Shirahone Hot Springs In Nagano: Access And Accommodation

03.April.2017 | SPOT

What Kind of Place Is Shirahone Onsen?

Shirahone Onsen is located in Matsumoto city in Nagano prefecture. On the eastern side of the Norikuradake mountains of the Northern Japanese Alps, this hot spring is said to have over 600 years of history. Thanks to the combination of the minerals mixing into the hot waters, the springs turned into a creamy white color, giving this spring the name ”Shirahone Onsen” or the ”white bone hot spring”.

Legends say that ”if you bathe for three days here, you won’t catch a cold for three years”. The Shirahone hot springs have always been known to be good for one’s health and many have visited to cure their illnesses and injuries here over the centuries.

As a milky white hot spring surrounded by nature, there are plenty of fans of the Shirahone hot springs. In this article, we will feature access routes, the effects of the springs, as well as recommended bathing facilities found in this hot spring area.

Traits and Effects of the Shirahone Hot Springs

Shirahone Hot Springs

Photo courtesy of Nagano Sightseeing Information Center
The Shirahone hot springs are known for their white, milky waters. The water itself that springs up is actually clear, but once the hot water comes in contact with oxygen, the hydrogen sulfide and calcium dissolved in it react turning the waters white. Therefore, depending on the time and weather of the day, the color of the hot springs vary.

The spring quality is that of a simple hydrogen sulfide spring as it contains sulfur and carbon. Therefore, when you bathe in the slightly acidic waters, you will feel yourself warm up instantly. The spring is said to relieve chronic fatigue, stress, stomach problems and gynecological issues.

In certain locations, you are able to drink the hot spring water as well. It is also said that the waters from this spring will help digestion and improve constipation.

RELATED ENTRIES

  • The North Face and ANA Holiday Inn Resort Shinano-omachi Kuroyon to Co-Develop Mountain Resort

    14.November.2020 | SPOT

    The North Face is set to collaborate with ANA Holiday Inn Resort Shinano-omachi Kuroyon, which opened in Nagano’s city of Omachi in July, to develop a new mountain resort where guests can enjoy outdoor activities. The first part of the collaboration will see activities offered which have been made under the supervision of athletes contracted to The North Face. The activities will make full use of Omachi’s gorgeous natural environment which is surrounded by stunning mountains.

    The North Face has had a high affiliation with this region for a long time. The brand created an original uniform for the staff that work along Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route, a 37km mountain sightseeing route. It also opened the outdoor clothing and equipment shop The North Face Gravity in Hakuba.

     

    ANA Holiday Inn Resort Shinano-omachi Kuroyon, too, embraces the outdoors of this region as it sits embedded within the lush natural landscape of Omachi. It hails as one of Japan’s best mountain resorts which offers guests the chance a sojourn amongst nature. One of the brand’s concepts is cultivating real human communication which it offers through its hospitable service, aiming to increase the number of smiles to those who visit.

     

    The North Face x ANA Holiday Inn Resort Shinano-omachi Kuroyon

    The collaboration will see the two companies coming together to serve up a plethora of outdoor activities throughout the year to encourage more families to spend time outside. The hotel will offer equipment that can be used for the activities, and there’ll also be workshops for people to create their own items that can also be used. They will also work to increase sustainability with local businesses and groups in Omachi in an effort to revitalise the local region.

     

    Workation Plan

    The hotel is also offering a workation plan for guests to get away from the hustle and bustle of the busy city to work somewhere more quiet and peaceful. The plan takes into account well-being and is a way for people to up their creativity and motivation. Guests can work and relax at the same time with Wi-Fi and electrical outlets available as well as off-work treats like the open-air baths, spa, gym, and more. The hotel will also offer other plans this winter which include snow biking, family skiing, and more.

  • The Best Place to Gaze On Japan’s Night Sky: Sky Paradise Sea of Clouds Harbor in Nagano

    02.September.2020 | SPOT

    This autumn, the Star Village Association in Achi, Nagano is hosting the special limited-time event “Sky Paradise Sea of Clouds Harbour” from October 25 to November 23 which offers one of the best views of Japan’s starry sky and the sea of clouds of the far-off southern alps.

    The site is located at Ropeway Heavens Sonohara in Fujimidai Highland, surrounded by the bountiful nature of Nagano Prefecture. The 15-minute gondola ride is 2,500 meters long and takes you up to the observation deck 1,600m above sea level. Your prize is a view of the sea of clouds which stretches to the distant southern alps of Japan – truly is a sky paradise.

    The other prize is the starry night sky. This spot placed first in the Ministry of the Environment’s list of the best places to see Japan’s night sky. From here, one can watch the sky of twinkling lights change to warm morning light. During October, the trees and verdure below are dyed in the colours of autumn, and when November rolls around you can spot the snow-capped peaks of the southern alps.

  • Ra Casta Natural Healing Garden: Heal Your Mind, Body and Soul in Nagano While Staying Safe From COVID-19

    27.August.2020 | SPOT

    Ra Casta Natural Healing Garden in Omachi, Nagano, is open for business throughout Japan’s Obon season and is taking mandatory bookings to ensure visitors’ protection from COVID-19 while following precautions against the Three Cs as laid out by the World Health Organization—crowded places, close-contact settings, and confined and enclosed spaces.

    Ra Casta Natural Healing Garden is exactly what it says on the tin. It’s a place that embraces beauty and healing while incorporating La CASTA’s brand concept of “the life force of plants and healing.” Guests are invited to use all five of their senses to relish the natural wonder of the garden, with its abundance of plants and trees and natural waterfall which flows from the northern alps.

    The garden has its own “Healing Cafe” too which is an open-style cafe, allowing diners to enjoy the gift of nature throughout the seasons while enjoying a drink or dessert. A must-try during summer is their “Herb Cordial Lime & Lemongrass,” a refreshing herb soda that enjoy the sour citrus flavour of lime and the taste of lemongrass. There’s also the “Chamomile Milk” gelato ice cream.

    The garden also has its own aromatherapy workshop inside the La CASTA Factory where visitors can make their own blends of oils using different products and scents.

     

    What better way to de-stress during these turbulent times than getting close with nature in a safe, protected environment?

  • Tateshina Bamboo Grass Garden Opens 20,000m² Sasarikyu Garden For Free

    11.June.2020 | SPOT

    Tateshina Bamboo Grass Garden has is opening the Sasarikyu area of its gardens for free from June 5 to October 31 this year. The area spans almost 20,000m² and is home to an arbour and over 120 varieties of bamboo grass.

    Opening the gardens in June means that visitors will get to see the bamboo grass at its most beautiful. Tateshina Bamboo Grass Garden wants more people to enjoy the gorgeous scenery, and so decided to make it a free experience for visitors.

     

    It’s an opportunity to see the vivid green leaves of the bamboo free which, on a clear day, glistens brightly at the shine of the early summer sun. On a rainy day during the rainy season, it offers a completely different spectacle: the twinkle of the leaves as a result of the dew. In addition to the bamboo grass, rows of hydrangeas also blossom in the garden at the start of summer, and in autumn, the area takes on gorgeous red and yellow hues.

    Another charm of Sasarikyu is the tea ceremony arbour that sits amongst the verdure. This arbour, which was designed by Japanese architect Kiyoshi Yasui, continues the tradition of sukiya style of building known as sukiya-zukuri which was first established in Kyoto.

     

    Sasarikyu

    The Tateshina Plateau sits enveloped by the Yatsugatake, a collection of towering inactive volcanoes. In this expanse lies Sasarikyu, a botanical garden of kuma bamboo grass with over 120 varieties from both Japan and overseas. It is the only bamboo grass garden of its kind in the world and aims to contribute to the region’s culture by drawing out the unknown when it comes to bamboo grass.

    Bamboo grass area (13,200m²)

    Sasarikyu is not just a botanical garden. It is also home to the world’s largest tsukubai basin called Zuigetsusen, as well as an azekura-zukuri style statue of the god of wealth, Hashiri Daigoku. It also has Jōmonka, a style of building from the middle of the Jōmon period in Japanese history which has bamboo grass-thatched roofs.

     

    Sukiya Arbour Garden Area (6,600m²)

    The sukiya arbour was designed by Kiyoshi Yasui who helped carry out major renovations to the Katsura Imperial Villa, as well as helped dismantle and reconstruct two national treasures of Japan: the Joan and Taian tea houses.

     

    Another highlight of the gardens is an area where medicinal herbs area grown. The herbs there are ones mostly seen in Nagano Prefecture. It not only serves as an area with specimens of such herbs, but also offers gorgeous scenery too when the flowers bloom through the seasons.

  • Grapes For Wine Now Being Picked at Shiojiri Station’s Platforms

    01.June.2020 | FOOD / SPOT

    Shiojiri is a city in central Nagano with a population of 67,000 (as of April 2020). As a tourist destination, it’s a place that goes under the radar, but it’s actually home to the best quality grapes for wine in Japan, and also boasts 17 wineries (as of April 2020).

    Shiojiri is a place with many tourist attractions, such as the historical town of Narai-juku whose streets still echo the Edo Period, Kiso-Hirasawa lacquerware, the Hiraide ruins which are one of Japan’s three biggest ruins, Takabotchiyama which has become known for appearing in anime and Japanese drama series in recent years, the local dish “sanzokuyaki” (large fried chicken), and more.

     

    In 1988, the city of Shiojiri began growing grapes at Shiojiri Station to promote the city’s grapes and wine. It has gone on to become famous as the only station in Japan with grape production. They grow Merlot and Niagara grapes.

     

    The station encourages volunteers to help pick the grapes. The first picks of this year’s season began on May 29, and the efforts are being posted about on the city’s official social media accounts and website. The Merlot wine made from the grapes picked in August last year is also ready and will be posted about soon too.

  • Travel Virtually to Japan’s City of Komoro in Nagano to See Cherry Blossoms, Soak in the Onsen & More

    02.April.2020 | SPOT

    Komoro Tourism Bureau has developed the new “Komoro Tourism Channel” using Voicy, a news and media site which reports spoken information online. The channel focuses on the latest information with regards to tourism in Komoro, and focuses on the city’s many different hot springs.

     

    About Komoro

    Komoro is a city in Nagano Prefecture. Komoro Castle is home to Kaikoen Park, which was chosen as the 100 best cherry blossom spots in Japan. The city also boasts a wide variety of onsen (hot springs) which offer amazing views and numerous different bathing experiences. Komoro Tourism Channel covers all of this and more.

     

    Komoro is about 2-hours by car via the Nerima Interchange on Kan-etsu Expressway. It’s also accessible from Tokyo via car. You can also reach it in around 24 minutes from Karuizawa Station via Shinano Railway.

     

    Delivering the sounds of the relaxing onsen from Komoro

    Komoro has eight water sources which provide water to its hot springs. The city sits 1,400 meters above sea level, from which each of its hot springs offer breathtaking views. The podcast on the hot springs, which is in Japanese, lets you feel like you’re experiencing them from your very own home. More podcasts on Komoro are planned to be released in the future, and QR codes will be implemented are various hotels and tourist facilities in Komoro which when scanned will offer voice guides to those places.

     

    Komoro Tourism Channel: https://voicy.jp/channel/1074

     

    The Komoro Tourism Bureau is coming up with measures to continue promoting the city during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. As well as Komoro Tourism Channel, it is also releasing information on its website, Twitter page, and elsewhere.

     

    Kaikoen Park at Komoro Castle

    Kaikoen Park at Komoro Castle is a tourist hot spot in Komoro. The castle itself was chosen as one of Japan’s 100 most famous castle sites. It is also famous for the castle itself being situated lower than the town around the castle. Kaikoen Park was selected as one of Japan’s 100 best cherry blossom spots, where around 500 trees bloom Yoshino cherries, shidare-zakura, higan-zakura, and more through April every year. The “Komoro-yae-beni-share” tree is an endemic species of cherry tree to Komoro and has a deep pink colour. The park also has towering stone walls and is home to the the front castle gate.

     

    Komoro Castle Official Website (Japanese): https://www.komoro-tour.jp/castle/

    Komoro Castle Official Website (English): https://www.komoro-tour.jp/lg_en/

  • Starbucks to Open New Branch Along Nakamise Street in Nagano Near Zenkoji Temple

    20.March.2020 | FOOD

    Starbucks Coffee Japan is set to open a new branch in Japan on March 26, 2020. It will open along Nakamise-dori, a street that leads to Nagano’s famous Zenkoji Temple.

    It will open as the Kōshin’etsu region’s first Starbucks Regional Landmark Storeーa Starbucks branch unique to Japan that’s built as a symbol of that area which promotes that region’s culture to customers. They enable coffee-loving visitors to discover or rediscover the wonder of a region’s history, culture, craftsmanship, and industry, while building a connection with the region through those discoveries. The branches incorporate various local design elements into them.

     

    The new branch, called Starbucks Coffee Shinshu Zenkoji Nakamise-dori, neighbours the Niou Gate of Zenkoji Temple. It’s a place where you can sit down with a delicious cup of coffee and relax while feeling the history of the place. The coffee shop’s design and decor also takes inspiration from local history and culture, their concept behind “Busy and Quiet, Light and Dark.” It’s situated a little away from the hustle and bustle of Nakamise-dori, and houses two spacious floors.

     

    The sliding doors and skylight let in a soft light which also casts shadows in places, mimicking the beauty of shade found in a Japanese-style house. The ceiling and walls at the entrance are made from Japanese red pine, while the bar uses five different types of wood from Nagano Prefecture like hornbeam and katsura. The stone lanterns which were in the original building have been put at the entrance, and the great beams on the second floor have been left as they are. All of this preserves the feeling of the local region while small Starbucks touches are added here and there, resulting in a unique Starbucks experience.

  • SHISHI-IWA HOUSE in Nagano Prefecture Makes Travel + Leisure Magazine’s “2020 It List”

    06.March.2020 | SPOT

    SHISHI-IWA HOUSE, a “boutique resort” located in Karuizawa, Nagano, has made it into the “2020 It List” of American travel magazine Travel + Leisure.

    Travel + Leisure is a New York-based travel magazine. “The Best New Hotels in the World (The It List)” shines a light on hotels around the world that have newly-opened or have been renovated that year.

    The “2020 It List” has placed 72 establishments around the world in its ranking. Ten of these are located in Asia, with two being in Japan: SHISHI-IWA HOUSE and Aman Kyoto.

     

    SHISHI-IWA HOUSE opened in February 2019. Described as a boutique resort, this hotel was built by internationally-acclaimed Japanese architect Shigeru Ban who won the 34th Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2014ーthe most prestigious award in modern architecture. The unique hideaway blends together nature and architecture, and is built in such a way as to strengthen the bonds between people.

    The resort accommodation has two floors, and a unique structure which makes it look curved. It has ten individual rooms and three terraces. All the rooms enjoy a breathtaking view of the gardens which enjoy gorgeous scenery all year around. It’s home to over 250 trees, including cherry blossoms, maples, and evergreens. You can also see Mount Asuma from all rooms.

     

    Planning a trip to Nagano? Why not book to stay at this little hideaway?

  • SHISHI-IWA HOUSE in Nagano Prefecture Makes Travel + Leisure Magazine’s “2020 It List”

    28.February.2020 | SPOT

    SHISHI-IWA HOUSE, a “boutique resort” located in Karuizawa, Nagano, has made it into the “2020 It List” of American travel magazine Travel + Leisure.

    Travel + Leisure is a New York-based travel magazine. “The Best New Hotels in the World (The It List)” shines a light on hotels around the world that have newly-opened or have been renovated that year.

    The “2020 It List” has placed 72 establishments around the world in its ranking. Ten of these are located in Asia, with two being in Japan: SHISHI-IWA HOUSE and Aman Kyoto.

     

    SHISHI-IWA HOUSE opened in February 2019. Described as a boutique resort, this hotel was built by internationally-acclaimed Japanese architect Shigeru Ban who won the 34th Pritzker Architecture Prize in 2014ーthe most prestigious award in modern architecture. The unique hideaway blends together nature and architecture, and is built in such a way as to strengthen the bonds between people.

    The resort accommodation has two floors, and a unique structure which makes it look curved. It has ten individual rooms and three terraces. All the rooms enjoy a breathtaking view of the gardens which enjoy gorgeous scenery all year around. It’s home to over 250 trees, including cherry blossoms, maples, and evergreens. You can also see Mount Asuma from all rooms.

     

    Planning a trip to Nagano? Why not book to stay at this little hideaway?

  • Cosy Up in the Snow Huts This Winter at Hoshino Resorts KAI

    17.November.2019 | SPOT

    Hoshino Resorts is once again bringing its kamakura snow huts to two of its KAI hotelsーa brand of hot spring hotels. You’ll catch them at Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru and Hoshino Resorts KAI Alps from February 1 to 29 next year.

     

    KAI Tsugaru: Beautiful Koginzashi Stitched Lanterns Light Your Way

    Koginzashi is a type of sashiko stitch work famous in the Tsugaru region. Japanese kogin designer Iemasa Yamahata has designed 50 beautiful Kogin lanterns for Hoshino Resorts’ KAI Tsugaru hot spring hotel, which is hidden away in the town of Owani in southern Tsugaru, Aomori.

     

    When you arrive at KAI Tsugaru, follow the lanterns along the snow and you’ll arrive at the kamakuraーa type of Japanese igloo built in northern Japan for winter festivals. Multiple objects, big and small, have been designed with koginzashi, so guests can enjoy this beautiful art form.

    Cosy up inside your secret snow hut and enjoy some tasty chocolate with cute koginzashi designs made by a local Japanese confectionery shop. Order a hot cocktail too made using apples grown in Aomoriーa prefecture famous across the country for its apples. There’s a non-alcoholic cocktail option too.

     

    You’ll also find an original card game inside the huts created by the KAI Tsugaru staff. It’s called “Kogin Awase” and works like the card game Pairs. What could be better than sat warm inside an igloo, eating sweets and drinking while playing a card game?

     

    KAI Alps: Enjoy Life as a Yukinko Snow Child

    Turn back into a child and experience young life in the snow country of the Shinano Province (now Nagano Prefecture) with the Shinshū Kamakura Yukinko Experience.

     

    In the harsh cold and knee-deep snow environment of Shinano, people would take anti-snow measures by wearing things like the straw raincoat known as a mino, a traditional winter coat called a hanten, and other things. Guests can do the same and dress up to become a child of the snow, known as a Yukinko. You’ll forget about the snow before you even realise it.

    In old Japanese houses, friends and family would gather around an iroriーa sunken fireplace. You’ll find these dotted around the public space at KAI Alps too, where you can sit around and enjoy the crackling and warmth of the fire. There will also be hand warmers and shiruko sweet porridge too so you can rest assured you won’t go cold.

     

    Experience life in the snow at Hoshino Resorts KAI this winter.

  • From Wine to Hydrangeas Taste the Regional Shaved Ice Flavours of Japan at Hoshino Resorts KAI

    10.July.2019 | FOOD

    Hoshino Resorts hot spring ryokan brand KAI is offering guests the opportunity to explore different regional shaved ice desserts that are served with delicious regional syrups and toppings. Shaved ice is a traditional summer dessert that was even mentioned in the famous work The Pillow Book, which was written by Sei Shonagon during her time as Empress Consort Teishi’s court lady during the 990s and early 1000s of the Heian period.

    The concept of KAI expresses both originality and the thirst for experimenting to make something new. The event offers a range of original flavours, embracing the Japanese tradition of eating flavoured shaved ice to battle the heat of summer. From wine-flavoured shaved ice in Nagano, to Hydrangea shaved ice at Hakone, this is the perfect opportunity to try a range of shaved ice desserts that are full of vibrant colours. These regional flavours are sure to spark your curiosity for discovery in that region. 

    Wine Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Matsumoto (Asama Onsen, Nagano)

    The cone-shaped region of Kikyogahara, which is located next to Matsumoto city, is well known for its wine production. This area produces around 50 different kinds of Kikyogahara wine. The flavoured syrup for this shaved ice comes from concord grape wine sourced from Kikyogahara. Each porcelain bowl for the dessert is handmade. Customers can enjoy the smooth, rounded feel of the grape pattern on the bowl as they dig into their dessert. As the alcohol is burned out of the dish, even those who do not like alcohol can enjoy this mature dessert. From the carefully prepared wine syrup to the handmade bowl, you will be able to feel all the hard work put into the making of these luxurious desserts. This is the perfect way to cool off after a hot day.

    Hydrangea Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Hakone

    Due to the altitude differences at Hakone, you can enjoy the beautiful hydrangeas for an even longer time than other areas of Japan. There is a Hydrangea train (Ajisai Densha) that runs up the mountains providing passengers with the beautiful view of blooming flowers, creating the perfect summer memories. Observing the large groups of flowers in full bloom fills you with such a refreshing feeling. Their beautiful colours are expressed in the colour of this hydrangea shaved ice.  

    Strawberry Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Nikko (Chuzenji Onsen, Tochigi)

    Tochigi prefecture has been Japan’s no.1 producer of strawberries for 50 years straight. This shaved ice is served in a strawberry-shaped bowl and is served with sweet yet slightly sour strawberry syrup and a topping of bittersweet matcha sauce. Here, you can enjoy a cool evening up 1,300 metres high overlooking beautiful scenery from inside the establishment whose spectacular interior that boasts Tochigi’s traditional art of Kanuma Kanoko craft. 

    Tomato Flavoured Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Aso (Sonomoto, Oita)

    As tomatoes thrive during the summer, this tomato shaved ice is the perfect way to cool down. This shaved ice is sweet and slightly sour and the vibrant red colour is enough to refresh you. Tomatoes are low in calories and contain an abundant range of healthy nutrients. They are also high in vitamin C which is good for your skin and is known for helping prevent illness. Tomatoes are also a good supply of vitamin E, which is good at slowing the effects of aging. Take a seat on the terrace and enjoy your shaved ice as a refreshing breeze rolls by. This is the perfect way to enjoy a cool summer with a healthy and delicious dessert. 

    Neputa Shaved Ice: Hoshino Resorts KAI Tsugaru (Owani Onsen, Aomori)

    The Neputa Shaved Ice represents the Hirosaki Neputa Festival that takes place in the summer at the old castle town of Hirosaki. To represent Tsugaru Vidro coloured glass, which is an important part of Tsugaru culture, red, blue and green coloured jelly pieces decorate the top of the shaved ice. These colours also represent the vibrant colours of Neputa festival. This Instagram-worthy dessert shows off the best of the fresh colours of Tsugaru. 

  • Eat Snacks and Drink Sake in a Snowbound Tent Powered by an Electric Car in Nagano

    17.January.2019 | SPOT

    The Norikura Snow & Ice EV Snack event which began in 2017 is now being held for the second year in a row.

    This activity allows people to camp out in a tent deep in the snowy and silent region of Norikura Kogen. Snacks and sake are served on weekends. The tent is also powered by the Nissan e-NV 200 electric car which is both environmentally friendly and allows your tent to light up during the dark snowy evenings.

    Last year’s event was attended by many people from both inside and outside Nagano Prefecture, and it was particularly popular with those on their way back from ski trips. The activity ties in with the area’s new attention to night life. It’s a chance for both tourist and locals to come together and build closer bonds to the area.

    Enjoy a new outdoor winter activity lost in the snow in Nagano.

RANKING

  • DAILY
  • MONTHLY

FOLLOW US