At Tokyo’s westernmost mountain village Hinohara you will find “Janoyu Onsen Takaraso”, a good-quality hot spring inn with an ancient and honorable origin which is registered in the association of Japan’s secluded hot springs. The building is 300-year-old. Its main building is a thatched-roof house shaped like an old Japanese warrior helmet which embodies the spirit of Japan’s countryside.
The main building's history dates back to Edo period
About 2 hours and a half with a car from central Tokyo you will find the picturesque countryside landscape of Hinohara village. You won’t believe this is actually a part of Tokyo prefecture.
Takaraso inn in Kazuma district has a building with a history of over 300 years. It looks like the thatched-roof houses in Shirakawa-go from outside, but inside it’s slightly different. Originally silkworms were bred under the thatched roofs in Hinohara village, therefore several layers of roof eaves exist and the building resembles an old Japanese warrior’s helmet.
Janoyu hot spring heals even snake wounds
On the photo you can see the interior of the main building. The low ceiling and warm light will remind you of nostalgic village houses from your childhood.
At Takaraso inn you can stay overnight or come for a day trip. Order food and go to the hot spring. The facility passed the scrutiny of the association of Japan’s secluded hot springs, and that proves its quality. An old legend claims that a large snake once healed its wounds in the water of this hot spring.
The bath is surrounded by greenery
It’s not exactly an open air bath, but you’ll feel like in the nature here. This hot spring is located 650 meters above sea level and is surrounded by lush green which makes it ideal for those who want to be immersed in a forest. If you listen carefully, you’ll hear the sound of the singing cicadas and the murmur of the forest streams.
The water is rich in simple sulfur and is good for treating high blood pressure, rheumatism and exhaustion. The hot water will refresh your body and cleanse your skin. A day trip hot spring costs 1000 JPY.
The restaurant hall has a view to the valley
Takaraso inn boasts a spacious restaurant lounge. Large windows provide a good view to the greenery outside and the refreshing air feels great after a bath. Here you can stretch your legs on the tatami and enjoy a leisurely time.
Local healthy food
If you order the food before you go to the bath it will be served right after your return. When I went there the menu consisted of seasonal mountain vegetables, mushrooms, masu salmon grilled with salt and devil’s tongue jellies. The entire meal, which cost 2100 JPY, had also a vegetable dish of ingredients cooked in soy sauce and hand-made soba noodles. Healthy and pretty! You can order separate items too, not only set menus. The lunch is especially delicious when you’re watching the lush green of the trees and listening to the murmur of the river.
You can spend your time in many ways in Hinohara village: in the summer you can swim in the river or tour the waterfalls, in the autumn you can enjoy the autumn foliage, while in the winter you can soak in a bath and watch the snow or visit the frozen Hossawa Falls. This is a secluded place with a secluded hot spring where you’ll forget your daily worries and relax in the picturesque surroundings. There is no need for a prior reservation if you’re visiting on a day trip, but it’s good to inform about your arrival by phone.