A 1300-year-old onsen and World Heritage Site in a quaint seaside town
Yunotsu Onsen, one of Japan's most fascinating and historic hot spring hotspots, is in the humble coastal town of Oda. The town was a shipping point for silver.
The town was once a key hub for shipping silver
Declared a World Heritage Site in 2007
The roads used to transport the silver are now popular hiking trails
How to Get There
The hot spring road is about 700 meters from Yunotsu Station, serviced by the JR San-In Line.
Yunotsu Station is about 40 minutes from Izumo City and an hour from Matsue City on the JR San-In line. From Kyoto, Shin-Osaka, or Hiroshima, take the Tokaido-Sanyo Shinkansen to Shin-Yamaguchi Station, then switch to Yunotsu Station.
The only World Heritage onsen in Japan
This traditional and humble onsen town feels like it's been frozen in time since its heyday, when it was a popular area for relaxation in the Edo period.
Thanks to its authentic untouched beauty, the onsen was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Soak in the town's two main baths
The town has two main public baths, the Yakushiyu Public Bath and Motoyu Public Bath. Both offer gender-separated baths and mineral-rich waters. The historic building next door to Yakushiyu is now a cute cafe well worth a visit if you find yourself in the area.
The Silver Road
In the daytime, take a short walk around a narrow inlet to Okimadari, one of the former ports that served the silver mine. Footpaths go around the surrounding headlands and offer some incredible coastal views.
If you have the time, take a stroll past Yunotsu's many old merchant houses and warehouses, which have remained relatively untouched. The red-tiled roofs are rare in Japan.