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Japan Travel Guide - Tourist Information - Hot Springs - Gero Onsen
att. Hot Springs - Gero Onsen
You are here: att.JAPAN > Travel Guide > Gero Onsen
att.JAPAN Issue 36, September 2007

Gero Onsen

map Gero Onsen is one of Japan's three finest hot springs along with Kusatsu and Arima and is located in Gero City, Gifu Prefecture. It is located in the center of the archipelago and is surrounded by the over 1,000 meter-high Hida mountain range. The area has a more than 1,000-year history as an old hot spring resort and is renowned for its therapeutic baths.

Legend says that a long time ago Gero hot spring was abundant with water, gaining popularity amongst the local people. However, all of a sudden the water completely stopped flowing from the source and this discouraged all the people in the village. One day then, an egret landed on the bank of Hida River and stood still day after day. A villager was so curious and he came to investigate and noticed that hot spring water was gushing out of the ground. The egret is thought to be the personification of Yakushi Nyorai the healing Buddha.

The transparent water retains a faint scent unique to this hot spring and the water feels silky to touch. The water from this spring is named "water of health" or "water of beauty" because it is said that the hot water promotes blood circulation, relieving fatigue and leaving the skin smooth.

Besides Gero Onsen, there are several other hot springs dotted around the town, such as Osaka Onsen-go, Mazegawa Onsen, Hidagawa Onsen. Yuya Onsen, one of the Osaka Onsen-go, is said to have medicinal effects in treating gastrointestinal disease when you drink the water from this hot spring. Depending on your schedule, you can easily plan an Onsen tour of the local area.

Fishing is also available year round along the Hida River with Ayu (sweet fish) and trout fishing competitions held every year, this attracts many tourists. To visit Gero Onsen hot spring town, take the JR Takayama Line train from Nagoya to Gero Station by limited express train. The journey is approximately one hour and a half by train.

 Sightseeing Places around Gero
Shirakawa-go
UNESCO designated gassho-zukuri houses, or thatched-roof houses, in Shirakawa-go as a world heritage site in 1995. Approximately 110 of the houses still remain in the village. The houses unique architectural style was developed to protect buildings from heavy snowfalls in winter. The area boasts cherry blossoms in spring and picturesque snow covered scenery in winter. Traditional festivals like a rice-planting festival are also attracting locals and tourists alike. You can enjoy the local scenery and visit museums in the village.

From JR Gero Station to JR Takayama Station is approximately 1 hour by JR Takayama Line. From JR Takayama Station to Shirakawa-go is approximately 1 hour and 40 mins by Nohi bus. (Reservations are required).

Ukai on Nagara River
You can enjoy seeing Ukai (cormorant fishing), which has a 1,300-year old history, on Nagara River every night between May 11th and October 15th. The only exception is on nights of the harvest moon or when water levels are too high. Six boats float down the river at 7.30 pm, lighting the river with braziers on the bow of each boat. Twelve "u", which are cormorants are controlled by six fishermen that are dressed in traditional garb, the birds dive and catch Ayu (sweet fish) one after another then return to the boat and the fish are collected by their keepers.

From JR Gero Station to JR Gifu Station is approximately 1 hour and 30 mins or 2 hours by JR Takayama Line. From JR Gifu Station to Nagara-bashi stop is approximately 15 min by Gifu bus.

Takayama
Takayama retains an old atmosphere of the past. The town has been prospering as a merchant center of the Hida region in Gifu Prefecture since lord Kanamori Nagachika, who was a retainer of Toyotomi Hideyoshi (feudal warlord, 1537-1598), built the town. The Takayama Matsuri festival in spring and autumn is said to be one of the three most beautiful festivals in all of Japan. Morning markets also attract many tourists to the area.

From JR Gero Station to JR Takayama Station: approximately 1 hour by JR Takayama Line.

Gujo-hachiman
Gujo-hachiman prospered as a castle town in the 16th century and even today preserves the old streets with red lattices and stone pavements. Yoshida River, which is a branch of Nagara River, flows in the center of the town. Gujo Odori (Gujo Dance) has a 400-year history and is held on 32 nights in summer, attracting many people all over the country.

From JR Gero Station to JR Mino-ota Station is approximately 1 hour and 30 mins by JR Takayama Line. From Mino-ota Station to Gujo-hachiman Station: approximately 1 hour and 30 mins by Nagaragawa Tetsudo.

How to bathe in an Onsen

 Links
Hotel KUSAKABE Armeria- a fresh surprise is always in store
Gero Onsen Yunoshimakan- established in 1931

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