long long time ago, people have spent their peaceful time with chatting, resting, and drinking tea at this ENGAWA. It is one of the most nostalgic items or places for Japanese people.
After bathing in this secret ONSEN, I took a rest for a while at this ENGAWA with feeling a comfortable breeze. The lake seen over there is 奈良田湖 (NARADA KO / NARADA Lake), and its blue color matches perfectly with the green of mountains.
NARADA ONSEN is such a secret place deep in the mountains surrounded by great nature. Why don’t you visit this hidden ONSEN?
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