The Ikaho Onsen (hot spring), which was established 1,900 years ago, has been favored by a great number of novelists and artists.
The name “Ikaho Onsen” is found in the Man-yoshu (The Anthology of Myriad Leaves), which is Japan’s oldest existing anthology of poetry, completed in the 8th century. Warriors visited Ikaho Onsen during the Civil War period in the 16th century while worldly-wise novelists and artists, attracted by the spa’s atmosphere and picturesque landscapes, have been enjoying long-term breaks here since the Meiji period ( beginning 1868) . Even today, many people visit repeatedly from all around the country to appreciate its charms.
Walk up 360 flights of stone steps wearing a yukata, along a street that overflows with onsen atmosphere.
Winding stone steps continue for some 300 meters from the entrance of the spa town. Ryokan (Japanese-style hotels), souvenir shops, food shops selling buns (which are Ikaho’s specialty), and traditional game shops are lined along the steps. At the top of the steps is Ikaho Shrine. The spa’s water source is located behind the shrine. Visitors can leisurely soak in an open-air bathing facility nearby, which is said to bless the bather with offspring . The stone steps are located in the center of Ikaho Onsen spa town. It’s fun to stroll about town wearing a yukata, or cotton kimono, and wooden clogs, which you can rent at ryokan . If you make a reservation in advance, you can invite geisha , wh o provide a traditional form of entertainment in Japan’s hot spring towns.
Kakaa denka: landladies run the ryokan at Ikaho Onsen.
Gunma Prefecture, including Ikaho Onsen, is famous for women of strong character who support their families and communities, and it is often said that the women wear the trousers in Gunma homes. The landladies of ryokan are no exception, and they underpin the town. They plan various events from time to time. When you stay at a ryokan, a landlady wear ing a kimono will welcome you ; this is another enjoyable aspect of visiting Ikaho.
Yumeguri : if you stay at one ryokan, you can see other ryokan the next day.
You can see other ryokan in Ikaho Onsen town between 10 am and 2 pm ; just ask at each front desk. If you get a stamp at each ryokan and collect seven stamps of different colors, you will be given a gift. Why not investigate the qualities of each ryokan in this historical hot spring resort?
Lake Haruna, where you can enjoy the landscape and hiking, is not far from Ikaho Onsen by car. Mount Haruna looks like Mount Fuji and is also called Haruna-Fuji. There are golf courses and ranches nearby. In Ikaho Town, you can enjoy trekking in Prefectural Ikaho Sinrin Park, and modern Japanese art can be seen at Takehisa Yumeji Ikaho Kinenkan (Memorial Museum), which comprises eight buildings and a garden built during the Taisho era (1912-1926) .
Mizusawa udon noodles: one of the three most famous noodle varieties in Japan
Take a trip to Mizusawa Kannon by shuttle bus and enjoy eating Mizusawa udon noodles . Mizusawa noodles, made from local wheat, have been a famous local food in the temple town of Mizusawa Kannon Temple for 400 years . These noodles are rather thin and hard, and are best eaten cold.
Three hours from Shinjuku, Tokyo, by express bus.
Express bus (Joshu-yumeguri-go) from Shinuku bus terminal is convenient for traveling from Tokyo to Ikaho. There are nine services a day, and a one-way ticket is 2,300 yen.
For more information about golf courses, ranches nearby sightseeing spots and local flower information, please contact Ikaho Onsen Ryokan Kyodo Kumiai.
|Efficacy||Neuralgia, chronic gastroenteropathy, cuts, burns, and others|
|Address||Ikaho, Ikaho-machi, Shibukawa-shi, Gunma|
|Link||Ikaho Onsen Ryokan Association (Japanese)|