4th day of my TOUJI trip to northeast Japan
I took the hotel shuttle from 不老ふ死温泉 (FURO FUSHI ONSEN / Immortal ONSEN) at 9 in the morning, and reached 新青森駅 (SHIN AOMORI Station) a little before noon. From here I would go south to IWATE Prefecture.
I took SHINKANSEN from SHIN AOMORI Station, and transferred at 盛岡駅 (MORIOKA Station) and reached 新花巻駅 (SHIN HANAMAKI Station) at 1:40pm. Then I took the hotel shuttle, and finally reached 藤三旅館 (FUJISAN RYOKAN) at 鉛温泉 (NAMARI ONSEN). Since it was very long trip taking 6 hours, I was a bit tired but it was a good time to think of various things on the way with viewing various scenery.
Related article about this TOUJI trip in winter: My TOUJI Trip to Northeast Japan in snowy winter
藤三旅館 (FUJISAN RYOKAN) is one and only RYOKAN at 鉛温泉 (NAMARI ONSEN) at 花巻南温泉郷 (HANAMAKI MINAMI ONSEN KYO), located on a hillside of 奥羽山脈 (OU Mountains) in 花巻市 (HANAMAKI City), IWATE Prefecture. It has been here surrounded by snowy environment for a long time since its opening in 1841. It is famous for its signature bath “白猿の湯 (SHIROZARU NO YU / White Monkey ONSEN)”, and what is special about this ONSEN is that its bathtub is hollowed out from the rock and super fresh ONSEN is springing out from the floor of this bathtub. The depth of this bathtub is 1.25m, and it is to bathe in with standing. This kind of “Standing bath” is quite rare. Although it is a mixed bath where both men and women bathe in the same bathtub, there is the time exclusively for only women.
Bathing in such a super fresh ONSEN which is just born is felt like something connected to the blessings of nature. You can take the power of nature and land to your body through ONSEN. It is also like hugged by warm water, and I was feeling like floating even though I was standing. Although I was a bit tired, it didn’t take much time till this floating feeling released me from the fatigue.
TOUJI YADO which keeps challenging
This 藤三旅館 (FUJISAN RYOKAN) is a very interesting RYOKAN, and separated into 3 parts; a traditional TOUJI accommodations, a modern hotel accommodations, and high class villas. Except for the private outdoor bathes of villas, all of ONSENs including 白猿の湯 (SHIROZARU NO YU) are freely accessible for all guests, regardless which accommodations you stay. All human beings are equal, especially when we are naked to take a bath. Taking an example of SENTO (public bath) during EDO Period, SAMURAI and ordinary people bathed in the same bathtub and they had a completely open relationship regardless which social class they belonged. This FUJISAN RYOKAN is also something which reminded me of this. Although the traditional culture of TOUJI is gradually disappearing at the present day, this RYOKAN is still keeping it and trying to evolve it with partially adapting the modern ways.
The entrance of TOUJI accommodations and hotel accommodations are separated.
TOUJI accommodations are full of Japanese traditional senses.
TOUJI accommodations has kitchen for self catering, as TOUJI YADO usually does. Especially this TOUJI YADO has a huge kitchen.
Hotel accommodations are modern taste. A beautiful YUKATA is also prepared.
Tea leaves are also served in the room. At the present day, many of ONSEN hotels only serve tea bags, and it is very rare and happy that tea leaves are served.
True quality ONSEN
Needless to say, this FUJISAN RYOKAN serves 温泉掛け流し (ONSEN KAKENAGASHI / Free flowing ONSEN directly springing out from the source) without any added water, added temperature, and circulation. You can enjoy as it comes with nature.
”白猿の湯 (SHIROZARU NO YU)”
The origin of this FUJISAN RYOKAN is that the ancestor of the owner found a white monkey bathing in the natural ONSEN to cure injury around 600 years ago. This is why they named their signature ONSEN “SHIROZARU NO YU / White Monkey ONSEN”.
This is quite a rare standing ONSEN. The depth of the bathtub is 1.25m. By bathing in it with standing, the water pressure comes to your whole body equally and it has a good effect for your blood circulation. The natural ONSEN is springing out from the floor of the bathtub so that you can fully feel the blessings of nature.
In addition to this signature “SHIROZARU NO YU”, there are 3 other nice bathes;
- 銀の湯 (SHIROGANE NO YU): A private ONSEN which you can reserve.
- 桂の湯 (KATSURA NO YU): A fine view indoor and outdoor bath facing stream
- 白糸の湯 (SHIRAITO NO YU): A partial outdoor bath with panoramic view of water fall
This FUJISAN RYOKAN is selected as one of the “新日本百名湯 (New Japan’s hundred best ONSEN)” and “日本温泉遺産 (Japan’s ONSEN Heritage)”, and it’s definitely worth visiting.
The best heritage of this hotel
The TOUJI accommodations of this FUJISAN RYOKAN is active on Instagram and there is an old lady at the shop appearing on it.
This old lady is the madam of this FUJISAN RYOKAN and who knows the history of this NAMARI ONSEN the best. I was also attracted by her gentle manner and cute smile. Chatting with her for a long time at the shop might be the best way to spend at this RYOKAN, and I did that.
Surrounded by cold snowy climate and warm people, I fully enjoyed the wonderful cuisines which warmed my stomach and heart as well as heritage ONSEN. Although I visited here in the deep winter, I felt much warmer than I expected, and released my stress and fatigue away.
If you have a chance to visit northeast Japan, this NAMARI ONSEN is definitely where I would like to recommend.
Official website of FUJISAN RYOKAN at NAMARI ONSEN: https://www.namari-onsen.co.jp/index.html
Related article of Day 5: Beauty of silence at historical ONSEN hotel, YUNUSHI ICHIJO
Related article of Day 6: White world with nothing but snowy mountain, ONSEN, and myself – 峩々温泉 (GAGA ONSEN)
Related article of Day 7: Encounter with warmth of people at this cold snowy place – 遠刈田温泉 (TOGATTA ONSEN)