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Goin’ Japanesque!

Fujisan Ryokan: Tohoku Region’s Namari Onsen with 600 Years of History

Namari Onsen is situated in the middle of the Ouu Mountains of Hanamaki City in Iwate Prefecture. It is a hot spring that has been named as one of the “New Japan top hundred hot springs.” There is one hot spring inn in Namari Onsen. You can enjoy the hot springs either for a day trip bathing or staying overnight.

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Fujisan Ryokan stands beside Toyosawagawa River (Writer’s Photo)

Fujisan Ryokan is the only inn in Namari Onsen. When the ancestors were cutting the trees in Takakura foothills around 600 years ago, they coincidentally learned of the hot spring gushing out. They saw one white monkey that came out from a cave healing the wounds on its hands and feet in a fountain gushing from the root of a tree. It has been said that the ancestors built a temporary hut to build a natural bath. Later, a row house was built to convert to a public bath as a hot spring inn for the public. Currently, there are four baths in the building and all of hot water flows 100% directly from the hot spring source.

 

Access

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Namari Onsen Fujisan Ryokan is located in Hanamaki, Iwate Prefecture. Free shuttle buses run from Shinkansen Shin Hanamaki Station and JR Hanamaki Station at the following times.

Hanamaki South Onsen Village free shuttle bus:
 – Pick-up – 
From Shin Hanamaki Station 15: 10, 16: 10, 17: 10
From Hanamaki Station 15: 25, 16: 25, 17: 25
 – Drop-off –
From Fujisan Ryokan 9: 47

It takes about 60 minutes between Shin Hanamaki Station and Fujisan Ryokan.

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Big sign along the road (Writer’s Photo)

When you visit by car, it will be 19 km from JR Hanamaki Station and 27 km from Iwate Hanamaki Airport. Please keep an eye out to find this sign along Iwate Prefectural Road 12.

 

Onsen

A day spa is available in Namari Onsen. You are welcome to use the after-bath treatment area, relaxation area, medium hall and open space in the main lobby during the opening hours. The menu offered at the restaurant is also available for one-day spa visitors.

One-day spa opening hours: 7:00 to 21:00 (Latest admission is 20:00)
Fees: Adults 700 yen, children 500 yen

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Writer’s Photo

Going up the entrance and paying the fee, you will find the four guide plates of each bath in the front. Since each of the baths have certain times that are exclusively for men or ladies, please check to decide which bath you will start from.

1. Shirosaru no Yu (white monkey bath)

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The deepest artesian natural rock bath in Japan (Writer’s Photo)

Shirosaru no Yu is the bath Fujisan Ryokan is proud of. Clear hot water gushes out from the bottom of the bathtub hollowed out a natural rock. The depth of the bath is about 1.25m. It is a rare hot spring to bathe while standing. It is said that bathing standing up puts water pressure evenly to your whole body, which brings balance to your circulatory system, and is also effective to improve your blood circulation. This hot water is only for the purpose to enjoy bathing. Soap and shampoo are not allowed in the bath. The rule is basically mixed bathing, however, the following times are for ladies only.

Ladies only time: 6:00 to 7:00, 14:00 to 15:00, 19:30 to 21:00
*Closed Friday 10:00 to 14:00 for cleaning

2. Shiraito no Yu (white thread bath)

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Writer’s Photo

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Shiraito Falls seen on the other side of the window (Writer’s Photo)

This is a semi-open-air bath that allows for views of Toyosawagawa River and Shiraito Falls through the large windows when they are fully opened. Some part of the bathtub is shallow. You will be able to enjoy half body bathing. Please check the available times below since the opening time for gentlemen and ladies is scheduled respectively.

Opening time: Gentlemen 15:00-6:00, Ladies 6:00-15:00

3. Katsura no Yu (Katsura tree bath)

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Katsura no Yu will be available at any time during the opening hours as there is a bath for both gentlemen and ladies. Katsura no Yu consists of an inner bath and open-air bath. Toyosawagawa River flows right next to the open-air bath. Body soap and shampoo is offered at the Katsura no Yu.

First, please enjoy the bath after washing your body and shampooing your hair. After relaxing, you could move to Shirasaru no Yu of which entrance you can see on the other side across the hallway. The various amenities are available for you in the clean changing room of Katsura no Yu.

4. Gin no Yu (silver bath)

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Gin no Yu is the barrier-free bath room with less steps. It is also equipped with floor heating. You could also use this bath with your family and friends only since Gin no Yu is available to be reserved. The times available for reservation as well as opening times for gentlemen and ladies are as follows.

Times available for reservation: 15:00 to 21:00 (first-come, first-served basis for 50 minute periods)
Gentlemen only: 6:00 to 15:00
Ladies only: 21:00 to 6:00

 

Overnight stay

Overnight stay is also recommended for those who prefer taking time to enjoy all of the different baths. There are three accommodation facilities in Fujisan Ryokan which are the main building, annex, and the spa treatment area. The main building is the traditional Japanese-style built entirely of zelkova, the annex is modern Japanese-style architecture, and the spa treatment area is a wooden building like a grandma’s house in the countryside. In this article, we will introduce the spa treatment area among the three accommodations where you can stay at the most reasonable price.

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The entrance of the spa treatment area (Writer’s Photo)

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The second floor of the spa treatment area (Writer’s Photo)

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Guest room of the spa treatment area (Writer’s Photo)

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Large communal kitchen for guests staying at the spa treatment area (Writer’s Photo)

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A sample dinner for the half board plan (Writer’s Photo)

The budget plan that I chose this time (June 2016) cost 3924 yen for one night stay with two meals. Although the guest room I stayed did not have a bath and toilet inside the room, I was able to enjoy all four baths by taking time until the check-out time in the morning. Please remember that there are no shops including convenience stores around Namari Onsen. There is a small shop that sells commodities, drinks and souvenirs in the first floor of the spa treatment area.

 

Walking ahead on a quiet mountain road in the Tohoku region, there was a hot spring inn which has been kept like a treasure for hundreds of years. In spring, you will be surrounded by the fresh greenery; in summer, you can enjoy the cool comfort of the river sounds; in fall, the autumn foliage, and in winter the sight of the snow. How about spending a slow relaxing time enjoying these scenes along with the baths that are proudly designated in New Japan top hundred hot springs?

Related Articles: Recommended Onsen

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Mika

About the author

I live in Hokkaido. I love the great nature and seasons of Hokkaido, delicious foods as well as travelling. I would love for everyone to learn about the beautiful aspects of Hokkaido and the rest of Japan.

View all articles by Mika
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