Only 10 minutes by car from Kaga Onsen Station, with regular daytime bus connections, Katayamazu Onsen is set on the shores of Lake Shibayama. Its waters constantly changes colors during the course of the day. An impressive mountain range rises in the distance from lake’s surface, it is therefore especially delightful to visit on a sunny day. While relaxing and enjoying the great panoramas from different spots of the town, you will have the opportunity to get familiar with Katayamazu’s local folk crafts and culture.
JR Kaga Onsen Station
This strikingly modern glass building was conceived by Yoshio Taniguchi, one of Japan’s leading contemporary architects. The two baths, looking onto to the lake and the distant mountains or onto the forest are switched between genders every day.
At the end of a wooden pier stretching out from Yunomoto Park towards the center of the lake is Ukimido; a floating pavilion dedicated to a protective dragon god. Bathing in the lights of dawn and sunset or lighted up at night, it offers stunning scenic views all day-round.
Leisure boats departing from the pier are also available for daytime cruises (from April to October) and nighttime cruises (from May to October). As fireworks are performed every night in August, fireworks cruises proposed by some of the hotels are also very popular.
Located in the center of Katayamazu Onsen, this open-air footbath with a graceful park in the background is very popular with local people. It makes use of pure hot spring water with a high amount of chloride drawn directly from the source. Bathing your feet for about 10 to 15 minutes will warm you up to the core of your body, ease weariness, and make you feel refreshed and relaxed.
This red lattice-decorated house was built in 1920 and served as an office for geishas who would also practice their many arts there. Recently renovated, it now serves as a theater and a memorial place, exhibiting wigs and various objects that belonged to geishas.
- Akikozome dyeing
The Akikozome silk dyeing originated in the vicinities of Lake Shibayama and was named after the famous Japanese author Mrs. Akiko Yosano, who wrote a poem inspired by the lake. Akikozome involves mud from the bottom of the lake and green tea in the dyeing process. Besides the Akikozome hands-on (scarf dyeing/20 minutes), the facility also proposes a tofu making experience using Katayamazu Onsen’s hot spring water.
This museum is dedicated to the memory of Ukichiro Nakaya, a renowned scientist and essayist who was born in Katayamazu Onsen. Specializing in glaciology, he spent his life researching on the formation of natural snowflakes and developed a device to produce artificial snow crystals. A short movie with English subtitles gives precious indications about Nakaya’s achievements as a scientist. The museum also proposes various creative hands-on activities based on Nakaya’s experimentations such as creating diamond dust or making an ice pendant in the shape of a snow crystal. A nice café adjacent to the museum provides another nice view towards Lake Shibayama.
JR Kaga Onsen Station