Hakuba Yari Onsen sits in the middle of the Hakuba Yargatake mountain range at 2100m above sea level. The only way up here is by foot. It will take a beginner hiker about 5 hours one way. The view here is simply spectacular being surrounded by mountains while bathing outdoors. It’s a place everyone should visit at least once.
The starting point Sarukura
Sarukura is one of Hakuba’s climb trail entrances. You can get up to here by car, and they have a free parking area. There is also the Yamagoya Sarukursou, cabin inn, run by the township. Most people come through Sarukura to climb to the Hakuba Daisekkei area, but to get to the Hakuba Yari Onsen you take a left after climbing a bit from Sarukura. Please make sure to go the right way.
From Sarukura, Hakuba Yari Onsen is a 5 hour walk but make sure to bring some proper mountain hiking gear as the weather can change quite unexpectedly. Also there is a rule to get to the cabin by 3pm. Those making the trip should always leave with some extra time and not strain yourself.
A mountain hike with a fantastic view
The climb is easy with no real dangers and it isn’t too steep so beginners can hike up easily. After about a 2 and half hour walk you come to the middle point between Sarukura and Hakuba Yari Onsen, called Obinata Col. Col is a mountaineering term meaning peak.
From here the view opens up to show the North Alps mountain tops like above. It is a wonderful view. Actually if you look closely in the left towards the top you can see Hakuba Yari Onsen.
Passing the most difficult part of the climb, the Shakushizawa stream bed.
The route up to Hakuba Yari Onsen from Sarukura, the most difficult part is this Shakushizawa area.
The picture is the view looking up at the route. It is about a 35 degree incline or so by the looks of it. There are frequent rock slides apparently and you can hear some rocks falling occasionally. Be careful and go up as quick as possible.
Arrival at the Hakuba Yari Onsen cabin
Passing the Shakushizawa and an hour and half later you arrive at Hakuba Yari Onsen’s cabin. It is just about 5 hours from Sarukura.
The small stream running down like a small waterfall has steam coming off of it and a slight scent of hydrogen sulfide. This is a real onsen. It also means that the water volume is really high.
The cabin is a simple design. Of course that is because Hakuba Yari Onsen Cabin is only open between July and September, and the cabin is taken down the other times. Yes that’s right they take it down and put it back up every year.
This outdoor bath is true onsen heaven!
The Hakuba Yari Onsen really is an onsen with a spectacular view as you can see here. The hot spring water itself is full of sulfur and strongly smells like hydrogen sulfide, also, with so much water flow it doesn’t have time to become opaque and washes away clear. It is probably one of the freshest onsen waters you can bathe in, not to mention the view. I am sure onsen fanatics down to the average joe would love it here.
Because this is a coed bath there is a separate bath just for the ladies. But that bath doesn’t have this view. Probably because the lack of view the outdoor bath has an hour of ladies only time at night so they can rest assured. The outdoor bath here allows you to bathe while star gazing or even while the sun is rising. So if possible I would stay the night and enjoy it all if I were you.
Definitely go when the skies are clear
The best part of Hakuba Yari Onsen is the outdoor bath. So, it would be half the fun if you went and it wasn’t clear skies. But, mountain weather changes so quickly it is hard to predict. Having said that, you should thoroughly check the weather forecasts before heading up.
FYI even when the cabin is closed the onsen is natural so it still fills the tub. So, for those that are sure footed, it might be okay to head up even if the cabin is closed.
In closing I have to be thankful that such an onsen exists and I am able to get to it.
[Name] Hakuba Yari Onsen [Place] in the middle of the Hakuba Yarigatake mountain range [Tel] 0261-72-2002 [Visitor bath] adults 500 JPY, children 300 JPY [Guest price] 1 night with 2 meals 9500 JPY
*About the onsen, [Onsen type] calcium sulfide, magnesium hydrogencarbonate springs [Water use] straight from spring (no water, heat, or antibiotics added.) [pH] 6.5 (neutral) [Temp] 42.7?