There is a mysterious onsen that few know about. With no signs to the onsen many get lost trying to find it and only locals really go to bathe. This onsen is Togariishi Onsen and it is located in Chinoshi City in Nagano Prefecture. Even among us Onsen Sommeliers few of us ever have bathed there, and when I asked I found out it is an onsen with high concentrations of sulfate and it is continuously flowing fresh hot spring water into an outdoor bath. This time I am proud to be able to guide you around this high quality onsen set in the middle of the great outdoors. The fact that you can only bathe here only on weekends and holidays adds to the mystery.
There really are no signs to get here!
Togariishi Onsen, there just aren’t any signs on the roads for this place.
Even with the GPS nav, it doesn’t show up. When you put in the name the nav directs you to a community center and it is no help.
Later I heard from a local that if you put in Mitsui no Mori Tateshina Golf Club into the nav you can get here easily. On the way home I checked and found a really small sign at the foot of a tree that is easy to miss. This sign is on the right of the Mitsui no Mori Resort before the golf club, so look around there.
If you take the direction that the arrow points to on this tiny sign you come to a very old wooden building.
Where is the onsen?
After finally reaching this building you would think the onsen is located inside but you would be wrong, it’s somewhere else and this is only the reception.
Outside of the building you are directed by one of the staff through the brush for about 100m, you come to an entrance in a straw fence with a cloth curtain. Putting aside worry that you may have fallen back in time to ancient times you walk in.
An emerald green bath
Once inside the walls you find an emerald green bath waiting for you.
The onsen water straight from the spring is flowing nicely from a bamboo tube.
Togariishi Onsen’s hot spring water consists of sodium sulfate, and chloride with a PH of 7.3 and the temperature is 53.2℃ (the temp in the bath is 42℃). The water has a slightly salt, and iron taste to it.
It is said to raise your metabolism and good for reviving energy and diets.
An arbor full of charm
The dressing area is a simple affair under an arbor.
If there are people in the bath they can see you undress, but don’t be ashamed and step in this amazing bath. It really is worth it.
The water feels almost like jelly it is kind of bouncy, and the temperature is perfect for long baths.
Originally this Togariishi Onsen was opened as a medical onsen, later they also provided juice fasts, and on the weekdays it is used mostly as corporate retreat facilities. Thanks to the locals and many onsen lovers who wanted to use the facilities, they opened it to the public on weekends and holidays when the fasting and corporate retreat use was low.
[Name] Yatsugatake Jyomon Tennen Onsen Togariishinoyu [Address] 10246-1 Toyohira, Chinoshi City, Nagano Prefecture 391-0213 [Tel] 0266-76-5211 [Business hours] 10am to 5pm (reception is closed at 4pm) [Open] Weekends and holidays. [Price] 1000 JPY (800 JPY for children) [Onsen type] Sodium sulfate, Chloride onsen [PH] 7.3 [Temperature] 53.2℃
Togariishinoyu, the arbor and the outdoor bath are all that are here but it definitely is worth coming here to bathe in the great outdoors in this fantastic hot spring water!