Escape to one of the most atmospheric hot spring towns in central japan
Located in Awara, northern Fukui Prefecture, Awara Hot Springs resort is a haven for those seeking the healing properties of geothermal waters. With a history spanning over 130 years, this hot spring town is renowned for its tranquil atmosphere and rejuvenating baths. Visitors to Awara can also indulge in the area’s local cuisine, including the famous Echizen crab and other fresh seafood from the nearby Sea of Japan. Additionally, the region is known for its agricultural produce from the Sakai Plain, providing visitors with a taste of the freshest ingredients.
Don’t Miss: Ashiyu foot baths, The Saintpia Awara public hot-spring baths, Yukemuri Yokocho food alley—especially Echizen crab in winter
Awara is home to several must-visit attractions. The ashiyu foot baths offer a unique and relaxing experience, allowing visitors to soak their feet in the natural hot spring water while taking in the scenic surroundings. The Saintpia Awara public hot-spring baths provide a more immersive bathing experience, with various pools and baths to choose from. And for food enthusiasts, the Yukemuri Yokocho food alley is a culinary haven, offering a wide array of dishes, including the famous Echizen crab during the winter season.
How to Get There
There are different ways to reach Awara depending on your starting point. If you’re coming from Tokyo, you can take a combination of bullet train and local lines or opt for an express bus and local train. Bullet trains from Tokyo to Maibara take approximately 2 hours and 10 minutes, while the journey to Kanazawa takes around 3 hours. From either Maibara or Kanazawa, you can then board a Hokuriku Line limited express train to Awara, which will take you approximately 80 minutes from Maibara and 40 minutes from Kanazawa. Once you arrive at Awara Onsen Station, it is just a short 10-minute drive to the Awara Hot Springs area.
Alternatively, you can take the Echizen Railway Mikuni Line from Fukui Station to Awarayunomachi Station. This route offers a more scenic journey, allowing you to enjoy the beautiful countryside as you make your way to Awara. Another option is to take an express bus from Tokyo Station to Fukui Station, which takes between eight and nine hours. From Fukui Station, you can then ride the Echizen Railway for 40 minutes to Awarayunomachi Station.
Awara Hot Springs has a fascinating history that dates back to 1883 when a farmer digging an irrigation channel discovered an 80-degree hot spring. Within a year, several hotels had opened in the area, attracting visitors from all over Japan. The geothermal waters in Awara are known for their therapeutic properties, particularly for conditions such as rheumatism and dermatitis. Many visitors come to Awara to experience the healing effects of these natural hot springs.
Perfect for Daytrippers
While there are numerous ryokan hotels in the Awara area, you don’t need to stay overnight to enjoy the hot springs. Saintpia Awara, located just a short walk from Awarayunomachi Station, offers a facility primarily for day visitors. For a nominal fee of 500 yen, you can access Tennoyu and Chinoyu, two of Saintpia’s bathhouses, and experience the soothing effects of the hot spring waters. If you’re short on time or on a budget, you can also visit the ashiyu foot baths near Saintpia. These foot baths are free to use and provide a quick and relaxing way to rejuvenate your tired feet after a day of sightseeing.
Intimate Dining at Yukemuri Yokocho
After a day of soaking in the hot springs, satisfy your appetite at Yukemuri Yokocho. Translating to “Hot Spring Steam Alley,” this charming food alley is located right next to the ashiyu foot baths. Yukemuri Yokocho is a small warren of food stalls, each serving up a different kind of delicacy. From kushikatsu (skewered meat and vegetables) to ramen, soba, and fresh seafood, there’s something to suit every palate. The intimate dining experience, with eateries typically seating around nine people, provides an opportunity to interact with locals and fellow travelers alike.
In conclusion, Awara Hot Springs in central Japan offers a unique and rejuvenating experience for visitors. Whether you’re seeking relaxation in the healing waters, indulging in delectable local cuisine, or exploring the charming streets of Yukemuri Yokocho, this hot spring town has something for everyone. So why not escape to Awara and immerse yourself in the tranquility and beauty of this atmospheric destination?
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