STORY Must-Try Exquisite Desserts Found in Hot Spring Areas by JNTO on 27 November 2019
One of the essentials when visiting Japan is hot spring (“onsen” in Japanese), especially in winter. Hot bath itself is soothing undoubtedly especially after a whole day of fun winter activities, while taking a walk in a hot spring resort and enjoying buns, confections, or soft-serve ice cream is equally comforting and refreshing.
In this article, let us look at some must-try exquisite desserts that are available in hot spring areas while we explore a few of the famous hot springs that are said to have beautifying effects!
Awesome Hot Spring Resorts with Streets You Should Visit and Baths that have Beautifying Effects
Numerous natural hot springs spread across Japan and are highly popular among the locals and tourists; some onsen areas are large with a few big scale resort towns in the same area, while some are hidden and remote with only 2, 3 inns in its neighbourhood. Especially for ladies, hot springs are more than just a relaxing experience, but in fact an attraction. The onsens are said to bring health benefits including giving onsen-goers radiant, glowing and smooth skin due to the “beautifying hot springs” which are rich in minerals.
The onsens contain sodium chlorate components, aiding in perspiration. Ureshino Onsen in Saga, Hinokami Onsen in Shimane, and Kinugawa Onsen in Tochigi are said to be the best beautifying hot springs in Japan. Besides these three which are famed for their beauty skin effects, Kinosaki Onsen in Hyogo and Dogo Onsen in Ehime are also popular.
Ureshino, Kinosaki, and Dogo Onsens are appealing to onsen lovers also for thelarge number of restaurants, cafes, and souvenir shops in their vicinities, making these hotspots some of the best choices for a relaxing stroll while enjoying some tasty local snacks.
Eat-while-Walking Dessert Tours after a Relaxing Hot Bath
Wide range of dessertssuch as pudding, buns, dumplings and soft-serve ice cream made from fresh local ingredients can also be found in onsen areas, and are strongly recommended especially after your onsen bath when your appetite is increased greatly. You can even eat around in yukata freely after a relaxing bath!
The colourful cream soda of “Partie” in Kanazawa Hakucho Hotel Sanraku which has its own onsen facilities in Kanzawa city has made Ishikawa prefecture a hot topic lately.
“Partie” is an extremely popular tea lounge with stained glasses and red carpet, giving its reminiscent taste and feel. It went viral in SNS for its lovely soda drink with topping of ice-cream and delectable cherries.
In Ishikawa, you should also try out the fresh confections of “Yoshihashi”, the Higashiyama Japanese confectionary store, which is strictly exclusive to just a few locations even in Kanazawa. As for Oita prefecture, which is Japan’s hot spring capital with the largest amount of spring water from its sources, do not miss out is the Jigoku-mushi pudding (literally “pudding steamed in hell”).
Please do not be scared. The pudding is actually prepared specially using the steam from the onsen, and the available flavours include custard, banana, strawberry (seasonal exclusive), matcha caramel, and more.
“Okamotoya” is one of Oita’s best hot spring pudding shop both in terms of its originality and history, while not far from this indulgence you can also find many other unique pudding shops with attractive flavours like the black honey.
As such, you can taste the different flavours and discover your personal favourite!
Beautifying Desserts!? What Are “Hot Spring Tofu” and “Desserts with Hot Spring Water” that Everyone Talks about?
©Saga Tourism Federation
The spotlight is also on the food made with hot spring water, and these can be found in beautifying hot springs likeUreshino (Saga).
For instance, Onsen Yudofu is the local specialty in Ureshino hot spring town. Onsen Yudofu (“Hot spring tofu” in Japanese) refers to the hotpot dish with tofu boiled with spring water, which gives the dish its rich taste and the tofu its butter-like melting texture.
It is also recommended that you try out the tofu desserts here, as you can find several good choices nearby the hot spring town.By doing so you are experiencing the many faces of “Hirakawaya parfait” with tofu dumplings and soymilk soft-serve ice cream at “Saga Hirakawaya (Ureshino branch)” is interesting for its tofu dumplings, and can satisfy your cravings for sweets.However, you will likely not feel so sinful as this dessert is made less sweet for sweets lovers who are slightly more health conscious.
Last but not least, also try out the large size parfait with red bean and soymilk pudding at “Wa Café Ureshian”!