Walking around Yamanaka Onsen

Only 30 minutes by bus from Kaga Onsen Station, Yamanaka Onsen lies in a peaceful valley on the banks of a river flowing down in cascades from the mountains nearby. In addition to the charming Kakusenkei promenade that offers exquisite scenic views at every season, Yamanaka Onsen has managed to preserve the typical atmosphere of remote hot spring towns as much as a long-lasting excellence in performing arts and fine crafts.

JR Kaga Onsen Station

Bus 30 min. (fee ¥420)

Yamanaka Onsen Bus terminal

Walk 5 min. (400m)

Kiku no Yu public bathhouse

Yamanaka Onsen’s hot springs were discovered some 1300 years ago and never have ceased to attract many famed visitors ever since. One of them was the illustrious poet Matsuo Basho who celebrated the rejuvenating properties of Yamanaka Onsen’s waters in a famous haiku, likening them to the chrysanthemum flower, a well-known symbol of eternity according to Chinese folklore. The very name of Yamanaka Onsen’s public bathhouse, “Kikunoyu” (chrysanthemum hot spring) commemorates this belief as well as the poet's blissful words. Containing a high rate of sulfate, Yamanaka Onsen’s hot spring has noted skin moisturizing properties. Baths for men and women are in two elegant buildings facing each other. The men’s bath displays an interesting narrative illustration of the hot spring’s history.

Walk 1 min.

Yamanakaza

Adjacent to the ladies’ bathhouse, Yamanakaza is the town’s theater: an elegant building with lattice walls and lacquered pillars. The ceiling’s very detailed lacquer motifs and designs, created by some of the area’s finest craftsmen are particularly noteworthy. Traditional geisha dance performances are held on stage twice a day on Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays.
A tourism information booth welcomes visitors at the entrance of the building.

Walk 1 min.

Yuge Kaido Street

Yuge Kaido is Yamanaka Onsen’s main street. Filled with cafés, restaurants and galleries displaying local crafts such as lacquerware and ceramics on both sides, this elegant and flowery street has managed to preserve the lively atmosphere of typical Japanese hot spring towns.

Walk 5 min. from Yamanakaza

Ayatori Bridge

Crossing the river half-way along the Kakusenkei Gorge with impressive twists and turns, this strikingly modern bridge was designed by the late Hiroshi Teshigahara, a famous ikebana master and a noted avant-garde movie director in the West. The artist has explained that this vividly colored bridge was an attempt to “arrange” the flowers below. The Ayatori Bridge offers a commanding view over the gorge and is indeed one of the best photography spots to enjoy in Yamanaka Onsen.

Walk 3 min.

Kakusenkei Kawadoko riverside café

Close to the Ayatori Bridge, Kawadoko is a popular terrace café installed beside the clear waters flowing down through the Kakusenkei Gorge. Set half-way through the promenade, this is the perfect place to stop by to relax and enjoy a few minutes in quiet and colorful surroundings.
Operating on clear days and open from April to October, the Kawadoko riverside café welcomes you with a cup of tea and Japanese sweets.

Walk 20 min.

Korogi Bridge

At the end of the Kakusenkei Gorge strolling path, this is the furthest upstream of the three bridges that cross the Daishoji River in Yamanaka Onsen. The Korogi Bridge is often said to be one of the greatest spots of scenic beauty in the area. Built in the most traditional way using only cypress wood, the simplicity and elegance of its curves and lines are a perfect match with the surrounding natural scenery at every season.

Walk 3 min.

Mugen-an

This splendid samurai house from the late Edo Period was moved from Kanazawa to Yamanaka during the Taisho period (1912-1926). Mugen-an is a good example of western influences making their way into traditional Japanese elite mansions at the end of the 19th century. Showcasing the high level of the Japanese building technology at the time, Mugen-an has managed to conserve the atmosphere of the late Edo period. The small garden promenade offers another exquisite view on the nearby Kohrogi Bridge and the Kakusenkei Gorges.

Walk Cross the Kohrogi Bridge and continue on Yuge Kaido Street.

Basho no Yakata Museum

Three minutes on foot from the center of town, this quiet facility celebrating the brief visit of Matsuo Basho; the most famous poet of the Edo Period and a master of Haiku. Nearing the end of his life but still an untiring traveler, Basho roamed the roads of northern Japan, a journey which would give birth to his masterpiece: “The Narrow Road to the Deep North”. This building recalls through many documents Basho’s visit while displaying fine works from local Yamanaka lacquerware artists.

Walk 7 min.

Yamanaka Onsen Bus terminal

Bus 30 min. (fee ¥420)

JR Kaga Onsen Station