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Après-ski leisure: Onsen

For Japanese people, skiing and onsen are a package deal. Famous as a country of onsen, Japan is said to have over 3,000 onsen resorts, and most of the ski resorts in Japan are adjacent to some onsen.
Hakuba Valley is one such snow resort with onsen, but there's something special about this place because there are several onsen sources around Hakuba with different water qualities. So when it comes to Hakuba's onsen, we're talking about the different colors, textures and effects from springs including Hakuba Happo Onsen, Shionomichi Onsen, Katakuri Onsen, and Himekawa Onsen.
Hakuba is home to many ski resorts and countless onsen. You can stay in one location and enjoy onsen-hopping, as if you're in several onsen resorts. Together with the fantastic view of the Northern Alps, the onsen in Hakuba will soothe your body and mind, offering moments of sublime luxury.

Bathing manners

Hakuba is welcoming more and more overseas skiers these days, and many look forward to onsen as well. Onsen are a unique slice of Japan's culture, and as bathing manners vary depending on country and culture, onsens usually have posters in several languages explaining the manners.
But it's not just overseas visitors who have to be considerate of manners. Japanese people, when there were no baths at home and everyone used public baths in town, naturally acquired manners to bathe without inconveniencing others. Now, however, people have developed different senses depending on their household style, generation and lifestyle, so what comes across as common sense to some people may not be acceptable to others. So if you are Japanese, check the bathing manners to be sure, so everyone can enjoy their onsen experience.

Great onsen for one-time visitors

Let's take a look at some onsen, with different water qualities, for one-time, non-overnight visitors. These onsen have unique health effects and great outdoor views worth checking out.

Kurashita no Yu, Hakuba Shionomichi Onsen

Kurashita no Yu is the source of Hakuba Shionomichi Onsen. It pumps up sea water trapped deep underground for over 25 million years ago by active fossa magna, from a depth of 1,050m.
The murky brown-ochre water tastes salty as it contains lots of salts. This onsen has only one big outdoor tub, but the high-quality water will warm you from within.

Tenjin no Yu, Hakuba Himekawa Onsen

Tenjin no Yu is an onsen inside the Hakuba Highland Hotel, half way up the hill on the east side of Hakuba Station, that welcomes visitors who aren't hotel guests. The onsen springs naturally from around the Himekawa River near the hotel. The water is gentle to the skin with its slightly alkaline quality. The hotel's pride and joy is none other than the dramatic view of the Northern Alps from the outdoor bath. The perfect location and onsen are simply mind-blowing.

Obinata no Yu, Hakuba Happo Onsen

This is the nearest onsen facility to the source, which is about 3km away on the route from Happo to Hakuba Daisekkei. The natural hydrogen onsen is closest to the onsen source, offering anti-aging properties. In winter (from mid-January onwards) you can enjoy outdoor bathing surrounded by snow. Obinata no Yu can also be rented privately during the winter.
text : Kensuke Itahara

Facility Information

Kurashita no Yu, Hakuba Shionomichi Onsen

9549-8 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun, Nagano 399-9301

Tenjin no Yu, Hakuba Himekawa Onsen

21582 Hokujo, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun, Nagano 399-9301

Obinata no Yu, Hakuba Happo Onsen

9346-1 Happo, Hokujo, Hakuba-mura, Kitaazumi-gun, Nagano 399-9301