- Hakone’s Oldest Hot Spring – Yumoto Onsen
- Get Breathtaking Seasonal Views at Tonosawa Onsen
- For a Hot 44℃ Bath Go to Ohiradai Onsen
- Discover Dogashima Onsen - A Hot Spring Hidden Under the Current
- For Nostalgic Scenery Go to Miyanoshita Onsen
- The Hot Spring that Bewitched Warlords – Sokokura Onsen
- Enjoy the Museums Near Ninotaira Onsen
- Kowakudani Onsen – A Soft Simple Thermal Hot Spring
- Kiga Onsen – An Edo Shogun Favorite
- Gōra Onsen’s Appeal is in its Many Spring Types
- A Tranquil Mountain Base Hot Spring – Miyagino Onsen
- Sengokuhara Onsen has Plenty of Sightseeing Spots
- Ubako Onsen May Help with Eye Disease
- Takogawa Onsen – The Miracle 17th Hakone Hot Spring
- Enjoy Views of Lake Ashi and Mt. Fuji at Ashinoko Onsen
- Ashinoyu Onsen - The Only One of its Kind in Hakone
- Named After the Hot Spring Mineral Deposits is Yunohanazawa Onsen
- Some Include Three More Hot Springs for 20 Hot Springs of Hakone
- Owakudani Onsen
- Kojiri Onsen
- Sounzan Onsen
Located in the western region of Kanagawa prefecture is Hakone, one of the foremost hot spring resorts in Japan. the area has the fifth highest volume of hot spring water output.
There are 17 hot springs in Hakone. In addition to the “Seven hot springs of Hakone” that were known since the Edo period, ten more were found between the Meiji and Showa eras during a period of hot spring development. The mountainous Hakone region has many areas producing natural hot springs, and as many as 20 different types of spring water can be found here. Each hot spring also has its own unique history, scenic views, and charming part of town.
Here is an introduction to the fascinating “17 hot springs of Hakone”. Be sure to check out the illuminating comments on each hot spring that Ms. Miyuki Uetake, an onsen expert and writer from All About, has shared with us.
With a 1,200 Year History Yumoto Onsen is Hakone’s Oldest Hot Spring
Yumoto onsen lies at the foot of Mt. Yusakayama, 100 meters above sea level. It is the oldest hot spring in Hakone, which was discovered between the years 721 and 748 AD.
The name of the mountain, Yusakayama, means “a steeply sloped mountain where hot springs flow.” Within the Yumoto onsen town that lies at its base, there are 60 old and new inns lined up along the Hayakawa and Sukumogawa rivers.
Access to Hakone Yumoto Station is simple. There is a train from Shinjuku or a bus terminal.
(Yumoto onsen is right at the entrance of Hakone, and its spring waters are mostly simple thermal springs that are clear, colorless, and mild.)
Tonosawa Onsen Boasts High Quality Springs and Breathtaking Views All Year-Round
Located 130 meters above sea level in the ravine between the Yusakayama and Tonomine mountains is Tonosawa Onsen. The Hayakawa river flows all around the hot spring, and depending on the season, luscious, verdant flora or the striking, fiery colors of fall can enjoyed here.
The water is gentle on the skin and is known to be great for skin care. Enter baths here with a view of the gorgeous natural scenery for a moment of to relaxation. Day trips to the hot spring are possible, so no need to worry about finding lodgings.
(The springs are mostly chloride and simple thermal springs that will improve circulation and warm up the body. The inns registered as Tangible Cultural Properties and historical ryokans line up to create a charming scene of nostalgic times. )
For a Hot 44℃ Bath, Go to Ohiradai Onsen
Ohiradai Onsen is located 330 meters above sea level and is a relatively new hot spring. The water here is highly moisturizing, great for the skin and effective in improving circulation. Another characteristic of this hot spring is that the water’s temperature is quite hot at 43℃ to 44℃. The quaint inns lined up in the town will make visitors feel as they’ve traveled through time.
Ohiradai is also known for its “Hime no Mizu(Princess Water)” spring. Taste for yourself the spring that has been a favorite of many famous commanders and even the empress.
(The famous Princess Water and the quaint atmosphere make this an attractive hot spring. The springs are mainly simple thermal springs and well-liked by many.)
Discover Dogashima Onsen - A Hot Spring Hidden Under the Current
Dogashima Onsen is surrounded by the Hayakawa mountain streams that flow from Ashinoko Lake. Located at the bottom of a deep valley, the hot spring is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.
The hot spring was opened by Musō Kokushi, a famous high priest of the Rinzai Buddhist sect from the end of the Kamakura period to the Nanboku-cho period. It is also the setting of the long mystery novel, “Aoi Byōten” by Seichō Matsumoto.
The only ways to get to Dogashima onsen are by cable car or ropeway. The hidden hot spring cannot be reached by car, train, or bus.
(Cable cars or ropeways are necessary to reach this secluded area that cars cannot reach, adding mystery to this hot spring. The chloride springs here are recommended.)
For a Blast of Nostalgia Go to Miyanoshita Onsen
Halfway up Mt. Hakone at 420 meters above sea level is the Miyanoshita onsen. It was discovered in the Muromachi period and became a popular hot spring by the Edo period. It was developed further after the port of Yokohama was opened. At the time, foreigners were banned from traveling freely, but trips to Hakone were allowed, so many foreigners would visit Hakone.
In the town, there are many buildings that retain vestiges of those times, including the Fujiya Hotel that was once a hotel for foreigners only. Come visit to enjoy a bath in this town that seems like a world from another time.
(There are many retro and historical lodgings in this onsen area starting with the Fujiya Hotel. Visitors can enjoy a warm, mellow bath from chloride springs that will keep the skin moisturized. )
The Hot Spring Beloved by Warlords – Sokokura Onsen
Sokokura onsen is located 440 meters above sea level above a river valley where the Hayakawa and Jakotsugawa rivers meet. Aside from being good for the skin and beauty, these hot springs may also help with hormone imbalances, burns, and cuts.
It is said that when Toyotomi Hideyoshi laid siege to Odawara Castle, his troops relaxed at Sokokura onsen. There are marks on the riverbed from the excavation done there to build a large stone bath, called “Taiko no Iwaburo.” The nearby waterfall shares its name and is called, “Taiko no Taki.”
(There are mainly chloride springs here at this hot spring the late Edo period. Scenery, which changes beautifully with the seasons, surrounds this secluded area deep in the mountains.)
Refresh the Body at the Baths and the Mind at the Museums in Ninotaira Onsen
Ninotaira onsen can be found 550 meters above sea level near the Hakone Open-Air Museum. The hot springs flow from the Ninotaira plateau, which was created from the legend of an Orochi, or large snake that lived on Mt. Asamayama.
The Hakone Tozan Line station in this area used to be called “Ninotaira Station”, but the name was changed to “Chokoku no Mori Station” once the Hakone Open-Air Museum opened. This is the closest station to the Ninotaira onsen.
The nearby Hakone Open-Air Museum is a popular sightseeing spot. If you have the chance, visiting both sites is recommended.
(This is a new onsen area that first welled up in 1963. The water is great for your skin, leaving it soft and silky with no need for soap.)
Kowakudani Onsen – Hot Springs, Fun, and Flowers!
Located 610 meters above sea level, Kowakudani onsen is a hot spring spot with ever-present clouds of steam.
With the Hakone Hotel Kowakien built in 1959,the first large-scale Hotel in Hakone, the development of the Kowakidani area prospered. Although While the hotel closed in 2018, there are now many spas, inns, and even a hot spring theme park in the area.
The spring water types are simple thermal, simple alkaline, and sodium chloride. These springs are good for healing sore muscles, cuts, and burns. Nearby are the Hōraien Gardens where 30,000 azaleas and satsuki azaleas bloom in the spring; in the fall, the autumn leaves may be enjoyed as well.
(Kowakudani had long been called “Kojigoku” or “Small hell;” the name was changed when the Meiji Emperor made an imperial visit. This is an area with large-scale spa resorts like YUNESSUN.)
Kiga Onsen – An Edo Shogun Favorite
Located 440 meters above sea level, Kiga onsen is the second oldest hot spring in Hakone. The hot spring originated from Kiga, a follower of the shogun Minamoto no Yoritomo, who fell ill and was completely cured in seven days after soaking in the hot spring here.
The simple thermal springs of Kiga onsen were clear, colorless, and gentle on the skin, gaining it attention as a spring of fertility. Today, the spring has mostly dried up so it is not possible to soak in its waters at any of the ryokans.
(It had been popular as a spring of fertility in the early Edo period, and its waters had even been sent as an offering to Edo Castle. Hot springs that are considered good for fertility usually are very warming and improve circulation.)
Gōra Onsen has the Most Spring Types in All of Hakone
Gōra onsen is located on the slope of Mt. Kamiyama, the highest peak in Hakone. There are five types of spring water here with different colors and effects.the pastel-colored hot springs, have positive effects on joint pain, high blood pressure, hormone imbalances, and gout.
You can find the hot spring at the last stop on the Hakone Tozan Line, the first station of the Hakone Tozan Cable Car, and a bus terminal of the Hakone Tozan Bus. The convenient access has made this area a base for many Hakone sightseers.
(There are five types of spring water here: acid sulfate, sodium chloride, sodium sulfate, calcium sulfate, and simple thermal. They each have different effects, so I recommend finding one that suits you best.)
A Tranquil Mountain Base Hot Spring – Miyagino Onsen
Miyagino onsen is located on the Usui road, the main route through the Hakone/Ashigara Pass of ancient times. The hot spring was opened in 1965, and today, there are many facilities here including the Hakone Miyagino Onsen Hall.
In this area are the entrances to the Myojogatake and Myojingatake mountains. Both have maintained hiking courses so visitors can enjoy a hike before washing up at the hot springs. The rows of cherry blossom trees on the Hayakawa river are a truly spectacular sight. The beauty of the branches arching over the river is a delight to see.
(The hot spring wells up from the base of the Myojogatake and Myojingatake mountains and the water is also used in the Kiga and Gōra onsens. The simple thermal spring is gentle and can be enjoyed by everybody.)
There are Plenty of Sightseeing Spots at Sengokuhara Onsen
Positioned at 700 meters above sea level, the Sengokuhara onsen is spread over the bases of the Hiuchi’ishidake, Kintokiyama, and Nagaotōge mountains. This onsen area is actually made up of five hot springs: Motoyuba, Tawaraishi, Sengoku, Shimoyu, and Kamiyu. In the beginning, spring water was pulled from Owakudani onsen, and the area developed as a bath resort. Today, there are hotels and boarding houses everywhere on this plateau.
The hot springs of Sengokuhara onsen are a cloudy white color. The gentle spring water leaves your skin feeling smooth and silky.
(The calcium sulfate spring is good for the skin and is popular with women. There are many places to sightsee here like a field of susuki azalea and the many museums.)
Experience the Legendary Ubako Onsen Hot Spring
Ubako onsen is located at 885 meters above sea level on the northwest side of Mt. Kamiyama, the highest peak in Hakone. It gets its water from a rocky spring. Mt. Kamiyama was once worshipped as a sacred mountain, and the onsen was a holy place. Even now, there are still some miniature stone shrines and temples.
Ubako onsen is said to help with eye disease. The hot spring makes an appearance in the novel, “I am a Cat” by Natsume Sōseki. There are simple thermal springs and simple alkaline springs. Besides eye disease, people also come to get relief from nerve and joint pain, and to improve circulation.
(A famous spot is the Shumeikan hot spring, that has the look and feel of the Taisho era. There is also a legend that Kintaro/Sakata Kintoki came here to heal his injured eye, which may be why the hot spring is said to be effective on eye disease.)
Takogawa Onsen – The Miracle 17th Hot Spring
Located between 725 and 900 meters above sea level on the western side of Mt. Komagatake’s base is Takogawa onsen. It was believed that no hot springs could flow in this area, but in 1987 a hot spring spouted up. It was added to the list of Hakone hot springs in 1993.
At the main Ryuguden onsen,visitors can enjoy the view of Lake Ashi and Mt. Fuji in the same frame. Nearby is the Hakone-en resort complex, which houses the Hakone-en Aquarium and Lake Ashi pleasure cruise ships. There is also an area where products of the traditional “Hakone yosegi zaiku” craft are displayed and sold. The Komagatake Ropeway is also available here.
(It is the newest of the 17 Hakone Hot Springs. The spring water contains a lot of sulfur and sulphuric acid making it good for the skin and for detoxing.)
Get Spectacular Views of Lake Ashi and Mt. Fuji at Ashinoko Onsen
Ashinoko onsen is located at the edge of Lake Ashi at 725 meters above sea level. This area has long been prosperous as an inn town for the Tokaido road. It started being used as an onsen in 1966, pulling spring water from other areas. In 2006, a hot spring began welling up from 1000 meters under the ground.
The only place where visitors can try the area’s own hot spring is the “Hôtel de Yama.” Views of Lake Ashi and Mt. Fuji can be enjoyed from the hotel onsen.
Nearby are the Hakone Shrine and other important historical spots.
(It is the second newest hot spring in the Hakone area. It first began by pulling spring water from Yu no Hanazawa and Motohakone.)
Ashinoyu Onsen - The Only One of its Kind in Hakone
Ashinoyu onsen is located 870 meters above sea level at the foot of Mt. Komagatake on the southern side. Here, there is a rare type of hot spring - the mildly alkaline sulfate spring. The effect is said to be beyond compare, and many people including Meiji Restoration loyalists have visited to be cured of their ailments. The hot springs also make an appearance in famous books like “Hakoneyama” by Shishi Bunroku and “Hakoneyama no Doitsuhei” by Arai Emiko.
The area also has many historical landmarks. There are the remains of a cultural salon where writers and artists gathered in the Edo period “Tokoan Kumano Gengon Kyuseki (Remains of the Kumano Incarnation Toko Retreat)” and a group of stone Jizō and Buddha sculptures that offer a look into religious practices in the Middle Ages.
(This onsen is the most high up of the original seven Hakone hot springs. The gentle, mildly alkaline spring water is said to help with chronic dermatitis since the Kamakura period. )
Named After the Yunohana Mineral Deposits is Yunohanazawa Onsen
Yunohanazawa onsen is named after the word “yunohana”, which refers to the flower-shaped mineral deposits that are formed by natural hot springs. There was once a valley in the area where the mineral deposits could be easily found, and it became the first place in Japan where yunohanas were gathered and sold.
Yunohanazawa onsen is located at the highest point of all the 17 Hakone Hot Springs. There is an amazing view of the Hakone mountain calderas, and on clear days, visitors can see as far as the Miura Peninsula. The spring water is a murky sulphate which is uncommon in Hakone. It will leave the skin feeling smooth while also encouraging perspiration and regulating body temperature.
(At 950 meters above sea level, it is the most high up of the 17 Hot Springs of Hakone. There are small steam eruptions all over as the many natural hot springs here flow up.)
Recently Three Additional Hot Springs are Included to make a List of 20
During the Edo period, the “Seven Hot Springs of Hakone” were known and now there are 17. However, in recent years, three additional hot springs have been included to make it the “20 Hot Springs of Hakone.” Let’s take a look at the characteristics of the three new hot springs.
Owakudani Onsen provides hot water to places all over Hakone
Owakudani onsen is a hot water provision center with no baths in the southeast area of Owakudani, the area with the most thermal springs in Hakone. It provides onsen water to places all over Hakone, including Gōra and Sengokuhara through steel pipes that have a combined length of 2,600 meters and a height difference of 350 meters.
The acidic calcium sulphate spring water heals cuts, poor circulation, and fatigue.
Relax after a hike at Kojiri Onsen
Kojiri onsen is located at the edge of Lake Ashi between 730 and 850 meters above sea level. Development of this area began in 1966 and today, five springs have been confirmed. The spring types here are calcium sulphate with low sodium levels and calcium sodium-bicarbonate sulphate.
Hiking is popular in this area, and courses to the south of Lake Ashi or to Owakudani are maintained. After a hike, the relaxing waters of the hot spring will feel all the better.
Made from the vapors of hell is Sounzan Onsen
At 1,000 meters above sea level, Sounzan onsen is located near Sounzan Station, a stop on the Hakone Tozan Cable Car and the Hakone Ropeway. This onsen was created by making use of the vapors of the active steam vents in the “Soun jigoku (Soun hell) area. In 1955, it began providing spring water to Gōra, then in 1958, development of the Onsen began in earnest. Today, most of the spring water is used in Gōra.
The spring water is simple thermal. The accessible location has attracted many more visitors.
Find the Perfect Hot Spring for You in Hakone
There are so many great hot springs in Hakone, it can be hard to choose just one.
Some may want to decide based on the sightseeing spots, others by the scenic views, and some may consider the types of spring water. The best way to know which of the 17 Hot Springs of Hakone is perfect for you is to come and try them for yourself!
（Top photo by：Hakone Yunohana Prince Hotel）
Miyuki Uetake, an onsen expert and onsen writer at All About
After working as an anchorwoman and reporter at a local broadcast station, she became a freelance reporter and a beauty journalist. While working, she would find and visit onsens whenever she had the time. She has visited over 1,800 hot springs in ten years. Through her work, she has become adept at finding hot springs good for the skin.