Yamanaka Onsen is set in the mountainous area of Kaga Onsen, situated along a beautiful gorge. Experience the area's lauded hot springs, lacquerware, and woodturning.
Yamanaka Onsen is in Ishikawa Prefecture and can be accessed by train to Kaga Onsen Station, followed by CANBUS, the area's tour bus.
The Kaga area CANBUS starts from JR Kaga Onsen Station and makes stops in Yamanaka Onsen on the mountain course, taking around 40 minutes.
The famous haiku poet, Matsuo Basho, spent time in Yamanaka Onsen and applauded the hot springs as some of the best in Japan. He even wrote a haiku about it. At the Kikunoyu bathhouse, which stands in the plaza at the center of town, you can experience these mineral-rich healing waters first-hand as they warm the body and soul. It has two separate buildings, one for women and one for men.
A walk along the forest trail by the beautiful Kakusenkei gorge is one of the highlights of a visit to Yamanaka. Stop at the riverside cafes serving traditional Japanese sweets, and enjoy the forested surroundings. Traditional and modern bridges cross the gorge, all of which you can admire from the path.
There are numerous galleries displaying the crafts of the area, in particular, Yamanaka lacquerware, which has a 400-year history. The region is abundant in chestnut and keyaki trees, which are used to make gorgeous plates and bowls. The main feature of Yamanaka lacquerware is the technique of carving the wood on a lathe and the way it highlights the natural beauty of the wood grain. You can try your hand at woodturning at Yamanaka's Mokume and make your own beautiful bowl to take home with you.
The downtown Yamanaka area has several traditional ryokan, or Japanese inns, and is a great base for exploring the villages of Kaga Onsen. Known for their excellent service and beautiful meals, a stay at a ryokan is a quintessentially Japanese experience.