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The upper reaches of the Tone River, which runs through Minakami-machi, play host to dams and lakes created through dam construction - namely Lake Fujiwara, Lake Dogen, and Lake Naramata. Situated in northern Gunma Prefecture, this region records some of the highest snowfall in the prefecture. The area is called Fujiwara because according to legend, the Northern Fujiwara, which was a local family ruling the Tohoku region, lived deep in the area's mountains after their defeat. The Fujiwara area is home to Yunokoya Onsen, Takaragawa Onsen, and Uenohara Onsen, each of which has its own special character.

Yunokoya Onsen - A place of many chartered baths

Yunokoya Onsen refers to a collection of Japanese-style hotels on the Kinone Stream, a tributary of the Tone River, and hot spring facilities around the Fujiwara Ski Resort that draw from the same sources as the hotels. Many of them are equipped with chartered baths, allowing visitors to enjoy large outdoor baths or en-suite indoor baths with family or friends.
●Access to Yunokoya Onsen:
20 minutes by bus from Jomo-Kogen station on the Joetsu Shinkansen to Minakami station, and 45 minutes by bus from Minakami station to Yunokoya.
The front of the Minakami Kogen Fujiwara Ski Resort faces Hotel Sunbird. This hotel is well equipped with a large jacuzzi (air bubble bath) and 11 different types of en-suite outdoor baths. The hot springs are the perfect place to soak and ease your tired muscles after a hard day of skiing and snowboarding. If you're staying at Hotel Sunbird, which is operated by the ski resort, you can take a courtesy car there from Jomo-Kogen station or JR Minakami station.
●Access to Hotel Sunbird:
Near the Minakami Kogen Fujiwara Ski Resort Iriguchi bus stop, about 40 minutes by bus bound for Yunokoya from Minakami station.
* Overnight guests can take a courtesy car from Jomo-Kogen station on the Joetsu Shinkansen, or Minakami station on the JR Joetsu Line.

Takaragawa Onsen, famous for its outdoor and mixed baths

Takaragawa Onsen is known for its outdoor baths and mixed bathing. These baths are run by Osenkaku, the only hotel in the area by the Takara River, a tributary of the Tone River. There you'll find four large outdoor baths on the opposite side of the river, three of which are mixed ones; the remaining one is for women only. Indoor baths are separated by gender, available 24 hours a day for overnight guests.
Surrounded on three sides by the forest, the outdoor baths face the river and are not fenced. The view changes every season, but a snowy hot-spring experience in winter feels the most special. Kodakara no Yu is the largest among the three mixed baths, at 330 square meters. Female overnight guests can take a mixed bath with free rental bathing suits to cover the skin for a greater feeling of security. Day-trippers can use the hot spring facilities including the hall used as a lounge and the cafeteria.
●Access to Takaragawa Onsen:
20 minutes by bus from Jomo-Kogen station on the Joetsu Shinkansen to Minakami station, and about 30 minutes by bus bound for Yunokoya from Minakami station to Takaragawa Iriguchi. Osenkaku is accessible by courtesy car from there. *There are two buses that stop at both JR Minakami Station and Takaragawa Onsen.
*Overnight guests at Osenkaku can take a courtesy car (reservation required) from Jomo-Kogen station on the Joetsu Shinkansen or Minakami station on the JR Joetsu Line.

Uenohara Onsen, a hot spring in a resort hotel

Minakami Kogen Ski Resort is surrounded by forest, and at the resort's base stands Minakami Kogen Hotel 200, which has its own hot spring facilities. This spring is alkaline with a high pH and water that feels creamy and soft. It's well known as “beautifying water” that makes your skin smooth and beautiful. Whether you're an overnight guest or a day visitor, you're welcome to take a relaxing dip in the main building's indoor baths.
If you're an overnight guest, you get exclusive use of the outdoor baths connected to the annex building. There are two outdoor baths: one with mountain vistas and another the looks to the forest. One is for men only and the other for women only; they switch daily.
●Access to Minakami Kogen Hotel 200:
20 minutes by bus from Jomo-Kogen station on the Joetsu Shinkansen to Minakami station, and 30 minutes by taxi from Minakami station.
* Courtesy buses for overnight guests run from Jomo-Kogen station on the Joetsu Shinkansen and Minakami station on the JR Joetsu Line. You'll need to book two days in advance to use the courtesy bus.
text : Chiho Kuriyama

Facility Information

Minakami Tourism Association

Address
1744-1 Tsukiyono, Minakami-machi, Tone-gun, Gunma 379-1313
URL
http://enjoy-minakami.com/en/
Notes
0 minutes walk from Jomo-Kogen station on the Joetsu Shinkansen

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