Historic hot spring bathing in healing gold and silver waters
Ikaho Onsen is a renowned hot spring resort located in the foothills of Mount Haruna in japan. It is famous for its healing gold and silver waters, which have been attracting visitors for centuries. The onsen offers a unique and rejuvenating experience, with its beautiful surroundings and a wide range of outdoor attractions.
The colors of the hot springs in Ikaho Onsen are truly mesmerizing. The golden-colored waters, known for their high iron content, are said to be beneficial for the internal organs and have a warming effect on the body. These waters have been used for their therapeutic properties for centuries, and many visitors come to Ikaho Onsen specifically for their healing benefits.
In addition to the golden waters, there are also silver-colored hot springs in Ikaho Onsen. These waters come from a new source that was discovered only in recent years, adding to the allure and uniqueness of the onsen. The silver waters are said to have their own set of health benefits, making the bathing experience in Ikaho Onsen truly special.
One of the highlights of visiting Ikaho Onsen is bathing in the gold and silver waters of the different baths. There are several public baths and ryokans (traditional Japanese inns) in the area that offer these unique bathing experiences. The hot springs are known for their healing properties and are believed to promote relaxation and rejuvenation.
In addition to the hot springs, Ikaho Onsen is also famous for its onsen manju confections. These steamed buns are filled with red bean paste and can be found everywhere in the town. They are a popular souvenir for visitors and are often enjoyed with a cup of green tea.
Getting to Ikaho Onsen is relatively easy. The onsen is served by buses from nearby Shibukawa Station, and there are also highway buses that run from Shinjuku. From Takasaki Station, which is about an hour away from Tokyo on the JR Joetsu shinkansen, you can take the JR Joetsu Line to Shibukawa Station and then board a connecting bus to Ikaho Onsen. If you’re coming from Shinjuku Station, express buses are available and take a little over two hours to reach the onsen.
Once you arrive in Ikaho Onsen, you will be greeted by the town’s main attraction: the stairway to the heavens. These 365 steps lead upward about 300 meters to Ikaho Shrine, which is located at the top. The stairs were initially built during the late 16th century by the great military leader Sanada Masayuki to make the healing springs more accessible to injured soldiers. Today, they serve as a symbol of the onsen and a popular spot for visitors to climb.
Ascending the stairs is highly recommended as it offers a rewarding experience. After climbing the steps, you can reward yourself with a hot soak in one of the onsen’s baths. For the full cultural experience, you can stroll the town in a traditional cotton yukata, a lightweight kimono-like garment. The steps are lined with souvenir shops, lodgings, restaurants, and free public foot baths, providing plenty of opportunities to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.
As you make your way up the stairs, you will come across Kajika Bridge, which is one of the best photo spots in the town. The arched red bridge creates a striking contrast with the surrounding greenery in summer and blends in perfectly with the foliage in fall. Don’t forget to have your camera ready to capture the beauty of this picturesque spot.
Ikaho Shrine, located at the top of the stairs, is considered a “power spot” among locals. Climbing the 365 steps to the shrine is believed to improve your fortunes and bring good luck. Along the way, there are also plenty of places where you can make offerings and pray for specific blessings. However, be prepared as some of these places may lighten your wallet.
Ikaho Onsen has a unique connection to Hawaii. In the 1880s, Robert Walker Irwin, the Kingdom of Hawaii’s minister to Japan, built a summer home in Ikaho. To this day, the town holds a Hawaiian festival every summer to celebrate this connection. The festival features traditional Hawaiian music, dance, and food, providing a taste of Hawaii in the heart of Japan.
Aside from the hot springs and the stairway to the heavens, there are other attractions to explore in the area. The Hara Museum ARC is a modern art museum that showcases contemporary Japanese and international art. It is located near Ikaho Onsen and offers a unique cultural experience. The Ikaho Toy, Doll & Car Museum is another popular attraction that showcases a collection of vintage toys, dolls, and cars. If you’re willing to venture a bit further, Lake Haruna is known for its ice fishing activities, and the Haruna Shrine is a must-visit site located just a 20-minute drive from Ikaho Onsen.
In conclusion, Ikaho Onsen offers a truly unique and rejuvenating experience with its healing gold and silver waters. The onsen is not only known for its therapeutic properties but also for its beautiful surroundings and outdoor attractions. Whether you’re looking to relax and unwind or explore the cultural and natural wonders of the area, Ikaho Onsen has something to offer for everyone. So, why not take a trip to this historic hot spring resort and indulge in a truly unforgettable experience?
Address And Maps Location:
541-4 Ikahomachi Ikaho, Shibukawa-shi, Gunma-ken