Best Springs in Japan: Hadano, Kanagawa Ranks No. 1 for Flavor
The water in Hadano City, the city in the western part of Kanagawa Prefecture, ranked in the list of Japan’s “top 100 waters” and also won first place in the “flavor” category among those 100 waters in a competition held in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the selection of the 100 waters. Here we are taking this opportunity to introduce to you some of the famous water spots in Hadano City along with some places of interest in the surrounding areas.
Why Does Water in Hadano Taste Good?
The geographical condition of Hadano City is the secret for the delicious water. Hadano City has the only basin in Kanagawa Prefecture, Tanzawa Mountains, the large areas of which in the north and the west makes a national park, and hills in the south stretching from Oiso into the city. In the land formed with sediments washed down by rivers from Tanzawa Mountains, rain water has been stored and became mineralized through long years and springs out from the underground.
Contamination of the underground water once became an issue but after the efforts for purification, it has become of such high and pure quality as to be listed as one of Japan’s top 100 waters. Many springs within the city provides sources of quality water to the locals.
Quality Water Enjoyable at the North Square of Hadano Station
As you come out of Hadano Station and descend the stairs, you will soon come across a fountain and stone statues as well as a public drinking fountain. The underground water is pulled up to be served as drinking water here. You can rarely find a railway station with a drinking fountain serving underground water.
Legendary Spring Water: Pure Water of Kobo
Go straight out from the north exit of Hadano Station, turn right when you hit Mizunashi River and walk for about 5 minutes, then you will come across a water spring in a corner of a narrow street amidst a residential area. It is a spring with a legend that it was once visited by Kobo Daishi (774 – 835), the famous Buddhist monk also known by the name of Kukai. Information: Map
The legend goes as follows: Once on a summer day, a travelling priest dropped by a farmer’s house and asked for a cup of water. But they unfortunately happened to have run out of water. “Please wait a little while,” said the girl of the house. Then she went out to a distance in search of water. She was taking a long time to come back. After a while, she finally came back with a heavy-looking amount of water and offered it to the priest. In his great gratitude for the deed, the priest stuck his tin cane into the ground to make a hole and told the girl “In three days, place a bottomless hand mill here. Then water shall spring out from the mill.” They did as they were told and actually found water spring out from the mill. In association with the story, people named the area “Usuido,” literally meaning “hand mill well” and later found out that the priest had been the famous Kobo Daishi.
A Spring in the Green Rich Mountain Road: Water of Gomayashiki
Gomayashiki is a common name for a place where priests burn wood and conduct religious training. The water from the spring here is said to have been used by priests for the purpose of purifying their bodies. The spring can be reached if you drive for about 30 minutes from Hadano northbound towards Atsugi, just past Yabitsu Pass. The spring is especially famous among other springs in Hadano and always visited by many people braving a long distance for the quality water. Information: Map
Yabitsu Pass, located near the water spot of Gomayashiki, is also known for its great hill climb courses relatively close to Tokyo and you can find many road bikers cycling up the hill on sunny days. The pass also makes an entrance point for trekking courses in Mount Oyama and attracts many climbers on holidays.
Shirasasa Inari Shrine: One of the Three Major Inari Shrines in Kanto
Shirasasa Inari Shrine is counted as one of the three major Inari shrines in the Kanto area along with Kasama Inari Shrine in Ibaraki and Shozoku Inari Shrine in Tokyo. The shrine site becomes especially busy with a lot of visitors on the first “horse day” in February (the traditional festive day of “Hatsu Uma”). Recently, it has also grabbed attention as a spot with a strong concentration of spiritual energy.
On the left to the shrine gate in front of the main shrine hall, there is a hand washing basin where spring water drips from a bamboo tube. Information: Map
If you go down through the woods within the shrine site, you will find a reservoir of Ikkanda spring water. The water from the reservoir was once utilized as the city water supply of Hadano City but is not currently available for use by general public.
Shirasasa Udon Noodle of “Tanaka” Produced with Delicious Spring Water
Whenever you have some appetite on your tour to go around the water springs in Hadano, Tanaka is a greatly recommendable place to drop by. If you take a shortcut from Shirasasa Inari Shrine, it can be reached in just about five minutes on foot. The udon restaurant resides in a renovated old farmhouse in the middle of a residential area. With many of the customers visiting here even from remote areas, all the six parking spaces of the restaurant are often occupied around lunch on weekends and holidays. Just beside the entrance of the restaurant is a water spring named “Shirasasa No Izumi,” where the local underground mineral water is drawn and stored.
The udon noodles here are produced with spring water and are highly popular among the locals. The photo shows “Special Udon,” the menu featuring ingredients varying by seasons, at the bottom and “Kamaage Udon” at the top. Oden here is also popular as a side menu.
< Opening Hours >
Daytime 11 AM – 3 PM
Nighttime 5 PM – 8 PM
Closed on Tuesdays
How to Enjoy the Water of Hadano More Casually
There is a great and more casual option when you cannot afford touring around the springs but still want to enjoy the water in the area. The bottled water named “Oishii Hadano No Mizu (Delicious Hadano Water) – Tanzawa No Shizuku (Drop of Tanzawa)” is available at the convenience stores in Hadano City. The soft underground water drawn from the springs in Hadano Basin is chlorinated for sterilization and dechlorinated before bottling.
Beside the places mentioned above, Hadano City in Kanagawa Prefecture has many other spring spots. In Hadano or elsewhere, it would be a great idea to try tasting water at many different places to discover your favorite water.