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Japan Travel Guide - Tourist Information - Hot Springs - Hanamaki Onsen-kyo
att. Hot Springs - Yamashiro Onsen
You are here: att.JAPAN > Travel Guide > Yamashiro Onsen
att.JAPAN Issue 50, January 2010

Yamashiro Onsen

Kaga Onsen-kyo area in Ishikawa Prefecture is noted for its fine hot springs, and Yamashiro Onsen is one of them. Yamashiro Onsen has a long history: more than 1,300 years ago, high priest Gyoki was on his way to sacred mountain Hakusan for training when he found a wounded crow, which cured its damaged wing in a puddle. He soaked his hand in the water and found it a hot spring. The crow was the legendary “Yatagarasu,” which is said to have been a sacred bird that led Emperor Jinmu.

Yamashiro Onsen is also known as being a hot spring that was loved by Kitaoji Rosanjin (1883-1959), a multi-talented person who was renowned as a painter, potter, calligrapher, lacquerware artist, cook, and gourmet. Rosanzin, who created some 200,000 pieces of pottery during his life, became interested in making pottery there and created works using Yatagarasu as a motif.

 “Soyu” is a symbol of Yamashiro Onsen. Soyu is a public bath which has been used since the time when each ryokan did not have its own bath. The Soyu building was re-opened in August 2009 and anyone can enjoy a casual soak in the bath here. Half-boiled eggs called “Onsen tamago”, which are made by soaking eggs in hot springs for eight hours, are sold at a Soyu shop. As many as 1,000 eggs are sold every day!

Ryokan, Japanese-style hotels, stand around the Soyu. Gensen Park adjacent to Soyu is a unique place in Yamashiro Onsen, and hot water gushes forth from the spring. You can enjoy soaking your feet in a foot bath with no charge, and the water from the source can be drunk. Of course, you should not drink too much. Drink less than one cup at a time, and drink it slowly as if chewing. Yakuoin Onsen-ji Temple was established by Gyoki for protection of the Onsen, and many mountain ascetics used to gather there as it was a training center for esoteric Buddhism.

The Hokuriku area, including Ishikawa Prefecture, is one of the most ingredient-rich areas in Japan. Here you can eat delicious Japanese food that makes use of fresh seafood such as crabs, northern pink prawn and yellowtails from the Sea of Japan, as well as vegetables and fruits from arable lands that have good water and soil. You can also enjoy golfing and skiing in this area, and it's easy to visit the nearby Tateyama/Kurobe, Kanazawa, Eihei-ji Temple and Tojinbo for sightseeing.



How to bathe in an Onsen

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